Clean Green Bean Casserole #1
I will be very honest with you about the green bean casserole – I don’t love it. More than that I am not a huge fan of many fall vegetables and dishes. I’m just not and neither are my kids. I will cook and eat them but I much prefer fresh and juicy produce centered recipes.
However, as kids are growing I want them to grow up with traditions. I want them to feel Canadian and included. Yes, I want that! I’m all for keeping the heritage to a certain degree. As a Ukrainian married to a Russian born Jew who lived in Israel and now living in Canada with Canadian born English speaking kids, I am trying my best to keep so many heritages while learning a new one along with raising the same kids, running a household and a business. You understand why wine, right?! Cheers start tonight, by the way. Can’t stop, won’t stop. I could never be pregnant again…
I know many immigrants keep cooking their traditional food but we are just not huge fans of Ukrainian/Russian dishes mainly because they are so heavy and time consuming with little vegetables involved. Plus I don’t have a mom nearby who will cook pirogies, or grandma who will spend 10 hours rolling cabbage rolls or a sister baking a 10 layer cake. In some way, it is good otherwise I would look like a Michelin man. But I’m missing the big family part… Just my little tiny one which is maybe, again, a good thing and is enough?!
So, I’m willing to give a clean green bean casserole a spot on my rookie Christmas table this year. A healthy green bean casserole from scratch. I have never been invited to a local household where traditional canned green bean casserole has been served. So, I have never tried. However, again. I can’t possibly imagine liking a dish with fried onions from a can. Honestly, that is the most bizarre “food” I have ever heard of.
Still puzzled. I don’t even know what aisle to look for it.
On top of that how soggy dull canned green beans can taste good?! It reminds me of canned sliced mushrooms I used to cook with during my early married years. Where the heck did that idea come from?
So, I want to be proper and really belong here. And make my kids say when they are 20-30-40 years old “Remember mom’s
granola green bean casserole with almond milk and fried onions?!”. Fine, not exactly like that but close. I just want them to rush home to me when they are all grown up and hairy, bringing wives and girlfriends (hopefully not both at same time). Because I’m that kind of European mama. Because I never had a home like that to go back to. Because I want my boys to have family, memory and history and live with me until they are 25. Which makes Alex roll his eyes but we all know well who is the boss. Because I’m reasonable and none of them can cook.
That is why I’m feeding all ma’ boyz a clean green bean casserole made with almond milk sauce, onions, pecans and Parmesan cheese. That is exactly why, my friends.
Everything was a success with kids except the onions part. Which I expected. And which I ignored because I possibly can’t catch up with who likes what in this house so I just cook and put it on the table.
I decided to make the topping with crushed pecans instead of panko breadcrumbs because a) for a change b) I didn’t have them on hand c) healthy inside voice woke up. Of course, the topping turned out delish but not crunchy.
However, if you want to make a crunchy topping you can use whole wheat panko breadcrumbs. They are available in select stores (in BC it is Thrifty Foods). I mean let’s get real – even if you use regular panko twice a year I bet your immune system won’t be affected by that.
Another confession – I used conventional green beans from Costco. I absolutely can’t find them organic this time of the year. Plus I hate trimming green beans. These were a breeze. Man, it is truly easy to buy prepped ingredients. I understand why such a processed foods society we live in.
Another shortcut I tried with this recipe was that I cooked green beans in the same skillet with a splash of water instead of dirtying another pot. Worked like a charm. Because I love charms of that kind.
We had this clean green bean casserole on a Wednesday night along with quinoa and a test slow cooker Thai chicken thighs. All boys were like “Why so fancy on Wednesday?!”. Because mom runs a food blog. I got 2 thumbs up about the casserole and 3 thumbs up about the chicken which I have to remake and post for you. You will be blown away by it with 3 simple ingredients.
- 2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
- 10 (8 oz) brown mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp coconut or avocado oil, divided
- Cooking spray (I use Misto)
- 1 cup pecans, very finely chopped or crushed
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced in half moon shapes
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 1/2 cups almond milk, unsweetened*
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
- 1/2 tsp basil, dried
- 1/4 tsp thyme, dried ground
- 3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat large non-stick skillet on medium heat and add pecans. Cook until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Return skillet to the stove and swirl 1 tbsp oil to coat. Add onions and cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown/almost charred, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl with onions.
- Return skillet to the stove and swirl 1 tsp oil. Add green beans and a splash of water, stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Return skillet to the stove and swirl remaining 1 tsp oil. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together Creamy Sauce ingredients and add to the skillet with mushrooms. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened a bit, about 4-5 minutes. In the meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray medium baking dish with cooking spray.
- Turn off the heat, add green beans and stir to coat. In a bowl with onions and pecans, add remaining Onion Pecan Topping ingredients and stir well.
- Transfer green beans to previously prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the topping. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve hot.
*For creamier sauce use whole cow’s milk otherwise any non-sweet carton milk works.
Clean Green Bean Casserole #2
Now, below is an original version of a clean green bean casserole I posted way back in 2013 which I had all intentions to remake and delete. The recipe is a bit more labour intensive than version #1 which was my main reason for remaking it.
However, when I read through comments I realized how many people enjoyed it. So, I’m keeping it for those of you who have a bit extra time, don’t mind a bit extra ingredients and want a crunchy panko topping.
- 2 lbs green beans, trimmed and cut into 2" pieces
- Cooking spray
- 10 small white mushrooms, sliced
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp cream cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (not packed)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 small onions, thinly sliced into circles
- 1/2 cup whole wheat or Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (not packed)
- 3 tbsp water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees, spray large baking dish (approximately 8 x 11) with cooking spray and set aside.
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add beans along with pinch of salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-6 minutes or until al dente. Green beans should be firm and not too soft. Drain and add a few cups of ice to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Preheat large skillet on medium high and add olive oil. Add onions and cook until golden brown/almost charred, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Return skillet to heat, spray with cooking spray and add mushrooms. Cook until golden brown.
- Reduce heat to low and add flour. Stir enough to coat the mushrooms. Slowly pour almond milk and whisk while you pouring, until no lumps are left. Add water, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and whisk again. Bring to a boil and let simmer to thicken, for about 3-4 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, add breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and water to a bowl with onions and mix with your hands until crumbs appear.
- Drain green beans, add the sauce and stir to combine.
- Transfer green beans to prepared baking dish and sprinkle with topping. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes. Serve warm. Casserole tastes best within first couple hours after it has been cooked.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving = 1 1/3 cups:
Total Fat: 7.6 g
Cholesterol: 12.4 mg
Sodium: 458.5 mg
Total Carbs: 20.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.9 g
Protein: 9.3 g
WW Points+: 5