Green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish, and for good reason. This recipe is a healthier and lighter version of the beloved baked dish. Serve it at your thanksgiving gathering, and your guests will be thankful to you!
There are dozens of versions of green bean casserole, but the original dish included some very specific ingredients. You’d find canned soup, fried onion rights, and often canned green beans. The traditional dish is pure comfort food, but not the most refined or healthiest-tasting plate at the Thanksgiving table. At the very least, a true green bean casserole must include the obvious, green beans, along with a gravy-like sauce and crisp topping.
The key to lightening up this otherwise heavy recipe is a few simple ingredient swaps. Instead of fried onion rings from a can, you’ll use crisp whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs, for starters. And to make the creamy mushroom filling, skip the cream of mushroom soup. Instead, opt for the real stuff: tender sliced baby bella mushrooms. Envelop the mushrooms and green beans in a creamy sauce made with Greek yogurt thickened by a roux of flour.
Use plenty of fresh parsley for brightness and of course use real green beans, not canned. The result is a fresh-tasting, but just as hearty and comforting, holiday side dish that you’ll return to every year.
There are a few key cooking techniques in this recipe. First, you’ll blanch the green beans. All this means is you’ll submerge the fresh beans in rapidly boiling, heavily salted water for 1-2 minutes. The beans can be removed when they’re bright green in color and crisp-tender. Blanching helps the beans keep their vibrant green color and keeps them from getting overcooked.
The second technique is known as “au gratin” all this means is to coat the dish in a crisp crust of parmesan and breadcrumbs. This is the key to making sure every bite of your green bean casserole has a bit of crunch and plenty of soft and creamy texture underneath.
– Position a rack in the upper third of your oven and preheat to broil. Lightly coat a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick spray.
– In a small bowl, make the crust by stirring together the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
– Next, blanch the green beans. Bring a very large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Prepare an ice-water bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water. Set out a large, clean kitchen towel on the counter. Place all of the beans in the water when it’s boiling and cook just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the beans from the hot water and submerge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain the beans and transfer to the dish towel. Lightly pat the beans dry.
– Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden and the mushrooms brown and have given up their liquid, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes more, until all of the flour turns golden and no white bits remain.
– Slowly add the milk a few splashes at a time, stirring between each addition to prevent lumps from forming. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook and stir, allowing the sauce to bubble, running a wooden spoon or spatula along the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking and stirring until the sauce reduces and thickens to resemble a creamy gravy, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Greek yogurt.
– Transfer half the green beans to the prepared baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top.
– Broil the baking dish in the oven, watching closely, until the casserole is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.