Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots


Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots is a delicious lightened-up version of green bean casserole.

Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots #Thanksgiving |

Lest you think my family only indulges in diet-busting dishes like luxurious cheesecake, buttery potatoes and creamy holiday salad on Thanksgiving, let me share with you a healthy yet decadent tasting veggie side dish that will also be joining the lineup this year: Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots.


Throw out every memory you have of the gloopy glop from Thanksgivings past, and instead imagine steamed, crisp-tender green beans surrounded by a light and silky homemade mushroom-cheese sauce, accented by bright pops of fresh parsley and crispy, pan-fried shallots.


This genius recipe from Ellie Krieger uses 1% milk and no extra fat to create a parmesan cheese laced “cream of mushroom soup” type sauce that’s very waistline friendly, but tastes anything but. Just ask Ben. He ate nearly the entire batch I made last weekend in one day. I say nearly because…I helped too. HA!

Start by steaming some fresh, trimmed green beans.


You could use a microwave steamer basket, or a stove-top one like this. Just make sure you only steam them for a few minutes, as you’ll want them to still have some snap!


Next, set aside the beans, and get started on the crispy shallot topping (my favorite part!)


Peel the shallots, slice them into very thin rings, and separate the layers.


Then fry them in batches in extra virgin olive oil. It only takes a few minutes to get them golden brown and crispy.


Remove the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate and reserve the remaining oil in the skillet.


Because you’ll be adding mushrooms to it. As you know, I despise mushrooms, but I heart the smell of them cooking, and don’t mind when they’re left in big slices like this so I can pick ’em out. :)


After the mushrooms are golden brown and all the liquid has evaporated out, add dried thyme, fresh garlic, salt and pepper for a quick saute, then pour everything into a large bowl and set aside.


Next, using the same skillet (this is a very dishwasher friendly recipe – only 2 pans!) pour in 1% milk whisked with gluten-free or all-purpose flour.


Season with salt & pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbly.


Like this!


Finally, combine the sauce, mushrooms, green beans and some other supporting ingredients like fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese.


Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, top with the crispy shallots and a dusting of a bit more parmesan cheese, and bake ’til golden and bubbly.

I MEAN!!!!

Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots

Serves 8


Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots is a delicious lightened-up version of green bean casserole.


  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium shallots, sliced into rings (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups 1% milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose or gluten-free flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, steam green beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup shallots into the skillet at a time and saute, stirring every so often, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer shallots to a paper-towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining shallots, cooking in batches. Set aside.
  3. Add mushrooms to the remaining oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and all the liquid has evaporated, about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, salt & pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together the milk and flour until flour is dissolved. Turn the heat down to medium and slowly pour the milk mixture into the skillet. Season with salt & pepper to taste and, whisking constantly, bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium-low and whisk constantly until mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  5. Pour the sauce into the bowl with the mushrooms along with 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, the parsley, nutmeg and salt & pepper.
  6. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and spoon the green bean mixture inside. Top with the crispy shallots and remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.


From Ellie Krieger

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

This could easily become my new favorite side dish at Thanksgiving. It tastes so naughty, yet is so nice. So insanely, illogically nice!!


The sauce is creamy but not heavy and the shallots taste caramelized and almost salty. They totally kick canned onion rings’ ass. Sorry, it had to be said.


Make these beans – you won’t be sorry!

Tune in tomorrow for the final recipe in my Week of Thanksgiving Favorites series. It’s a double doozie!!


How do you approach Thanksgiving dinner? As a one-day, no holds barred feast, or with restraint and a plan?

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  1. goodness, this sounds fantastic. i normally avoid green bean casserole because i HATE fried onions with a passion, but i would definitely try this!

  2. Ashley 11.16.2011

    I am making this for sure. Green bean casserole is my favorite Thanksgiving food (piled high on top of the mashed potatoes!), so if this is even better than the standard, I am sold.

  3. Lauren 11.16.2011

    This looks and sounds fabulous! My sister requested someone make a green bean casserole this year and I don’t think anyone has signed up yet. Perhaps I should get on that. :)

  4. We always avoid this dish – I have no idea why! I might have to make this one on Thanksgiving now – looks amazing!

  5. Katelyn 11.16.2011

    Have you ever tried adding roasted chicken or something to it before putting it into the oven to make it an entire meal? Maybe it’s just the college budgeter in me?!

    P.S. LOVE your blog!

  6. This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving!!

  7. C. 11.16.2011

    YUM I can almost smell it from here!

  8. I have everything on hand for this dish! Woohoo!
    Do you think I could sub soymilk for the 1%?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.17.2011

      Hmmm, I’m not sure, I’ve never cooked with soy milk!

      • I’m going to try it and I’ll let you know. I’m just lactose intolerant so that much milk is a no go for me. Cooking with soymilk (or almond) is always a hit or miss for me. We’ll see tonight!

        • JennP 11.17.2011

          Oooh, I don’t think I would use soy milk in this case. Since the recipe calls for 3 cups (which is a lot) and makes up the whole base of the dish, the difference in flavor will be much greater than if you just needed a splash. I would use almond milk before soy, but the best choice in this case would probably be Lactaid!

          From one substituter to another (my hubby is Lactose Intolerant and has other allergy issues), try halving – or even quartering – a recipe like this so that you don’t waste too much food if it ends up being a bust!

  9. Stephanie 11.16.2011

    This looks so good, I think I will have to try this! I have been looking for a good green bean casserole the past couple days. We’re approaching Thanksgiving with a plan! We pretty much got our menu laid out. Also, did you post this today (11/16)? Because it says November 15. Just thought I’d tell you! :)

  10. girliefriend 11.16.2011

    Oh my! I’m getting the stuff to make this tomorrow. I’ll have to sub regular sweet onions as shallots don’t agree with me, but it looks yummy! I’m assuming you used dry grated parm, not fresh? Thanks Kristin. <3

    • girliefriend 11.16.2011

      And as for Thanksgiving, I’ve learned over the years, it’s just another meal. I’ll do the turkey and a veggie, maybe a salad, but there’s no reason to throw away everything I’ve worked so hard for, just for one meal. So many other things to be thankful for than the food.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.17.2011


  11. Lauren 11.16.2011

    I was totally thinking of making a healthier version this year, thanks for doing the searching for me, this looks great!

  12. This looks great and typically I am not a huge green bean casserole fan. I should give this a try.

    On Thanksgiving day I usually pick a few of my absolute favorite things that I only get a few times a year (my sisters corn casserole or chocolate chip pie) and then pass on others that I can have anytime (canned crescent rolls). I don’t go hog wild on the big day but I also don’t restrict out of fear (which I used to do… so so so sad!). Love this Thanksgiving post series!

  13. this looks amazing!! i am NOT a green bean casserole fan, but i think i could get on board with this version. i especially love the crispy shallots.

  14. Nancy 11.16.2011

    Sounds really good. And where did you get that red and white striped spatula that you used to stir up the sauce. Like it too.

  15. Omg that looks absolutely incredible! Bookmarking this for Thanksgiving! Thanks so much!

  16. Dawn Marie 11.16.2011

    Really dislike the gloopy gloppy green bean thing that everyone serves and raves about, but THIS… looks incredible. You have done it again!

  17. Lisa 11.16.2011

    This dish looks awesome! I don’t always like using canned cream soups, like the traditional so it is nice to have an alternative to the classic green bean casserole.
    Love the candy cane spatula! Where did you find that?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.17.2011

      A friend actually got that for me a number of years ago. I think it was from Target!

  18. karen crooks 11.17.2011

    Must try this!

  19. This might have gotten added to the Thanksgiving menu. It looks so good! I attack thanksgiving as a no holds barred kind of day. Eat whatever I want, with an effort to not go so far overboard that I get sick. It’s just one day a year, right?

  20. Heather 11.17.2011

    Can this dish be made the night before and then baked on Thanksgiving? I’m in charge of the veggie dish for Thanksgiving that this dish just moved to the top of my list. I would like to make it ahead of time so I can try and avoid overcrowding the kitchen on the big day.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.17.2011

      I think it’d be fine to make ahead – I would just cool the beans and sauce completely before mixing together and placing in the baking dish. I’d also fry the shallots the day of!

      • Machelle 11.17.2011

        also Heather, you can use the crock from your crock pot as the casserole dish and bake it in the oven. when done baking just drop the crock back into the heating element and away ya go! this works great for traveling w/hot food and makes it easy to plug in & keep hot when you arrive at the party.

  21. I want to try this for Thanksgiving. I have been looking for ways in trying to make healthier dishes included this casserole. But I didn’t want to experiment too much since I haven’t green bean casserole before.

    I love that shallots is used instead of store bought french onion which I find a tad bit greasy.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  22. Tracy 11.17.2011

    Is the double doozie for tomorrow a corn casserole? I hope so!

  23. I was going to make green beans with caramalized onions but this looks so good. Hhhmmmm gotta think on that one!

  24. Machelle 11.17.2011

    i hate the normal green bean casserole which is weird cuz i like everything that goes into it except for those nasty canned OR’s which are easy enough to leave off. but THIS one that you have made sounds wonderful! i need one of those steamer basket things. wonder if i could just boil the beans for a bit? or use canned cuz oddly enough i LOVE canned whole beans! and yes….turkey day dinner is pretty much a no holds barred eating frenzy for me! it’s all about food and family cuz i refuse to celebrate the demise of the great American Indians!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.17.2011

      I love canned great beans too! I’m sure you could just boil the beans for the same amount of time. :)

  25. Marlina 11.17.2011

    I’ve never tried green bean casserole (always too scared!), but this one looks ahhhmazing! I will definitely be trying this bad boy out :) thanks! p.s. I LOVEEE Miss Ellie

  26. This looks great. I’ve always been scared of green bean casserole, but your recipe sounds fantastic.

  27. I love green bean casserole and this looks fantastic!

    Thanksgiving = go big or go home! It’s only one day, it won’t break the bank. Life is for living, and Thanksgiving feasts are for feasting!

  28. OMG I had no idea this dish could be made healthy! I love love your pictures girl and you are a great writer,

    “Throw out every memory you have of the gloopy glop from Thanksgivings past, and instead imagine steamed, crisp-tender green beans surrounded by a light and silky homemade mushroom-cheese sauce, accented by bright pops of fresh parsley and crispy, pan-fried shallots.”

    Good stuff. I’d buy your book. ;-)

  29. Heidi 11.17.2011

    OK, I might have to try this. And that is saying something because green bean casserole is my FAVORITE part of the Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter meals. I could eat the entire casserole all by myself… I heart it that much!
    But I gotta say, this recipe looks delightful… I just printed and told my husband that I’m going to give it a try. He about fell over. :)

  30. Cookin' Cowgirl 11.18.2011

    So beautiful!! What gorgeous photos! :) I needed to see this today!

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  33. Cindy 11.20.2011

    I was assigned green bean casserole for Friendsgiving and refuse to make anything that involves food in a can. I’m tripling this so it serves 30 people! Thanks for another great healthy recipe (that doesn’t involve a can)

  34. […] and cannot wait! Other than T-Day looming in the next 48 hours (I committed to trying to pull off Kristin’s Green Bean Casserole & a roasted veggie dish tomorrow night; I’ll let you know how they turn out!), I need to […]

  35. Amy 11.23.2011

    This looks fantastic except I really hate mushrooms. Do you think it would still be ok if I skipped the whole mushroom part?

  36. Courtney 11.24.2011

    Yum! I made this today for thanksgiving to take over to my in-laws. I snuck a bite and it is divine! A wonderful sophisticated version of the green bean casserole I have loved for years. Thanks (:

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  38. Adele 11.28.2011

    I found your blog and this recipe from How Sweet It Is. I made this dish as my part for Thanksgiving and it was amazingly delicious! Everyone loved it! Thanks, and I will be following your blog now :)

  39. […] YUM! NOW this looks amazing! My hubby doesn’t like green bean casserole, he says its mushy, plus he’s not a fan of green beans! but I am determined to change that I think I could with this recipe: Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots […]

  40. Courtney 11.22.2012

    This is SO on tomorrow’s menu, and I am beyond excited. One thing I had a question about: I wasn’t able to find lowfat half-and-half at any stores around me, so would you suggest fat-free or regular full fat in replacement? And whole wheat panko wasn’t anywhere to be found either, so I might combine italian breadcrumbs and panko together to make my own topping…

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  43. Sharon Weaver 11.15.2014

    I have been making these since you first posted these in 2011, my family adores them and i get so many compliments. I always give you the credit you deserve for posting this.

  44. I used this recipe this year, instead of the pioneer woman recipe I have used in the past. I LOVE the addition of mushrooms and herbs. Great recipe. I used rice milk because some lactose intolerant guests. Worked great!

  45. […] Iowa Girl Eats shares her hungry hubby casserole. […]

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