This recipe is brought to you by Alexia Foods
I see you over there, saying to yourself, “But Heidi, the classic green bean casserole is my favorite. Why go changing?”
I get it. The classics are hard to leave behind, especially when they’re tied to food memories of time spent with family. But times change, tastes evolve, and the last time I was passed an 11 X 13 casserole dish of green bean casserole, it was a smattering of stunted, semi-green beans slathered in a greasy goop of a greyish gravy instead of a flavorful sauce.
Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.
So unless you’re still using a rotary telephone or parading to the sock hop in your poodle skirt, I’m betting you’ll be more than happy to consider this Thanksgiving side dish upgrade, too.
The original green bean casserole was created during the era of home cooks transitioning from making real-food, from-scratch meals to relishing in the time-saving methods that cooking from a box or can delivered. Now…I am the first one to raise my hand when asked to try a method that saves time in the kitchen. But I won’t sacrifice flavor or taste for the interest of time.
That’s why when I can call out my inner Sandra Lee and create a semi-homemade dish that combines real, fresh ingredients with real, time-saving ingredients, everyone (especially me) is happy at the table.
How to Make a Better Green Bean Casserole
Better Green Beans The original green bean casserole calls for canned or frozen green beans, and while flash-frozen green beans are a good option because they retain their nutrients, I use fresh green beans because I simply prefer the taste. To take the raw edge off, I shock the fresh green beans in boiling water for a minute or two, or until they turn bright green, and drain. You could also steam them for a minute or so in the microwave with a tablespoon or two of water. Or, use the frozen variety if you prefer, just be sure to thaw and drain the excess water so your casserole doesn’t get runny.
Better Creamed Sauce Instead of using high-sodium canned soup, I make my super easy standard white sauce where I can control how much salt goes into it. It’s flavored with fresh, sautéed mushrooms and onions with a bit of fresh thyme. The white sauce ingredient ratios are easy to remember –> 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons flour and 2 cups milk or vegetable or chicken stock = 2:2:2. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add more chicken stock (this one’s my FAVORITE!), or for even more flavor, add white wine.
Better Crunchy Topping One of the signature flavors of le casserole de green bean is the crispy crunchy topper, and this is where I add another spin to the original recipe and use chef-inspired All Natural Alexia Crispy Onion Rings. I’m a big fan of onion rings, but I want them thick and crunchy, and definitely not greasy—and these rings totally deliver.
The all natural slices of Alexia’s sweet Spanish onions get their crunch from a coating of panko breading seasoned with sea salt that bakes up crisp and light. And even better, as I stood in the freezer aisle at my local Smith’s Marketplace and reviewed the ingredient list on the onion ring package, I recognized every simple ingredient and discovered they also have zero grams trans fat.
Simple all natural ingredients. Easy to find at the store (like my Smith’s aka Kroger). Easy to keep on hand at home.
For this recipe I baked the frozen onion rings for 10 minutes, then transferred them to the top of the green beans to continue baking with the whole green bean mushroom creamy goodness mix in the oven.
More Classic Thanksgiving Recipes With a Twist
- Herb Butter Rotisserie Turkey
- Buttermilk Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- Miso Roasted Butternut Squash
- Farro, Butternut Squash, Sausage and Dried Cherry Stuffing
- Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin Tiramisu
- 1 pound green beans, fresh or frozen
- 1 11-ounce bag Alexia Crispy Onion Rings with Panko Breading and Sea Salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 10 ounces brown cremini mushrooms, sliced, about 4 cups
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk or half and half
- ½ cup white wine or chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Trim the green beans and cut in half, then place in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, and set aside. If using frozen, thaw in the microwave or on the counter and drain any excess water.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the onion rings on the tray and bake for 10 minutes or until the onion rings are crisp. Set aside.
- While the onion rings are baking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onions. Cook the onions for 3-5 minutes or until they begin to soften and become translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, black pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour, stir to combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring so the flour doesn't burn but does cook out the flour-y taste. Add the milk or half and half, wine or chicken broth, and the nutmeg and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring, or until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the green beans. Transfer half of the bean mixture to a 2-quart casserole dish, or 11 x 7- or 8-inch square baking dish and top with half of the onion rings, then the rest of the beans and top with the remaining onion rings.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, the sauce will thicken as it cools.
This post is in partnership with Alexia Foods. Follow along on Alexia’s Facebook and Instagram, or check out their website to see their chef-inspired flavors, real ingredients, healthy alternatives and recipes. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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