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Need Recipe: "Better" Green Bean Casserole

  • d

Anyone have a recipe for this Thanksgiving classic that isn't as full of fat and salt as the mushroom soup/French's fried onion ring version that is so common?

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  1. I've successfully made it from scratch using a bechamel and cream, plus fresh mushrooms, but it wasn't as good as the classic.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LaureltQ

      I do that, I blanch fresh beans or if I'm feeling lazy I use french cut frozen, saute the mushrooms before creating the sauce (even just a plain old butter, flour and milk white sauce will work fine - we're not fancy) let the beans and mushrooms puddle and simmer for a while, as you (well I) want it a little mushy. toss it all in a baking dish and let it go at around 350F for oh 1/2 an hour or so. topped of course with those store-bought fried onion sprinkles. can't skimp or home-batch there. (I suppose you CAN but I won't).

      not health food, but you do get to control the salt and fat (but it really does need some).

    2. I think one could improvise something pretty good with bechamel and good mushrooms, but frankly, I think green beans, especially the French small ones, taste best boiled in heavily salted water and eaten plain. I don't usually add a thing. I mean, you're taking this delicious, fresh tasting green thing and glopping all kinds of crap on it, when it would have accompanied the heavy meal better on it's own.

        1. re: Njchicaa

          How spicy does the 1.5 tsp of cayenne make it? We're having an 80-year-old guest over for T-Day; I have no idea what his tastes are, but I'm assuming he wouldn't want spicy.

          Also, while this sounds delicious, I've just come to realize that I'm lactose intolerant. I've found a good sour cream replacement (Tofutti, I think), but can anyone suggest what I'd do for the cream itself? Think I could use Lactaid whole milk?

          And while I've got you--even though this has nothing to do with the beans--does anyone know of a sub for evaporated milk?

          1. re: Thanks4Food

            I am lactose intolerant too, and yes I use lactase whole milk, it works fine, as the roux thickens nicely with the flour in it, for my recipe anyway...see my original post. And no, I have not found a sub for evaporated milk either....

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              Thanks--I checked out that recipe (Sara Moulton's) but rejected it because of the whole milk, but now I'll put it back on the list of possibilities.

            2. re: Thanks4Food

              The sub i use for evaporated milk is canned coconut milk-the lite kind is fine as long as you shake it really well, but it does add a coconut flavor.

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                Thanks! I'll try that. I made half a pumpkin cake recipe a few weeks ago that had evap. milk in it and I was sick all day. Still have the 2nd half of the ingredients and been wondering how I could use them. The coconut milk ought to work--hooray.

          2. Cooks Illustrated has a good recipe. I tried it and it was pretty good. You can make it the day before. I would cut/reduce the salt from the bread topping, since the fried onions contain plenty of that.

            Someone reproduced it here: http://www.food.com/recipe/green-bean...

            In their testing, CI found that there is no fast alternative to using French's friend onions, so they mixed it with their bread crumbs.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mazwe

              Ooops, I should have read down and seen that you posted this already!!

              Regarding the fried onions, TJs has their own brand, which is pretty good and not as nasty as the French's.

              1. re: mazwe

                I have made this one several times and it is really amazing! Love that it isn't as mooshy as the original either (canned green beans are a dealbreaker for me!)

                1. Try this:


                  Not sure if it fulfills your low-fat requirement, but it doesn't have as much artificial garbage and does have less sodium.

                  1. Hard to get away from the salt and fat but easy to get away from the ucky canned, soggy and hydrogenated oil recipe. The amount of each ingredient depends on how many the recipe is supposed to serve.

                    Using a mandolin, thinly slice your choice of onions/shallots, dredge in flour and kosher salt. Flash fry (umm, peanut oil is best at high heat) until golden and set aside on rack in warm oven so they don't get soggy.

                    Clean and cut up green beans into bite size pieces. Steam using lightly salted water until tender/crisp and then ice bath to retain texture and color. Drain well. Retain steaming liquid.

                    Saute variety of mushrooms in butter and grape seed oil. Set aside, including any liquor in pan.

                    In the same sauté pan, heat 1 part butter and 1 part flour, whisking continuously. Heat 1 part half and half to hot, not boiling. I use the microwave at 1 minute per cup. Season hot ½ & ½ with ½ teaspoon of mushroom bouillon paste (think Better than Bouillon or similar) per 1 cup part and whisk into roué until smooth. Combine all, including cooking liquid, using only some of the onions, into casserole and season with pepper to taste.

                    Top with more of the onion crispies and bake until bubbly and browned on top, about 30 minutes at 350F.

                    1. I use Sara Moulton's green bean casserole moderne recipe, and have been for quite a few years, it's delicious and better than the traditional on so many levels. A little bit of work, but I always steam the haricots verts the day before. I've also made the entire casserole a day ahead and reheated it and it was still delicious.

                      1. you can make your own cream of mushroom soup, and decrease the fat as much as you like...

                        28 g butter
                        1-2 tbsp canola oil
                        30 g flour
                        1/4 tsp salt
                        2 medium - large mushrooms, chopped
                        1 1/8 cups milk (low, reduced or non-fat... i have made it with coconut as well as almond milk)

                        melt and combine fats. add a flour and cook to form a roux. add in mushrooms and salt, and a cook for a minute or two. add milk a little at a time and cook til desired thickness.
                        cut back fats if you like as well.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Emme

                          You specify "2 medium-large mushrooms". Can I assume you mean "2 pounds"?

                          1. re: d.v

                            no i mean like 2 medium to large white button mushrooms. remember cream of mushroom only has little bits of mushrooms throughout. feel free to add more to your liking, but if you're trying to replicate the canned version at home, you only need a couple chopped or diced up.

                        2. I've never really cared for the traditional green bean casserole, personally - way too much MSG in the cream of mushroom soup, I feel like I'm eating a TV dinner.

                          Green Bean Almondine would be a nice alternative imo. There are several different recipes for it, but it's relatively simple:


                          1. Green Beans, onions, red peppers, cooked in chicken broth with a little thyme and maybe garlic, toped with toasted sliced Almonds

                            1. This is the recipe that we're trying this year. I've missed this casserole, but not the soup/ff onions/all that stuff. [I might chop the mushrooms in the food processor, though..]