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.
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!
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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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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!
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.
Rachel @Balance and Blueberries 11.17.2011
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?
karen crooks 11.17.2011
Must try this!
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!
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!
Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie 11.16.2011
Omg that looks absolutely incredible! Bookmarking this for Thanksgiving! Thanks so much!
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.
Iowa Girl Eats 11.17.2011
A friend gave it to me several years ago from Target!
kathleen @ the daily crumb 11.16.2011
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.
Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) 11.16.2011
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!
I was totally thinking of making a healthier version this year, thanks for doing the searching for me, this looks great!
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
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
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! :)
Mahealani @ Beauty, Brains, and Balance 11.16.2011
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!
Mahealani @ Beauty, Brains, and Balance 11.17.2011
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!
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!
YUM I can almost smell it from here!
emily (a nutritionist eats) 11.16.2011
This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving!!
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!
Leslie Means @ Her View From Home 11.16.2011
We always avoid this dish – I have no idea why! I might have to make this one on Thanksgiving now – looks amazing!
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. :)
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.
Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef 11.16.2011
goodness, this sounds fantastic. i normally avoid green bean casserole because i HATE fried onions with a passion, but i would definitely try this!