Healthy Green Bean Casserole

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The best Healthy Green Bean Casserole is perfect for any holiday meal and tastes absolutely amazing. This upgraded version with fresh green beans and almonds tastes even better than the original.

155 CAL 21g CARBS 6g FAT 7g PROTEIN 4
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This year I am all about taking classic holiday dishes and giving them a lighter, modern twist. Today’s task - the ultimate canned soup classic - Green Bean Casserole. However, we are ditching the canned cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, and canned crispy onions to make an incredibly tasty, fresh version of this beloved dish. Casserole lovers, you'll also want to check out this Healthy Broccoli Casserole.

Trust me, this lightened-up green bean casserole recipe is so much better than the canned version and just as easy to make. Truth be told, I was never a fan of green bean casserole until I started making it from scratch with fresh green beans and homemade mushroom gravy. Other than the crunchy onions on top, which are surprisingly delicious, I didn't understand the appeal. Mushy green beans are not for me. 

This version is anything but mushy. The green beans are bright green and still have some crunch. The crispy almond, onion, and breadcrumb topping is addictively delicious. Then there is the rich, mushroom gravy. This dish will be a hit on any holiday table. 

Add it to your Thanksgiving table with a Crockpot Boneless Turkey Breast, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, roasted vegetables, and stuffing.

Green bean casserole with fresh green beans, mushroom gravy, and a crispy onion topping in a baking dish with a wooden spoon.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need for this tasty homemade green bean casserole.

  • Fresh green beans: Instead of traditional canned green beans, this recipe uses fresh green beans. Trim the ends and choose green beans that are bright green and firm.
  • Butter: Butter adds richness to this dish and also is a key ingredient to make the mushroom gravy. You can swap in olive oil, but it won't have the same rich flavor.
  • Shallots: Shallots replace the traditional French fried onions. Shallots have a milder onion flavor and some sweetness. You could also use red onions or yellow onions if you like.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: To add some crunch, Panko breadcrumbs are perfect. Traditional or gluten-free breadcrumbs can also be used.
  • Sliced almonds: To add some more crunch, I like to add sliced almonds to the topping as well. Skip them for a more traditional topping. 
  • Cremini mushrooms: Instead of canned cream of mushroom soup, this recipe uses a homemade gravy made with sliced mushrooms. Swap in baby bella mushrooms, sliced white mushrooms, or a combination.
  • Garlic cloves: Garlic adds lots of flavor to the mushroom sauce. Fresh is best, but garlic powder or minced garlic can also be used.
  • White whole wheat flour: Flour acts as a thickener for the mushroom sauce, Any type of flour, including gluten-free, will work to make the roux and thicken the sauce.
  • Reduced fat milk: To mimic the creaminess in canned mushroom soup, milk is used in the sauce. Use whole milk or cream for a richer sauce. Use unsweetened almond milk or soy milk for a non-dairy option.
  • Vegetable bouillon cubes: To add rich flavor and umami to the sauce, bouillon cubes are a great option. Use chicken or vegetable cubes. If you don't have bouillon or prefer not to use it, season the sauce with soy sauce, tamari, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper.

The Secret to Delicious and Healthy Green Bean Casserole

There are two secrets to making a lightened-up Green Bean Casserole. The first is nailing that crispy onion topping without reaching for a can or deep fryer. The second, and most important, is creating a super flavorful mushroom gravy without depending on tons of heavy cream, butter, or canned soup. This is where my secret ingredient comes in.

One of my all-time favorite ways to build rich, deep flavor without a million ingredients or tons of fat is to use bouillon cubes or paste. I like to think of these as little flavor bombs that add rich, deep, umami flavor without needing to spend hours making homemade stock or adding tons of spices and herbs. All the flavor you need is packed into these convenient little cubes.

The other reason I like using bouillon is that gives you that rich, deep flavor without needing to add tons of fat or extra ingredients. Now when it comes to bouillon, not all options are created equal. Usually, I look for an option that is free from MSG and lower in sodium. Typically I am reaching for Better than Bouillion or BOU cubes (vegetarian). You can also use homemade. 

Now that you know the secret, let’s talk about what makes this recipe so good.

How to Make Green Bean Casserole

1. Steam the green beans

To make sure the green beans are bright green and tender-crisp, they need to be parboiled for 3-4 minutes. Make sure to put them in an ice bath after so that continue to cook. 

2. Make the mushroom sauce

Next comes the mushroom gravy. It starts with cremini mushrooms sautéed in a touch of butter and lots of garlic. Once they get nice and tender, it’s time to make the gravy using low-fat milk, whole wheat flour, and chicken or vegetable bouillon.

The bouillon adds that rich, savory flavor that makes the gravy taste indulgent without using all the butter and heavy cream traditionally used in green bean casserole. This is tossed with the green beans.

3. Make the crispy onion topping

To finish things off, you can’t have green bean casserole without the crispy onion topping. For mine, I always start with shallots, since they have plenty of onion flavor without the bite.

Those are cooked down in butter and then tossed with toasted Panko breadcrumbs and sliced almonds. The almonds add nuttiness and are always a good idea with green beans.

4. Assemble and bake

Everything takes a trip to the oven and within about 15 minutes, you have the most amazing, lightened up, flavor-packed Green Bean Casserole.

It should be on every holiday table in my opinion.

Make Ahead Tips

Since you want the green beans to be fresh with some crunch, I don’t recommend making this ahead of time. However, you can blanch the green beans and make the mushroom gravy 1-2 days in advance. Store the green beans and sauce separately in the fridge. Then just assemble and bake.

Recipe Ideas and Tips

  • Nutmeg: Kick up the holiday flavor with some fresh nutmeg in the mushroom gravy.
  • More onion flavor: For more onion flavor, use red onion or sweet Vidalia onion in place of the shallots.
  • Add herbs: Add fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary.
  • Gluten-free: For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and flour.
  • Vegan: For a vegan option, use plant-based milk.
  • Add cheese: If you love cheese, consider adding some Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumb topping and mushroom gravy.
  • Change up the vegetable: This recipe also works great with Brussels sprouts, 

Storage and Reheating

  • Storing: If you are storing this dish after it is cooked, make sure to keep it in an airtight container. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge. 
  • Reheating: Reheat the green bean casserole in the oven at 350 degrees until it is bubbling slightly and warmed through. Cooking time will depend on how much you are reheating. It can also be reheated in the microwave, but it may lose some crunch. 

Lighter green bean casserole with cripsy onions, fresh green beans, and mushroom sauce in a white baking dish.

How to choose green beans?

This recipe gets a lot of flavor from the fresh, crisp green beans, When choosing green beans in the store, make sure to look for green beans that are bright in color without brown spots or bruising. They should be firm without wrinkling. Also if you snap one in half, it should be a crispy break. Avoid soggy or limp green beans.

To prepare them for cooking, start by washing them well to remove any dirt and debris. Then trim off the ends and cut any extra long beans in half for easier eating. For a shortcut, look for green beans that have already been trimmed. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this green bean casserole.

If you prefer a more traditional topping, swap in store-bought crispy fried onions for the homemade crispy topping or use both.

I wouldn't recommend freezing this casserole since the topping will get soggy and the green beans will lose their texture.

The Recipe
Healthy Green Bean Casserole with green beans, mushroom sauce, and a crispy almond onion topping in a baking dish with a striped napkin.

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

155 CAL 21g CARBS 6g FAT 7g PROTEIN 4
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  • 2 lbs. green beans
  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups reduced fat milk
  • 2 vegetable bouillon cubes (or chicken)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook 3-4 minutes until bright green and tender crisp. Immediately add to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Strain and dry.


Melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook 5-7 minutes until tender but still maintaining their shape. Remove. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan and toast for 1-2 minutes until light brown. Add to the cooked shallots. Stir in the sliced almonds. Set aside.


Wipe out the pan with a paper towel. Add the remaining 1 tbsp. of butter. Once melted, add the mushroom and cook 6-8 minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the flour and stir well. Cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and bouillon cubes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, until thick and creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.


Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Add the green beans and mushroom gravy, Stir to combine. Add the crispy onions on top.


Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbly. Serve.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 155
Calories from Fat 55
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 13mg
Sodium 55mg
Total Carbohydrate 21g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 9g
Protein 7g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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