Several years ago, my sister, Jennie, and I almost walked out on Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn't because the turkey was overdone or that we ran out of wine. No, it was a way bigger deal than that. My mom, for the first time that we could remember, did not make green bean casserole. We freaked. But we're probably not the only ones who would miss this Thanksgiving classic. Green Bean Casserole is one of our most popular Thanksgiving side dishes.
Our healthier version skips the canned soup and all the fat and sodium that traditional recipes call for. Our white sauce with sliced fresh mushrooms, sweet onions and low-fat milk makes a creamy, rich casserole with tons of flavor. (Find more Thanksgiving recipes made healthier.) Now that's something to stay at the dinner table for. (Find more recipes for make-ahead side dishes to please everyone at your table.)
How We Made It Healthier
- We skip the canned mushroom soup (which has plenty of sodium) and instead make our own creamy sauce.
- To reduce sodium we call for sherry in this recipe-but don't use cooking sherry, as it has added sodium.
- Buttermilk powder is one of the "secret" ingredients that makes this so "rich" tasting but still healthy. It adds depth of flavor but not a lot of calories or fat. Look for it in the baking section of your supermarket.
Recipe comparison of EatingWell's Green Bean Casserole vs. a traditional version. We:
- Cut calories by about a quarter
- Cut fat in half, from 21 grams to 10 grams
- Cut saturated fat by 80%, from 10 grams to 2 grams
- Added fiber
- Cut sodium
Green Bean Casserole
Active time: 30 minutes | Total: 45 minutes
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion (half diced, half thinly sliced), divided
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup low-fat milk
3 tablespoons dry sherry (see Ingredient Note)
1 pound frozen French-cut green beans (about 4 cups)
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons buttermilk powder (see Ingredient Note)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a 2 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices are almost evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Add milk and sherry and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in green beans and return to a simmer. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in sour cream and buttermilk powder. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
3. Whisk the remaining 1/3 cup flour, paprika, garlic powder and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Add sliced onion; toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with any remaining flour mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Spread the onion topping over the casserole.
4. Bake the casserole until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings, about 3/4 cup each.
Per serving: 212 calories; 10 g fat (2 g sat, 5 g mono); 10 mg cholesterol; 23 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 3 g fiber; 533 mg sodium; 259 mg potassium.
Nutrition bonus: Calcium (16% daily value).
Don't use the high-sodium "cooking sherry" sold in many supermarkets. Instead, purchase dry sherry sold with other fortified wines.
Look for buttermilk powder, such as Saco Buttermilk Blend, in the baking section or with the powdered milk in most supermarkets.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun isn't writing about food or creating recipes for EatingWell Media Group, she enjoys hiking with her dog and husband, growing dark leafy greens and cooking up a big pots of soup.
Related Links from EatingWell:
- Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Pumpkin Pie & more delicious Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts recipes.
- Have dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less with our Quick Healthy Dinner Recipes.
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