I will confess that my favorite, FAVORITE, favorite side for Thanksgiving and Christmas is green bean casserole. And don’t get me started on these new-fangled Food Network green bean concoctions, with their shitake mushrooms and hand-fried onions rings on top; I love the old traditional. But, unfortunately, though the old traditional is easy, it is far from healthy using canned green beans, canned cream of mushroom soup (normally with MSG added somewhere in there) and trans-fat-full French Fried Onions (don’t even get me started on the “cheddar”-flavored onions. Heresy!)
Over the last few years I’ve somehow become known as the go-to person for making the green bean casseroles for our holiday meals. I’ve been slowly augmenting my old traditional recipe to a healthier version, and am excited to share it with you here! It still tastes like the old traditional (FAVORITE) recipe, but it so much healthier for you!
- Organic, Frozen Cut Green Beans (not frenched)
- Two boxes of this healthy cream of mushroom soup or a batch or two of homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup (A very simple, tasty recipe, this can be made earlier in the week and kept in the fridge for ease of quick throwing together on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day) Keep in mind that this soup is NOT condensed, so make it accordingly to the number of people you are feeding. One batch would be enough for a side dish for about four to six people.
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder and Red Chili Flakes, to taste
- a Can or two of HEALTHIER Fried Onions. I use the Trader Joe’s variety which has no preservatives, no artificial colors or flavors and no trans fat. The ingredients are literally Onions, Vegetable Oil, Wheat Flour and Salt. Sounds good to me!
Please keep in mind that this is a very subjective recipe. It involves a lot of “until it looks right” so bear with me. It is easily adaptable to a small dinner for four, to a large dinner for twenty!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get the casserole dish that you will be cooking the casserole in and place frozen green beans in it, 3/4s of the way full. (I recommend an 8″ square dish for dinners for four to six, the larger 9″x13″ casserole for six to ten guests and up to two 9″x13″ dishes for more. Leftovers are always welcome). You do not have to defrost the green beans. Mix with cream of mushroom soup, (about a cup and a half to two cups for an 8″ square casserole or two and a half to three and a half cups for the larger 9″x13″ dish) until it is thoroughly covered, without being soupy (a.k.a. until it looks right), then add a good sprinkling of garlic powder and red chili flakes and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly. Then add half of the French-fried onions to the mixture and stir to combine.
Place remainder of onions on top in an even layer and cover casserole with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until top is golden and crunchy. Allow to cool slightly and enjoy!