Try This Fresh Take On Green Bean Casserole

fresh green beans n a wooden bowl on a wooden table

I’ve always wanted to create a dish that would give me the comfort of traditional green bean casserole without all the goop. This year, I think I’ve done it.

This cast iron comfort dish has all the things I love about a holiday treat, plus a fresh taste and organic ingredients. It’s a more adult version of the iconic holiday classic, which I think brings the green bean casserole into the 21st century.

I’ll tell you up front that this is not really a casserole, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the finished product which is served from a cast iron skillet.  It’s a combo of roasted fresh veggies drizzled with a  light béchamel cheese sauce and dusted with bacon-y panko crumbs. Roasting the green beans, onions and mushrooms brings out the sweetness in the vegetables while adding a heartiness that is comforting and filling.

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

2-3 slices of good quality, thick-cut smoked bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

(omit bacon if desired, or substitute with vegetarian bacon-flavor crumbles, if desired.)

1 lb fresh green beans, washed, ends snapped, and cut in half

1 large purple onion, sliced into rings

8 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2 tablespoons Wild Oats Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, divided and softened

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 cup organic milk

1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and combine it with the panko bread crumbs in a skillet. Toast panko in the skillet for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and combine with crumbled bacon. Set aside.

Next, in a large bowl, toss green beans, mushrooms and onions together with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Put veggies into a 12 inch cast iron skillet and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the green beans and mushrooms are cooked and the onions are slightly caramelized.

While the green beans, mushrooms and onions are in the oven, get out 2- heavy-bottomed sauce pans, one small and one medium-sized. (yes, this does give you an extra pan to clean, but the results are sooo worth it!) Add 3/4 cup of milk to the small sauce pan and warm over low heat until it begins to steam.  Be careful not to allow the milk to burn or scorch. When warmed, remove from heat and set aside.

Now, in the other sauce pan, make a béchamel sauce. Combine 1 tablespoon of flour with 1 tablespoon of softened butter and whisk to combine.  Cook over low heat 2-3 minutes, until incorporated and hot.  Pour hot milk into hot flour mixture.  Whisk and cook until completely combined. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, another 5 minutes.  Stir in shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Remove veggie mixture from the oven and stir. Drizzle desired amount of the béchamel sauce over hot veggies. I don’t stir the sauce in because I like to see the veggies and get just a bite of the sauce, but you can stir to combine the ingredients if you like. Sprinkle veggies with the panko crumb/bacon mixture and serve immediately.  Serves 6


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