Green bean casseroles are a Thanksgiving staple, and in my time I’ve had more than my fair share of bland, soggy, pasty, high-sodium casseroles that were anything but appetizing. This green bean casserole is anything but, and it is the definition of clean eating heaven.
Now, you might be wondering how I could possibly have the audacity to claim that this is the best green bean casserole recipe and the answer to that is that each element is scratch made and crafted with attention to flavor using fresh and wholesome ingredients. What could be better than that?
There are three elements that go into this dish. They are the:
- Green beans: The star of the dish, we’ll be using fresh green beans that will be blanched, skillet blistered and seasoned to perfection for a smokey bean that isn’t bland, soggy, or mushy.
- Sauce: Fresh mushrooms and onions are caramelized and added to a thick and rich roux-sauce which will then be poured over our skillet charred beans.
- Topping: Made using my Crispy Fried Onions, this crunchy oniony topping adds wonderful crunch, texture and flavor to the casserole.
With this in mind let me show you how easy it is to make each of these elements and how it all comes together to give you the BEST (< there I said it again!) Green Bean Casserole.
Starting with our skillet green beans. We’ll need whole, fresh, green beans, butter, and salt and pepper (to season our beans to taste).
To start, we’ll wash, trim and then boil our beans in boiling water for a few minutes, after which we’ll immediately remove them and blanch them in a bowl of ice water. After the beans have cooled and stopped cooking, we’ll remove them from the ice bath and place them onto a clean kitchen towel and dry them off. We really do need them to be as dry as possible so that they don’t steam during the next step.
To a smoking hot skillet we’ll add our melted butter immediately followed by our dried green beans. Then we’ll let them sit for about thirty seconds before we turn them. Continue to char and blister your beans (note your kitchen will be very smoky so be sure to ventilate it) turning every so often.
Once done, we’ll season them with a pinch of salt and pepper and set them into the casserole dish we’ll be using.
Next we’ll work on the sauce and we’re going to make it in the same pan we just blistered our green beans in.
Now, most green bean casseroles call for cream of mushroom soup and in a way that’s exactly what this is, we’re just making it from scratch and we’ll start by cooking our mushroom base. For this we’ll need, you guessed it, mushrooms! I’m using fresh sliced baby bellas but you can use white or even portobellos if you like, along with some sliced onions, extra light olive oil, salt and pepper.
Add your oil to a pan on med-high heat and then add in your mushrooms and onions. Spread them out evenly and then leave them alone for a good 3-4 minutes. Moving them around encourages them to steam which we don’t want.
Turn your mushrooms, season them lightly with salt and pepper and allow them to cook once again, undisturbed, for another 3-4 minutes, keep your eye on them to ensure they’re not burning (if they are then simply lower your heat) until you get wonderfully browned and caramelized onions and mushrooms.
Once golden, remove them from the pan and place them onto a dish and set them aside for the moment. Don’t wash or rinse your pan, we’re not done yet and we need all that flavor we’ve been building up in it! (Full disclosure, I added a touch of parsley to my bowl of mushrooms purely for the image’s aesthetics and contrast, you can do this but it’s not necessary… though it does look really tasty! Honestly, I could – and sometimes do – eat an entire bowl of these mushrooms by themselves or as a side dish!)
Now, to make the sauce/gravy itself we’ll need whole milk, broth (chicken bone broth or a hearty vegetable stock works well), butter, whole wheat pastry flour, and salt and pepper (to taste).
To our mushroom and onion skillet (see the little bits of onion in the top left pic? That’s flavor!) we’ll add and melt our butter.
Next comes our whole wheat pastry flour. Ensure your heat is kept low so that the fat (butter) can be fully absorbed by the particles of flour without burning. This is necessary to ensure that our sauce is smooth and silky.
Let the flour and butter paste cook for a few minutes, being sure to stir it to keep it from burning. Once cooked, we’ll add in our milk and broth, whisking all the while to ensure that no lumps form.
Tip: If it so happens that lumps do form, you can use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth again, just be careful of splatter!
Let your sauce simmer and thicken then season it with salt and pepper. Finally, we’ll add our browned mushrooms and onions back to the sauce and stir them in. Your sauce will darken a bit as the flavor of the mushrooms and onions spread and mingles with the gravy. 🤤
With our green beans done and our sauce made, all that’s left is to make the Crispy Fried Onions that will crown the top of our casserole. Making it is as simple as coating sliced onions in flour, salt and potato starch and shallow frying it in a pan until they’re golden brown (not burned). The salty, crispy, oniony crunch it adds to the casserole is phenomenal!
However, if that’s not your cup of tea, you can also use anything from a seasoned whole wheat panko topping to shredded cheese! If you opt for either of these I recommend baking your casserole at 350F for 10-15 minutes to brown the bread crumbs or melt the cheese.
With all elements done the final step is to assemble our casserole.
To do this we’ll pour our mushroom and onion sauce over our blistered green beans.
With our gravy poured over, we’re going to gently toss our beans until they’re completely coated and smothered in the sauce. Look at how creamy and rich that looks!
Finally, sprinkle your crispy fried onions over the top of your sauced green beans and there you have it, the best ever green bean casserole that we’ve made from scratch using wholesome and fresh ingredients. Clean, decadent, and a great way to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
I really do hope you’ll give this one a try this year and if you do, you can be sure that it won’t last long once you set it onto your table!
The Best Green Bean Casserole
For the Green Beans:
- 1 lb green beans
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
For the Mushrooms:
- 1 small onion sliced
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1 tbsp extra light olive oil
- pinch salt and pepper (to taste)
For the Sauce:
To top: Crispy Fried Onions or breadcrumbs or shredded cheese
Prep your Green Beans:
- Wash and snip off the ends of all your green beans and add them to a pot of boiling water and allow them to boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Once done, remove and dunk your beans into an ice bath to stop them from cooking .Remove and strain your beans from the ice water and place them onto a clean kitchen towel to dry them off. You want to blot off as much water as possible.
- Once dried, heat your skillet until hot and smoking and add 2 tbsp of melted butter to it and immediately add in your dried boiled and blanched beans. Let your beans blister for 20-30 seconds before turning them.
- Once blistered, season your beans with a sprinkle of salt and pepper remove your beans and set them into a casserole dish.
Cook your Mushrooms:
- Add the oil to the same skillet you just cooked your green beans in. Add in your mushrooms and onions and let them cook, undisturbed for 3-4 minutes. Turn them, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook undisturbed for a few more minutes until your mushrooms are golden brown and caramelized.
- Once done, remove them from the skillet and set them aside.
Make your Sauce:
- Place the same skillet you cooked your mushrooms in on a low heat and add in the 3 tbsp of butter.
- Once the butter has melted, add your whole wheat pastry flour. Mix your flour into the butter until a paste is formed and allow it to cook for a 2-3 minutes, stirring to ensure that it's not burning or browning too much.
- Add your milk and broth to the flour and butter mixture and begin to whisk it immediately to ensure that no lumps form. As the mixture heats up it will begin to thicken, continue stirring, allowing it to simmer gently.
- Add your mushrooms back in and mix it into the sauce. Turn off the heat and allow it to simmer for a couple minutes.
Make your casserole:
- Pour your mushroom sauce over your blistered green beans that are in the casserole dish.
- Gently turn your beans to evenly coat them in the sauce.
- Top your casserole with your Crispy Fried Onions.
Enjoy and store any leftovers:
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container or cover your casserole dish with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to a week.
- Since all elements are precooked there's no need to bake your casserole though you can if you'd like.
- To make the crispy fried onions, slice a whole onion into thin strips and toss it in whole wheat pastry flour, salt and potato starch. Shallow fry your onions in a pan (no need to worry about overcrowding) until golden brown and crunchy. Full recipe can be found HERE.
- Instead of using crispy fried onions, you can also top your casserole with breadcrumbs or shredded cheese (bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes until browned or melted).
Did you try this recipe out? What did you think of it? Feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us on social media (@kitrusycleaneat and #kitrusy) and don’t forget to snap and show off your pics by tagging us so we can celebrate your delectable creations together!