Green bean casseroles are a staple on buffet tables and of family gatherings, especially as part of Thanksgiving dinner. But traditional green bean casseroles can’t be considered healthy. They are loaded with calories, sodium, fat, and unhealthy preservatives. Instead of just dumping canned green beans, over-processed soup, and French's fried onions into a baking dish the next time you have a get-together, opt for one of the healthier green bean casserole recipes below.
Green Bean Nutrition Information
The green bean casserole has the potential to be a filling and healthy side dish—when appropriately made. Fresh green beans are available year-round, and they are an excellent budget-friendly green vegetable.
Green beans offer up dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and minerals. Before you pick the best green bean casserole for the occasion, let’s take a closer look at the humble green bean’s nutritional value.
1 cup of green beans contains:
- Calories: 34
- Dietary fiber: 3.7 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 17.9 milligrams, 30% DV
- Vitamin K: 15.8 micrograms, 20% DV
- Vitamin A: 759 IU, 15% DV
- Manganese: 0.2 milligrams, 12% DV
- Folate: 40.7 micrograms, 10% DV
- Omega-3 fatty acids: 39.6 milligrams
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms are another of the key ingredients in a green bean casserole. As the recipes below use fresh or dried mushrooms instead of canned cream of mushroom soup, you and your family will benefit from the nutrients and phytochemicals in the mushrooms. Here are just some of the science-backed health benefits of mushrooms.
- Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan that the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says may help extend the survival of cancer patients.
- Common button mushrooms and cremini mushrooms contain beta-glucan, which has been shown to boost the immune system. These popular mushrooms are two of the rare foods that contain vitamin D and are also great sources of vitamin B12.
- Pink oyster mushrooms reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels in animal models.
- Mushrooms contain two powerful anti-aging antioxidants—ergothioneine and glutathione.
- Porcini mushrooms contain more protein than any other vegetable protein source, except for soybeans.
6 Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipes
If you have been wondering how to make green bean casserole that is healthy and full of nutrients, we have you covered. Celebrate the green bean on National Bean Day on January 6th with one of our favorite casserole dish recipes that doesn’t use canned soups, canned green beans, or pre-packaged french fried onions.
The base of a classic green bean casserole is Campbell's canned cream of mushroom soup—a true abomination to mushrooms, but we appreciate the thought behind it, as it gave rise to a hit of a dish, so much so that the original recipe card is featured at the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.
In this variation of a green bean casserole recipe from Cookie and Kate, you will make homemade cream of mushroom soup—trust us, you won’t miss the preservatives or the excess sodium using a stock of veggie broth in place of chicken broth! The green beans really retain their fresh flavor and texture. The indulgent spin here is using organic crunchy potato chips instead of crispy onions on top—omit if you must—but they make this dish.
Most green bean casserole recipes use all-purpose flour to thicken the mushroom sauce and to make the crunchy onions on top. But this recipe from the Edgy Veg is safe for those avoiding gluten and animal products. The creaminess in this recipe comes from ingeniously using cauliflower, almond milk, and seasonings as the base. Instead of wheat-flour coated onions, the Edgy Veg coats thinly sliced onions in coconut flour before deep frying. The result is a delicious green bean casserole that feels indulgent.
From Gimme Some Oven comes a healthy green bean casserole recipe that allows fresh green beans to be the star. In this recipe, the green beans retain their bright green color—no gray and slimy “green” beans in this dish! The twist is using an Alfredo sauce infused with mushrooms and Parmesan as the creamy base. Feel free to add extra cheese, like cheddar cheese or gouda cheese, into the green bean mixture for even more flavor. Trust us, you are going to love this recipe which crisps up to golden brown perfection. And even though it's all made from scratch it's cooking time and total time are not significantly more than that of other green bean casseroles. You'll be in and out in an hour's time.
If you are wondering how a green bean casserole can be creamy without the cream—The Kitchen Girl has the answer—a combination of almond milk and chickpea flour. For a twist on the classic crunchy onion topping, a touch of Panko breadcrumbs are used along with sliced almonds. This green bean casserole recipe is so creamy and delicious, your friends and family will never know it is vegan.
From Sarah Baker comes this Crockpot Slow Cooker Vegan Green Bean Casserole that brilliantly employs homemade cashew cream to create the cream sauce and flavorful mushroom base. This recipe calls for either frozen or fresh green beans, but we think the fresh green bean stands up to the slow cooking better than frozen green beans do.
Are you looking for an elevated green bean casserole recipe to wow your friends? This one from Veggie Society is it! This takes a bit more prep time than the others on this list, but it is worth every moment. Nutritional yeast adds to the savory flavor and the texture—but the real stars are the fresh sage, thyme, and oregano. To make this healthier, use Panko breadcrumbs instead of the processed crispy fried onions called for in the recipe.
And there you have it! Six easy recipes to cook up for any get together that calls for a green bean casserole!