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Lightened Up Green Bean Casserole

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This holiday season enjoy a lighter, healthier version of the classic green bean casserole recipe made from scratch with no canned soup.

Green Bean Casserole
Best Green Bean Casserole Recipe

You will love this modern take on the classic green bean casserole! This easy recipe is made from scratch, and is the perfect addition to your holiday table. The perfect side dish to accompany your Thanksgiving Turkey along with all the fixins like Sweet Potato Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing and Mashed Potatoes. You can see all my Thanksgiving recipes here.

Green Bean Casserole on a plate.

Confession: I strongly dislike mushy green beans. I’ve always wondered green been casserole is so popular? Year after year, I’ve been asked to post a healthy green bean casserole recipe, and I’ve opted out because the thought of mushy canned green beans in canned cream of mushroom soup doesn’t do it for me. I’m very particular about the texture of my green beans. I love them roasted and cooked until tender-crisp, sauteed with a little garlic and oil, and even in a salad. But frozen or canned green beans – I can do without them.

I was inspired to try this casserole made completely from scratch. I put the dish in the oven and crossed my fingers. When it was done, I served myself a plate and liked it so much that I had two servings. This absolutely delicious green bean casserole is a keeper and is the perfect addition to your holiday table.

Green Bean Casserole Ingredients

  • fresh green beans, blanched so they remain tender and crisp
  • shallots are used here in the green bean mixture and more on top, you can also use onions in their place
  • seasoned breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs, for the crisp shallot topping that replaces the usual french-fried onion
  • grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • sliced mushrooms such as cremini or button
  • 1 cup milk and flour to make the sauce
  • chicken stock or chicken broth, or vegetable broth for vegetarian
  • olive oil is used in place of butter

How to Make Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

In this new lighter version, I use fresh green beans in my green bean casserole. I blanched them in boiling water for 2 minutes so they wouldn’t turn to mush. If you like them soft, I would boil them for 6-8 minutes.

Is green bean casserole better with canned or fresh?

There is no doubt in my mind that if you want the best green bean casserole, you need to use fresh green beans. The flavor, texture and color will be so much better than canned.

Tips & Variations:

  • Cut the green beans in half, so it’s easier to serve.
  • To make it gluten-free: Sub gluten free panko for breadcrumbs and use gluten free flour mix in place of all purpose flour.
  • For more flavor, try adding a few cloves of garlic or a little bacon or pancetta to the breadcrumb topping.
  • Halve the recipe to feed a family of four.

green beans and mushrooms in a skillt.Green Bean CasseroleGreen Beans on a plate.

More Holiday Side Dishes You’ll Love:


Lightened Up Green Bean Casserole with Shallot Crumb Topping

4.65 from 17 votes
A lightened up, healthier version of the classic green bean casserole made from scratch, no canned soup.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Green Bean Casserole
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 1 hr
Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1 /8th of recipe


  • 2 lbs green beans, cut in half, trimmed and washed

For The Green Bean Topping

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup shallots, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, or gluten free panko
  • 1 tbsp grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tsp fresh

For the green bean mixture:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shallots, minced
  • 16 oz sliced mushrooms, (I used cremini)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour, or gluten free flour
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth for vegetarian
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese


  • Boil a large pot of water, add the green beans to the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes (or 6-8 minutes if you like them softer). Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water or an ice bath to stop them from cooking.
    blanched green beans
  • Meanwhile make the topping, heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots and sauté about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, add breadcrumbs, grated cheese and thyme; sauté until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, careful not to burn.
    toasted breadcrumbs with shallots
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 1 to 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Sprinkle flour over the mushrooms, stir constantly for about a minute, then slowly add chicken stock, then milk.
  • Bring to a low boil, and cook stirring occasionally until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in grated cheese.
  • Add blanched green beans and mix well, season with salt and pepper as needed; pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Top with toasted breadcrumbs and bake about 30 minutes.
    Green Bean Casserole

Last Step:

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If you're trying to avoid cheese with rennet, you can use Organic Valley Shredded Parmesan or BelGioioso Vegetarian Parmesan, as vegetarian options.


Serving: 1 /8th of recipe, Calories: 160 kcal, Carbohydrates: 22 g, Protein: 7 g, Fat: 6 g, Sodium: 280.5 mg, Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 2 g


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124 comments on “Lightened Up Green Bean Casserole”

  1. I will be serving this at tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner. I’m curious- is this a dish that can be made ahead of time and re-heated or am I better off making it on Thanksgiving day? 

  2. I have been making this version for years now. It is fresh and flavorful, and far better for you than the canned versions of this recipe. What is not to love about it. Will never go back to my old ways.

  3. I thought this was exceptional, one of Gina’s best. WAY better than the canned soup and canned fried onions of days gone by but enough like it to feel familiar. and traditional. I used only one pound of geen beans (weighed after cutting) and was planning to halve the rest of the recipe too but ended up making the sauce as witten and it ended upseeming just right with just the one pound of beans, I did have a lot of extra topping but i made it in a 9×9 pan. I used half regular white button mushrooms and half baby bellas. I agree with the suggestion to be careful not to cook the topping too long when browning in the pan bc it browns more when over the green beans.

  4. Avatar photo
    Ashley Phipps

    Finally, a green bean casserole I actually love! I too hate the mushy, soupy green beans. This is such a fresh take on it. I did add a clove of garlic after sautéing the shallots but before adding the mushrooms. I also added some bacon to the topping as well. Delicious!