I am so excited about Thanksgiving that I could just screeeeeam.

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com

I mean, what’s not to love about a holiday that’s totally centered around food? And not only food, but comfort food. OMG yes… it’s like my life inside a holiday. Family, giving thanks, food, sweat pants. Otherwise known as… heaven. Cut me a slice of heaven please.

Last year I made an awesome lightened up sweet potato casserole that to this day is still probably one of my favorite dishes on the site. Why do we only make that sort of stuff around the holidays? How annoying. I’m stopping that right now.

And that’s sort of why I made this casserole. It’s definitely geared towards more of a weeknight side dish or even a weekend dish. Well, what I’m really trying to say is that it’s perfect for a meal that doesn’t involve cooking six or seven other dishes to be on the table at one time. Like Thanksgiving. HOWEVER. It is still totally doable on Thanksgiving, especially if you are serving a smaller group or making just a handful of dishes. You can make it for a large group if you prepare it ahead of time and the good news is, large group or not, aside from boiling the green beans this dish is made in ONE SKILLET. Boom.

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com

While it is contained to one skillet, it still takes some prep time and chopping and work as any homemade-from-scratch dish does. Which I will be the first to admit, can be sort of annoying on a day when your kitchen looks like a tornado tore through. Okay whatever, that’s my kitchen everyday, but still. Thanksgiving can be a teeny bit stressful soooo… you know. It also should be noted that the cream of mushroom soup/canned beans/french fried onion version of this is like, comfort food at it’s finest and is a totally acceptable side dish for, well, life. But… but in case you want something a little lighter, a little fresher, a tiny bit healthier and still just as delicious, I got your back.

This casserole is topped with some caramelized onions and whole wheat herbed panko, but I’ve definitely spied some crunchy onions at Trader Joe’s and they would work just as well, maybe even better. Because you know, if it comes from Trader Joe’s it has to be healthy. Or you could always make your own

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com

Anyhoo, let’s talk about the FOOD. What are you making? What are you bringing? Are you traditional or trendy? Most importantly, WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR DESSERT next Thursday?

I can get a little passionate about the topic. And nosy. My opinion? Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie pie and bourbon pumpkin pie milkshakes are the clear winners.

I’m pretty traditional in the fact that I want all of the “normal” Turkey Day foods, but I also want a whole slew of new stuff to try. Just don’t even think about swapping out my favorite dish for something else, k? We can make it in addition to everything else. (funny haha.)

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com

In a few days I will tell you about some non-traditional mashed potatoes I made a few weeks ago, but in the meantime you can make some brown butter mashed potatoes (!!!!) or yes, even some oatmeal cookie crumble topped sweet potatoes if you have the patience.

I highly recommend these buttery cloverleaf rolls and sweet potato and honey dinner rolls, but if you crave something different, cranberry buttermilk biscuits are your friend.

Double bread stuffing with brown butter, bacon and sage should be what you live on for the next two weeks… just saying.

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com

If you want something green, brown butter brussels, shredded bacon + asiago brussels or toasted coconut brussels work. You didn’t really expect a lot from me in this category, did you?

Oomph. I’m tired already.

And since every party needs some cocktails, you should probablymostdefinitelymaybe whip up some pomegranate vanilla winter sangria, apple cider margaritas, apple cider sangria or… pomegranate margaritas. Maybe next year I’ll make a margarita flavored sangria. Sheesh. I guess I like what I like.

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com


Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Yield: serves 4-6 generously

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


2 pounds fresh trimmed green beans, snapped in half
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion, very thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup low-fat half and half
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons freshly gated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon oregano


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large oven-safe skillet oven low heat and add olive oil, onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir well to coat, then cover and cook onions until caramely, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. While onions are caramelizing, boil a large pot of water. Once boiling, add green beans and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and run cold water over top, letting sit in the sink to air dry and until you're ready to use.

In a separate small bowl, combine panko with thyme and oregano. Set aside.

Once onions are caramelized, remove with kitchen tongs and set aside in a bowl. Add butter to skillet, then add chopped mushrooms and toss well to coat. Cook for 6-8 minutes until juicy and and soft, then add in half of the onions and the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high and sprinkle flour over top. Stir well to coat and distribute, cooking for 2-3 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and half and half. Stirring constantly, let mixture come to a bubble, then let cook for 2-3 minutes until just slightly thickened. You don't want it TOO thick since it will also cook in the oven. Season with remaining salt, pepper, nutmeg and then stir in 1 tablespoon of parmigiano reggiano. Add green beans and toss well to coat.

Cover the top with remaining caramelized onions, seasoned panko and the remaining tablespoon of cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until mixture is bubbly and bread crumbs are golden. Serve immediately!

[If you want to double this recipe or prepare it ahead of time, I suggest making the mixture in a large stock pot then transferring it to a large baking dish or pan (13x9 or larger) and baking it as directed. If making ahead, stor in the fridge without the breadcrumbs and cheese on top, remove from the fridge and let come to room temp for 30 minutes or so. Add the breadcrumbs and cheese then bake as directed. You may want to add an additional splash of stock or milk before heating if the mixture seems slightly thick.]

[adapted from alton brown]

Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole I howsweeteats.com

Oh P.S. last year I shared a list of 101 recipes for Thanksgiving. You… should probably see that.

share:    Pin It    

107 Responses to “Lightened Up Fresh Green Bean Casserole.”

  1. #
    Ana — November 15, 2012 @ 7:06 am

    Oh Jessica ! Will the old recipes ever be printable? the pumpkin pie, the bourbon milkshake, the double bread… Need the print button. Until you figure out how to set up a materializeonmytablerightnow button.


  2. #
    tracy {pale yellow} — November 15, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

    It took me awhile to like green beans so I spent most of my life avoiding green bean casserole, this version looks perfect! I can’t wait to try.


  3. #
    sweetmaddy — November 16, 2012 @ 3:48 am

    I love that you felt the need to defend the original recipe, as if it would be offended by the lightened up one :)


  4. #
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — November 16, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

    Green bean casserole is already so good in its canned-soup goodness, I can’t even imagine how much more amazing it tastes fresh and homemade! Gah.


  5. #
    Britney — November 16, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

    Hi Jessica! Can I just make this in a normal casserole dish?


  6. #
    Amanda — November 17, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

    I’m making this for Thanksgiving. I’ve been searching all over town for the Parmigiano-Reggiano and no one seems to carry it. Could I substitute Parmesan without ruining the recipe?


    • Alexis — November 19th, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      Try Whole Foods or a higher end grovery store. Most store with a specialty cheese section should carry it.


  7. #
    Erin — November 21, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    I am going to be making this for tomorrow and I am really excited :) I have roasted garlic with rosemary to add, but other than that it is all you! Cute blog…I have been slacking on mine, but feel free to check it out!


  8. #
    Courtney — November 22, 2012 @ 3:33 pm

    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…


  9. #
    Simone — November 21, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Last night my goal was to do a mock Thanksgiving dinner (with chicken instead) and this was on my agenda to make. My husband’s first reaction was “Uh..I don’t think I like green bean casserole.” And my response was “Don’t worry. This has got to be good and it is fresh – no cream of mushroom, no French-fried onions.”

    First bite in “THIS IS GOOD!!!”


  10. #
    Cook snoop — April 25, 2014 @ 3:37 am

    Great and nice blog. It’s also very interesting. We also have a website about Cook Snoop | Create, Cook, and Share .

    Please visit our website: http://www.cooksnoop.com/


  11. #
    FaveHealthyRecipes — June 18, 2014 @ 12:57 pm

    Yum! This casserole looks like the perfect dish to serve during the holidays – we love it when this classic dish is made with fresh green beans, rather than canned!


  12. #
    Cait — July 13, 2014 @ 7:20 am

    Although this is an old recipe, I thought I might just add that chicken stock isn’t vegetarian ;)



  1. Pingback: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Mascarpone Buttercream Frosting | Champagne Frosting

  2. Pingback: Thanksgiving: Sides But Not An Aside « jessicaisbaking

  3. Pingback: Turkey Table Menu | Runway Chef

  4. Pingback: Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up | Conscious Kitchen

  5. Pingback: Healthy Way To Cook Thanksgiving Recipe: Healthy Green Bean Casserole - Healthy Way To Cook

  6. Pingback: Sweet and Savory Weekly Recap 11/17/12 | Dainty Morsels

  7. Pingback: Thanksgiving Dish Ideas for Foodies |

  8. Pingback: Thanksgiving Recipes and a New West Knife Works Giveaway

  9. Pingback: What I Wish I Was Making For Thanksgiving « oh so decadent

  10. Pingback: My Dream Thanksgiving – Catered by Food Bloggers « Feast With Me

  11. Pingback: Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup - Budget Gourmet Mom | Budget Gourmet Mom

  12. Pingback: Catching Up + Fun Food Survey | Liv Lives Life

  13. Pingback: Thanksgiving Roundup 2012

  14. Pingback: Turkey Day Recipe Rendezvous | Hummusapien

  15. Pingback: What is brining anyway? | ballardtobrooklyn

  16. Pingback: A Scrumptious Thanksgiving | Loryn with a Y

  17. Pingback: What I Ate Thanksgiving Edition

  18. Pingback: The Thanksgiving Feast! | Chelcie's Food Files

  19. Pingback: Thanksgiving things | Amanda's New Life

  20. Pingback: Marvelous {Thanksgiving} Monday | This Life Is Sparkling

  21. Pingback: Monday Things {Thankful} | Running the Windy City

  22. Pingback: Well, hello there….. « hopefulandhungry

  23. Pingback: thanksgiving f03 err | the hungry beluga

  24. Pingback: First Thanksgiving | chroniclesofahoosierfoodie

  25. Pingback: Lighter Green Bean Casserole | Lots of Dishes

  26. Pingback: Recipes to Try | Live and Learn

  27. Pingback: Sage Butter Biscuits. | How Sweet It Is

  28. Pingback: Sage Butter Biscuits. | pinmeplease

  29. Pingback: random thoughts friday | i had a big lunch

  30. Pingback: 12 Tasty Green Bean Casseroles - Glitter and Elbow Grease

  31. Pingback: Fresh green bean casserole | Picky Nicci Cooks

  32. Pingback: My Dream Thanksgiving – Catered by Food Bloggers : Feast with Me

  33. Pingback: Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

  34. Pingback: Loaded Skillet Toasted Green Beans | How Sweet It Is

  35. Pingback: Norris Thanksgiving 2014

  36. Pingback: 8 Food Blogs To Mix Up Your Thanksgiving - Pain Doctor

  37. Pingback: 40+ Healthy and Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes

Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *