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Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots is a delicious lightened-up version of green bean casserole that’s make-ahead and gluten-free, too!

Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots #Thanksgiving | iowagirleats.com

Lest you think my family only indulges in diet-busting dishes like luxurious cheesecake, buttery potatoes and creamy holiday salad on Thanksgiving, today I’m sharing a healthy yet decadent-tasting vegetable 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 lighter version of the classic uses 1% milk (or unsweetened almond milk) plus fresh mushrooms to create a homemade creamy mushroom 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 the green beans for a few minutes, as you’ll want them to retain some snap!


Next, set the beans aside then get started on the crispy shallot topping (my favorite part!) These crispy shallots mimic the fried canned onion rings that typically top most green bean casseroles but there’s NO batter involved here, plus the shallots are pan fried in healthier extra virgin olive oil.


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


Pan-fry the shallot rings in extra virgin olive oil until light golden brown – it’ll only take a minute or two – then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt, and then set aside.


Add sliced or chopped mushrooms to the skillet next, then saute until all the water has been cooked out and the mushrooms are golden brown. Add dried thyme, garlic, salt and pepper, saute for another minute, 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 or unsweetened almond milk whisked with gluten-free or all-purpose flour (dish will not be GF if using AP flour.)


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


Like this!


Finally, combine the sauce, mushrooms, green beans and a few other fresh and tasty ingredients like chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese, then stir well to combine.


Scoop the mixture into a casserole dish, top with the crispy shallots and a dusting of a bit more parmesan cheese, then bake ’til golden brown and bubbly!

Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots


Lighter Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots is a delicious lightened-up version of green bean casserole that's make-ahead and gluten-free, too!


Serves 8

  • 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 mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups 1% milk or unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose or gluten-free flour (dish will not be GF if using AP flour)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees then spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside. Steam green beans until crisp-tender then set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a medium sized skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 of the shallots into the skillet at a time then saute, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Transfer shallots to a paper-towel lined plate to drain then repeat with remaining shallots, sprinkle with salt, and set aside.
  3. Add mushrooms to the remaining oil then saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and all the liquid has evaporated, 10-12 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper then saute for 1 more minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  4. Whisk together milk and flour until well combined then add to skillet. Season generously with salt and pepper then bring mixture to a bubble while whisking constantly. Turn heat down to medium/medium-low then stir using a spatula until mixture is thick and bubbly, 15 minutes. Add parmesan cheese then pour mixture into bowl with mushrooms. Add green beans and parsley then stir to combine.
  5. Spoon green bean mixture into prepared baking dish then top with crispy shallots and remaining parmesan cheese, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.


From Ellie Krieger

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

As if this recipe couldn’t get any better, it’s make-ahead, too! Skip the shallot frying step and assemble the dish up until the baking part, then cover and refrigerate. The next day, fry the shallots then add to the top of the green beans and bake. Easy!


Make these beans – you won’t be sorry!


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