Green Bean Casserole Reinvented
Here is my attempt at presenting to you a delicious, filling and lighter Green Bean casserole. How did I get creative? This casserole only uses fresh ingredients and nothing out of a can. I also tried to cut down on the fat so this may not look like your typical casserole... thick, creamy and cheesy.
I seriously have a newfound love for broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, mushrooms and squash. I absolutely love the green beans and mushrooms in this casserole. And hey, you can’t have a Green Bean casserole without crunchy, baked onions on top, can you? They are here and they are seriously delicious. When making this recipe, I was inspired by a Lemon Ricotta Béchamel so that’s in here too. And I actually used 2% milk for the béchamel sauce (remember lighter, and this is actually the only kind of milk we have in the house) and Country Crock! It was delicious!
For the casserole
- 3 Tbsp Country Crock® spread
- 0.25 tsp salt
- fresh ricotta cheese; in small chunks or crumbles (use as much or little as you want)
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tsp fresh parsley; diced
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 0.33 cup flour
- 1 fresh garlic clove; minced
- 1 Pound fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil; split
- 4 cup cremini mushrooms; sliced
- 1 tsp onion powder
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp fresh thyme; leaves only
- 1 medium onion; cut in half and thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat the Country Crock spread in a large pan over medium-high heat. After it starts melting a bit, add the garlic and then after a couple minutes, add the fresh green beans and cook until softened, for about 4 minutes.
- While the green beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. After a minute or two, add the mushrooms, onion powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices are almost evaporated, for about 3 to 5 minutes. During the last minute or two of cooking, add the fresh thyme and continue cooking. Combine the green beans and mushrooms, pour into the baking dish and set aside.
- Whisk the flour, paprika, garlic powder and salt in a separate shallow dish. Add the sliced onion and toss to coat. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. After a minute or two, add the onion along with any remaining flour mixture and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and crispy, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.
For the B
- 3 Tbsp Country Crock® spread
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (start with 2 and add another tablespoon if needed)
- 2 cup milk; whole or 2%
- 1 tsp salt
- 0.5 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- In a medium saucepan, heat the Country Crock over medium-low heat until melted. Add the flour and whisk until smooth; you will have a semi-thick batter. Warm the milk in a separate saucepan or in the microwave and add in the milk, 1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until smooth. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, whisking constantly, then remove from heat. Season with salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Whisk to combine and pour over the green bean and mushroom mixture into your casserole dish.
- Mix altogether so the green beans and mushrooms are coated with the béchamel sauce. Sprinkle on the ricotta cheese, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (just enough to lightly cover the top) and crispy onions to cover the top and then sprinkle on the fresh parsley.
- Bake the casserole until bubbling, for about 15 minutes. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Special Equipment: shallow baking dish
NOTE: You’ll see some recipes using lemon juice for the Béchamel. I prefer lemon zest but if this is too much for you, use a little less than a tablespoon of lemon juice instead of the lemon zest.
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