Zesty Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Overhead view of a golden topped casserole in a black dish on a wooden surface.

Creamy and comforting, this Green Bean Casserole is made completely from scratch. The extra effort of using fresh green beans and a zesty homemade mushroom cheese sauce really improves upon this classic holiday casserole. Topped with golden buttery panko crumbs and French’s fried onions, it’s practically iresistible. 

This post first appeared over at Noshing With The Nolands where I’m a contributor. Now, I’m so excited to be able to share this update on classic Green Bean Casserole with YOU!

Zesty Green Bean Casserole Recipe

This holiday season, surprise your family and friends, with the ultimate turkey dinner. Bake up some delicious Spinach Stuffing Balls and set this Green Bean Casserole down on the table in a place of honour. They’ll be tempted to reach for seconds of this irresistible Green Bean Casserole featuring fresh green beans in a creamy mushroom sauce made from scratch. How can you go wrong with a crispy top layer of buttered panko crumbs and crispy fried onions? Don’t be surprised when everyone asks for the recipe!

Overhead view of a golden topped Green Bean Casserole in a black dish on a wooden surface.

Green Bean Casseroles have been appearing on dinner tables for decades but you have just made the most delicious version of all. Fresh green beans, a sumptuous homemade Béchamel sauce seasoned with garlic, Worchestershire Sauce, seedy mustard, and tarragon.

You dip the serving spoon into the casserole, breaking through the golden crispy layer of Panko crumbs mixed with French Fried Onions and serve your first guest with a smile.

Close up of a spoonful of Green Bean Casserole showing green beans, bacon, mushrooms in a cream sauce.

Who Wrote the First Green Bean Casserole Recipe?

During the days of early convenience cooking, when processed food was becoming vogue, Campbell’s employed a team to develop recipes using their canned products.

The original Green Bean Casserole was invented in 1955 by Dorcas Reilly who simply mixed a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup) with canned green beans.

Overhead view of a tidy line of green beans with the tip cut off.

What resulted was an unappetizing grey-green mush which really held no appeal at all. As it turned out, the best thing to do was to top the casserole with French’s fried onions.

The crispy onions added a textural component to the dish in addition to covering up the hideous casserole. Problem solved!

Overhead view of fresh green beans, mushrooms, and bacon in a black dish on a wooden surface.

How to Make A Beautiful Green Bean Casserole

This green bean side dish is entirely made from scratch and it is a little more work than the original. However, that extra elbow grease pays off when you see and taste the final dish.

As the old saying goes; ‘we eat with our eyes’ and this casserole is very visually appealing. On first glance, you see the crispy golden top layer but where this casserole really shines is inside.

Overhead view of fresh green beans, bacon, mushrooms, and cream sauce in a black dish on a wooden surface.

Here are a few recipe tips to help you create the very best green bean casserole:

Blanch the beans. The second thing everyone notices in this dish are the vibrant green beans. Blanching vegetables is a very easy technique and can be used in so many applications.

The fresh beans take a quick 4-minute dip in a pot of boiling water where they partially cook. Next, the beans are removed from the boiling water and plunged into an ice water bath so that the cooking process stops immediately.

Voila…now you have beautiful green beans! 

Cut green beans in a enamel collander.

Green Bean Casserole Sauce

Making mushroom sauce from scratch may not be as easy as opening up a can of soup, but it adds so much more flavour to this casserole. Start with a basic Béchamel or ‘white sauce’, then build your own flavours.

The ‘Zesty’ in this recipe comes from the addition of Worchestershire Sauce, Grainy Mustard, and finely grated Parmesan Reggiano. This trio is a powerhouse flavour combination!

White sauce being poured over a black casserole dish filled with bacon, mushrooms, and green beans.

Let’s not forget the mushrooms! By blitzing them in a food processor, their surface area for flavour release increases dramatically.

Next, frying them until their juices are released condenses their flavour even more. They add such an earthy, subtle flavour to this casserole that is not to be missed. 

Can You Freeze Green Bean Casserole?

Green Bean Casserole is easy to freeze and re-heats well which makes it THE perfect make-ahead Thanksgiving dinner side dish.

To freeze, follow the recipe until you reach the baking step. Instead of baking the dish, wrap it well with plastic wrap and freeze for up to two weeks.

Finally, on the day of your dinner, just thaw and follow the remaining steps in the recipe.

Overhead view of a golden topped green bean casserole in a black dish with a portion missing on a wooden surface.

Pin this Zesty Green Bean Casserole For Your Next Holiday Meal Here

Pinterest image of a golden topped green bean casserole in a black dish, and a close up spoonful of the casserole.

Yield: 6 servings

Zesty Green Bean Casserole

Zesty Green Bean Casserole

Creamy and comforting, this Green Bean Casserole is made completely from scratch. The extra effort of using fresh green beans and a zesty homemade mushroom cheese sauce really improves upon this classic holiday casserole.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh green beans
  • 12 large cremini mushrooms or baby bellas
  • 2-4 rashers of bacon

FOR THE CREAM SAUCE

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 2 tbsp seedy mustard
  • 2 tsp Worchestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half or 18 % cream
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Reggiano

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1 cup French fried onions

Instructions

    1. Wash and trim the ends of the green beans. Trim into bite sized pieces.
    2. To Blanch the beans: Set a medium pot of water to boil. Add half of the bean pieces and boil for 4 minutes. Remove and immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Repeat with the second half of the beans.
    3. Slice the bacon rashers into small bits and fry in a small frying pan. Remove from pan and set aside. Wipe pan out.
    4. Add cremini mushrooms to the bowl of a food processor and process until mushrooms appear as in photo in the post. Fry the mushrooms in bacon pan until they no longer release moisture.
    5. Place blanched beans, bacon, and mushrooms into a medium baking dish.
    6. Pre-heat oven temperature to 350 F.
    7. Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes on low. Add flour and stir into butter to make a roux.
    8. Cook roux for a few minutes but do not allow it to turn colour. Add cream and whisk until smooth.
    9. Continue to whisk until thickened slightly. Add Parmesan Reggiano and whisk until cheese is incorporated into the sauce.
    10. Pour sauce over casserole ingredients and mix well.
    11. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 F oven.
    12. While the casserole is baking, melt the 2 tbsp butter in the frying pan. Add panko and fry until it becomes golden. Remove from heat.
    13. When the casserole is hot and bubbling, remove from oven and top with crispy panko crumbs and French fried onions.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS: Prepare the casserole as described and stop before the baking step. Place in refrigerator for a day or two. Remove and finish as directed.

*This recipe uses commercially available French fried onions.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 815 Total Fat: 62g Saturated Fat: 36g Trans Fat: 2g Unsaturated Fat: 22g Cholesterol: 173mg Sodium: 1247mg Carbohydrates: 48g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 14g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 22g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

23 comments

  1. Amanda

    Green bean casserole is always one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, and your version looks delicious. Can’t wait to give this a try over the holidays!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I hope it lives up to your previous casserole standards!

      Reply

  2. Sharon

    I love this upgrade to boring old green bean casserole recipes. A great way to shake up the Thanksgiving menu.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I love to shake things up, why go with boring right? Thanks for stopping by Sharon.

      Reply

  3. Colleen

    I’ve never tasted green bean casserole, and have never been tempted. Until now. This one looks so delicious, and I love that there’s no canned soup. This is going on my holiday table for sure.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Me too! My main goal when I was testing this recipe was to get rid of the soup.

      Reply

  4. Elaine

    Bernice, you’ve made over a classic Thanksgiving favourite into a healthy side! Beautiful!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yes! That was my mission…I’ve never cared for recipes using canned soup (although my mom does make a mean tomato soup spice cake).

      Reply

  5. Kelly Neil

    I’ve never had green bean casserole and yours looks so rich and delicious! Also your styling is on point. Yum!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Truthfully, this was my first Green bean casserole. I just could never bring myself to make one with a can of soup. lol

      Reply

  6. Leslie

    Thank you for making this amazing Thanksgiving side dish and giving it some meaning! In my house we always had green bean casserole for family get togethers but all the ingredients were from a can. I love that I can still have this dish but now enjoy REAL flavor from it!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      There’s something to be said for shaking up traditions! I’m anxious to hear your feedback on the recipe. Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply

  7. Sophie

    This is so good for my next week’s party. I love green beans a lot and a casserole is a perfect dish.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

      Reply

  8. Tammy

    Green bean casserole is a holiday must have and I love the fresh homemade cream sauce…this just looks absolutely delicious!

    Reply

  9. Veronika

    Green bean casserole is always a staple dish on our holiday table! I like your version for homemade cream sauce. Sounds really tasty, will try it!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s so good! Definitely a new tradition for us.

      Reply

  10. GUNJAN C Dudani

    I am so glad to have found your recipe. Its delicious and perfectly fits my menu for thanksgiving.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Wonderful! I hope you and your family enjoy it and have a happy Thanksgiving Gunjan.

      Reply

  11. Paula Montenegro

    Green beans and mushrooms are a match made in heaven. Adding bacon to the mix is genius! I think this would be the perfect addition to the holiday table. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Bacon makes everything better! I just love all the flavours in this casserole and I hope you do too.

      Reply

  12. Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli

    I am pretty sure you are not surprised that I have never had a green bean casserole and didn’t even know it was a thing 😉 . But I like what I see in your pictures, and the “real” ingredients. I’m sure the flavors together must be sensational.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      No, I’m not surprised! Actually this was my first Green Bean Casserole too. I really wanted to create a recipe that everyone could love…Green Bean Casserole traditionalists and newcomers!

      Reply

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