Green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish, and for good reason. This recipe is a healthier and lighter version of a popular dish. Serve it at Thanksgiving and your guests will thank you!

What is green bean casserole?

There are dozens of versions of green bean dish, but the original dish had very specific ingredients. You will find canned soup, fried onions and often canned green beans. The traditional meal is pure comfort food, but it’s not the most sophisticated or healthy plate on the Thanksgiving table. A true green bean dish should include at least the obvious element, green beans, along with a gravy-like sauce and a crunch.

How to make a healthier green bean casserole

To make this otherwise heavy recipe easier, substitute a few simple ingredients. Instead of using canned fried onion rings, use crispy whole wheat breadcrumbs first. And for the mushroom filling, don’t use cream of mushroom soup. Go for the real thing: finely sliced baby bella mushrooms. Dress the mushrooms and French beans in a creamy Greek yogurt-based sauce thickened with flour.

Use lots of fresh parsley for brightness and of course real green beans, not canned. The result is a fresh-tasting, yet equally hearty and comforting Christmas side dish that you’ll find yourself reaching for again every year.

Cooking techniques and tips

There are several important cooking techniques in this recipe. First blanch the green beans. This means immersing the fresh beans in rapidly boiling, heavily salted water for 1 to 2 minutes. The beans can be removed when they are bright green and crisp. Blanching preserves the beans’ bright green color and keeps them from overcooking.

The second technique is known as gratin, which means to cover the dish with a crispy crust of parmesan and breadcrumbs. This is the key to ensuring that every bite of your green bean dish is crisp with an abundance of soft, creamy texture underneath.

Instructions

– Place the rack in the upper third of the oven and heat. Lightly grease a 2-bowl baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

– In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, chopped parsley and 2 tablespoons olive oil for the crust. Let it out.

– Next, blanch the green beans. Bring a very large pan of salted water to a rapid boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water. Place a large clean kitchen towel on the counter. Add all the beans to the boiling water and cook until crisp, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove the beans from the hot water and plunge them into an ice bath to stop the cooking process; then drain the beans and transfer them to a cloth. Lightly dry the beans.

– Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and golden and the mushrooms are browned and releasing their moisture, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with flour. Cook, stirring, for another 1-2 minutes until all the flour is browned and no white bits remain.

– Add the milk slowly, in several splashes, stirring between splashes to avoid lumps. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook and stir, letting the sauce bubble by going over the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Continue cooking and stirring until sauce is reduced and thickened to a creamy sauce, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Greek yogurt.

– Put half of the green beans in the prepared baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and pour in the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top.

– Place the casserole in the oven and wait until the top is bubbling and starting to brown, 1 to 3 minutes, depending on your grill. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional fresh parsley.

frequently asked questions

Holiday recipes’ easy-peasy….

What side dishes can you prepare in advance for Thanksgiving?

Do it the day before Thanksgiving…..

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