Lighter Fresh Green Bean Casserole

Fresh green beans, caramelized onions and a deliciously light sauce blend together for one fantastic and more modern green bean casserole.

I took an existing recipe and gave it a make-over. Ultimately it's lighter because I did away with the heavy cream and some of the butter. The flavor however has not been compromised, this green bean casserole is scrumptious. The other plus is the ease of it and that it's all homemade. No canned stuffed here!
Over the summer I got on a kick with fresh green beans. Could not get enough of them. One of the great recipes I made with them was a Green Bean and Bacon Salad with a Vinaigrette. It was so delicious! If you haven't tried it yet, I urge you to do so. The craving is back - in a big way and when I was thinking of something to do with the beans I remembered I made a fresh green bean casserole a few times but it's been ages since I last made it. That is what prompted me to do the make over recipe. Plus those old photos were pretty awful!

With the little bit of oven time and blanching the beans ahead, the beans still remain a vibrant color. Looks are important in a dish especially when you are presenting it to family and guests on the holidays. You want everything to look yummy, right? Not only does this look appetizing, the casserole just has amazing flavor. Instead of those crunchy onions from a can, I used some Ritz crackers for topping and the casserole itself contains some caramelized onion for that onion flavor you remember from mom's casserole.
  • 12 - 16 ounces fresh green beans - stems removed and cut in half
  • 1/2 large sweet onion - medium dice
  • 1 cup chicken broth - warmed
  • 4 tbsp. butter (for the roux)
  • 4 tbsp. flour (all purpose)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers for topping - optional
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (for the onions)
  1. In a pot of boiling salted water, add the green beans and blanch them for about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium low heat melt heat the olive oil and saute the onions until caramelized. Takes about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Warm the chicken broth in the microwave for 30 seconds on high.
  4. Over medium heat melt the 4 tbsp. butter in the same skillet with the caramelized onions and when that is melted, sprinkle in all of the flour and keep stirring. Cook and keep whisking over medium low heat for about 2 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste. You will know the flour taste is cooked out when the flour takes on a nutty sort of smell.
  5. Slowly pour in the warmed chicken stock, whisking as you go to create a sauce. To this add some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. In a casserole dish combine the beans, the caramelized onions and the sauce. Top with some crushed Ritz Crackers.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350° oven uncovered for about 40-45 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce is bubbly.
  8. Remove the cover and brown the cracker topping under the broiler for a few minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45-48 minutes
Serves: 4 - 5
Cost: approximately $4.45, feeding four people for $1.11 per person, five people for 89¢ per person.

My husband was in the mood for turkey, so luckily I found a fresh turkey to make for our Sunday dinner. Today we will be eating the left over turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes and with it this scrumptious fresh green bean casserole.

Well today I satisfy my own craving for green beans and I hope that I can come up with another spiffy recipe using them. Just boiled for 8 minutes in salted water is great, but I'd like to see where this craving will take me. Green beans almondine is another way, but it's been done over and over and over so I'll have to keep beans at the top of my list to see what I can create.


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