Lightened up Healthy Green Bean Casserole made with fresh green beans, mushrooms, and a crispy parmesan topping! This crowd pleasing Thanksgiving classic is creamy and flavorful yet contains no canned soup.
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I’ve had this healthy green bean casserole recipe on the blog for years but I have updated it now to be simply the best! It is more easy to make and has to die-for parmesan garlic breadcrumb topping.
Made you look, right?!
This flavorful casserole prioritizes nutrients and is an alternative to the classic version. Not less delicious in any way just like my to-die-for healthier sweet potato casserole.
I’ve ditched the canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions for a casserole that is made with wholesome, clean ingredients!
The results are a light, creamy, fresh and healthier green bean casserole that is the best!
What Makes This Green Bean Casserole Better?
Is green bean casserole healthy? Not traditional green bean casserole with crispy fried onions is not due to the overly processed can of mushroom soup and high sodium canned green beans.
Here is why this version is better:
- Wholesome: Crisp green beans, mushrooms, onions, and milk make this homemade green bean casserole without mushroom soup from a can filled with fresh ingredients that offer so much flavor!
- Lighter: This casserole has all the classic taste, but is low calorie plus better for you with less butter and no heavy cream. Heart healthy, yes indeed!
- Versatile: It’s adaptable to any dietary needs, including gluten free and dairy free options.
Here is what you need to make a healthy green bean casserole from scratch! It’s a few more ingredients than the original version, but I know you will agree that it’s perfect for the holiday season.
- Fresh green beans: Two pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces.
- Brown mushrooms: Baby bella mushrooms or cremini mushrooms will add the best flavor. White mushrooms will work but will have less flavor.
- Onion: I prefer to use a yellow onion or white onion.
- Butter: Unsalted butter gives the casserole a nice rich taste.
- Milk: Using 3.25% whole milk makes the creamiest sauce. However, 2% would also work.
- Seasonings: Dried thyme, salt and black pepper.
- Flour: Needed to thicken the sauce, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or gluten free flour all work.
- Soy sauce: Just a small amount adds an umami and savory flavor to this classic green bean baked casserole. Kind of a secret ingredient.
- For the topping: Panko breadcrumbs, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. You could use cheddar cheese if that is what you have on hand.
How to Make Healthy Green Bean Casserole
Preparing this fresh green bean casserole is quite easy! Well, easier than you think! While there are a few more steps than just opening cans, the fresh taste and creamy homemade mushroom sauce is well worth it.
To start with, you will need a 9×13 casserole dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Make the topping: In a medium bowl, add panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, fresh garlic and olive oil. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Blanch green beans: For blanching green beans, bring large pot of water to a boil, add salt, green beans and cook just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl of ice bath to stop cooking. Then drain.
- Make the creamy mushroom sauce: Preheat large pan over medium heat and add butter to melt. Saute mushrooms in butter, then add onions. Sprinkle with thyme, salt, pepper and flour. Add milk in small increments, then soy sauce. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Assemble and bake: Assemble casserole, add half of the green bean mixture to prepared baking dish, top with half of the onion mushroom gravy, finishing by spreading remaining green beans and sauce on top. Sprinkle with topping and bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Also don’t worry about spraying it with cooking spray, it will get browned.
Recipe Notes and Tips
- Adjust the green bean texture: If you prefer a crisper texture, then simply boil the beans for less time. Likewise, if you prefer mushy green beans, increase the time.
- Spice: Add a little heat with a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to the creamy sauce.
- Dairy free: You can use any non dairy milk like unsweetened almond milk.
- Vegan green bean mushroom casserole: Along with the above dairy free milk, use nutritional yeast (and a little lemon) or another vegan parmesan replacement in the topping. Use dairy free butter.
Can I Make Fresh Green Bean Casserole Ahead of Time?
Yes! This is a great idea if you are making green beans casserole for Thanksgiving!
- Follow the recipe and assemble the casserole without the topping.
- Allow it to cool, cover with plastic and store in the fridge until next day.
- Add topping and bake as per recipe.
How to Store and Reheat
Store: Allow your healthy green bean casserole to cool and then store, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheat: A frequent question I get asked is “how do you reheat green bean casserole”? I think this is due to the panko topping, which will be not as crisp on 2nd day.
You can use a microwave or place in the oven at 350 degrees F until heated through, about 15-20 minutes. For either method your topping will still not be as crisp, but the casserole will be delicious.
Technically yes, you could freeze leftovers, but the topping and texture will change after thawing.
Yes. For a gluten free green bean casserole use gluten free panko breadcrumbs or you could try a coarser almond meal.
For thickening your sauce, use gluten free flour, or half the amount and replace it with cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Also ensure that you are using a gluten free soy sauce like tamari.
Yes. Substitute the milk with your favorite non dairy milk, such as almond milk, cashew milk, oat milk etc., from a carton not a can. Also, use a non dairy butter. As for PArmesan replacement, use vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Yes. Allow them to thaw and drain excess liquid, then continue with the recipe as written. Taste and texture may change slightly.
More Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
- Oven baked turkey legs
- Honey garlic sauteed butternut squash
- Healthy pumpkin pie recipe
- Almond flour cornbread
- Instant Pot sweet potato casserole
I hope you enjoy this healthy green bean casserole! You can also browse through this list of my favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes!
Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- 2 lbs green beans trimmed & cut into 2″ pieces
- 2 tablespoon butter for frying
- 8 oz brown mushrooms sliced
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt more for cooking beans
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoon flour whole wheat, all-purpose or gluten-free
- 2 1/4 cups 3.5% milk
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- In a medium bowl, add breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, spray large 9×13 large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- To blanch green beans, bring large pot of water to a boil, add salt, green beans and cook just until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath to stop cooking and set aside.
- Preheat large skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter to melt. Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl.
- Return skillet to the stove, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter and add onions. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add sauteed mushrooms and sprinkle with thyme, salt, pepper and flour. Stir to combine.
- Reduce heat to low and add milk in small increments, stirring the filling as it is cooking and thickening. Also add soy sauce. Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce resembles gravy and has thickened. Drain the green beans.
- To assemble casserole, add half of the green beans, top with half of the sauce, finishing by spreading remaining green beans and sauce on top. Sprinkle with previously prepared topping.
- Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 10 minutes and serve hot.
- Make ahead: Follow the recipe and assemble the casserole without the topping. Allow it to cool, cover with plastic and refrigerate until next day. Add topping and bake as per recipe.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers tightly wrapped for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven until warmed through or in microwave.
- Dairy free milk: You can substitute regular milk with almond milk etc.
- Vegan green bean casserole: Along with the above dairy free milk, use nutritional yeast (and a little lemon) or another vegan parmesan replacement in the topping. Use vegan butter.