Green Bean Casserole with Bacon takes the classic Thanksgiving side dish and gives it a fresh twist. Fresh ingredients in a flavor-packed creamy, cheesy casserole you’ll love!
If you ever thought green bean casserole wasn’t your thing we think you’ll really like this French-inspired fresh ingredient version. Nothing canned included and all the classic flavors are recreated with delicious fresh ingredients.
There is a reason this dish has stood the test of time and is a family favorite. From sunday dinner to the Thanksgiving day, it’s what people look forward to.
This freshened up approach makes the ultimate green bean casserole! It has a modern feel still keeping the flavors that have made this classic recipe so well loved.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This French-inspired re-do of the classic Green Bean Casserole takes the beloved side dish to a whole new level.
The BIG DIFFERENCE: All the ingredients are fresh.
- Delicate, slender Haricot Vert fresh green beans replace traditional canned or frozen green beans.
- Fresh sautéed mushrooms take the place of canned mushroom soup.
- Shallot rings, bacon, fresh thyme and Gruyere cheese make a flavor-packed creamy sauce.
- Topped with French bread crumbs and slivered almonds give a golden brown topping with a crunchy bite!
The Original Green Bean Casserole
The ‘American Century Cookbook: the Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century’ says the Green Bean Casserole is one of said most popular recipes.
Campbell’s Soup ‘home economists’ created the recipe in the mid 1950’s and people immediately loved it as they continue to today.
A selling point for the recipe, in addition to being easy to make, is it ‘leaves room for creativity’.
The original green bean casserole recipe included cream of mushroom soup, milk, frozen green beans, canned French fried onions, soy sauce and pepper.
For a variation, corn soup could be swapped for the mushroom and top with slivered almonds.
Or the beans and mushroom soup could be swapped out for broccoli and broccoli soup.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Sliced bacon, fresh thyme and Gruyere cheese give creamy, smoky layers of flavor and beans that still have a good bite (no soggy beans).
Haricot Vert (French Green Beans). Instead of frozen or canned green beans fresh Haricot Vert (pronounced ‘hair-a-coe vair-t’) green beans are used. Haricot Vert (literally translated from French is ‘green bean’) they originate in France and are a much thinner, and usually shorter variety of green bean. They are often sold in packages in the produce department of all grocery stores, especially around the holidays. They have a wonderful texture and flavor.
Fresh mushrooms. Instead of mushroom soup, fresh sautéed mushrooms create a delicious amount of flavor in this green bean casserole. A combination of Cremini mushrooms and Shitake give fantastic flavor much more than a button mushroom.
Cremini mushrooms are often called ‘baby bellas’ because they are a young portabella mushroom. Portabellas have a meaty texture and flavor. Shitake mushrooms have a rich, savory taste perfect for this green bean casserole.
Both types of mushrooms are available in the produce department of the grocery store. Stores with a wide variety of produce like Whole Foods are a great source.
Shallot. The crunchy canned fried onions on the top of the traditional green bean casserole has also been updated. Fresh sautéed shallot rings are mixed into the casserole for the familiar onion flavor.
French bread crumbs. Use regular or gluten-free, store bought or homemade bread crumbs. Refer to the recipe card NOTES at the end of the blog post for instructions on how to make your own.
These add half of the crunch to the topping that traditionally is made with canned onions.
Slivered almonds. These make the rest of the crunch of the topping and a slightly nutty flavor.
Unsalted Butter. Be sure to use unsalted butter.
Haricot Vert. If you can’t find fresh beans, use frozen, thawed Haricot Vert. Do a QUICK THAW by placing them in the colander and running them under cold water. Skip the first recipe step of blanching the French green beans if substituting frozen/thawed Haricot Vert. Regular green beans can also be substituted.
Cremini mushrooms. Substitute Portabella mushrooms. They are a lot larger then Cremini mushrooms so should be cut into smaller pieces. Dried cremini mushrooms can be reconstituted (soak them in water so they plump back to a normal texture).
Shitake mushrooms. Frozen shitake mushrooms are available. Thaw before using. Dried shitake mushrooms can be reconstituted by soaking in water. Drain the water before using the mushrooms.
NOTE: Cremini mushrooms can be used as the only mushroom in the green bean casserole too. Use 1 ½ pounds of Cremini mushrooms if unable to find shitake mushrooms.
Shallot. Use yellow onion.
How to make it Gluten-Free
To make the Green Bean Casserole gluten-free, use gluten-free bread crumbs.
All other ingredients are naturally gluten-free.
How to Make fresh Green Bean Casserole – Step-by-Step
STEP 1. Preparation
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
STEP 2. Blanch the beans
Using a large pot of water, process batches of beans through boiling, lightly salted water for 1 ½ minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place them into an ice bath (bowl of ice water and ice) to stop the cooking process. Pat dry with paper towel or a clean kitchen towel.
STEP 3. Sauté bacon
In a large pot (or deep large skillet) sauté the bacon over medium-high heat just until the fat is rendered and the bacon lightly browns; 2-3 minutes. NOTE: you don’t want crispy bacon! It will not be completely cooked and should still be pliable. Transfer bacon from the pan and set aside.
STEP 4. Sauté vegetables
Add butter to the bacon grease in the pan and allow it to melt over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms and thyme, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and cook cremini mushrooms and shitake mushrooms until they release their moisture and begin to reduce (scrape up any brown bits and bacon pieces).
Add the shallots and sauté until they begin to turn translucent.
Add the bacon and haricot vert to the mixture and stir to fully incorporate. Remove from heat.
STEP 5. Make the cheese sauce
In a large saucepan melt remaining butter over medium heat.
Whisk in the all purpose flour to make a roux (a thickener base for French sauces). Slowly pour in the milk and chicken stock, whisking constantly to fully mix together smoothly. Continue to stir over medium heat until it thickens (3-5 minutes).
Add the cheese, whisking to help melt the cheese and to make a smooth mixture.
STEP 4. Make the casserole
Add the cheese sauce, along with ¾ teaspoon of each kosher salt and black pepper, to the green bean mixture. Stir well to mix all the ingredients together.
Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9 inch 4-quart casserole dish or baking pan and smooth to uniformly fill the pan.
Mix together the bread crumbs and chopped almonds and spread evenly over the top of the casserole.
STEP 5. Bake
Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.
- Purchase mushrooms pre-sliced. Most grocery stores offer them in the produce department and have a good variety of options.
- Use pre-made bread crumbs instead of making your own. Any type will do though a neutral flavor works best.
- Do the prep work the day before. Trim the beans, slice the shallots, grate the cheese, slice the bacon, make the bread crumbs and slice the mushrooms all the day before assembling and cooking the green bean casserole.
Prepping everything only leaving sautéing, combining and baking for the serving day will keep things simple!
Store any leftovers sealed with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
More Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love
- Easy Roast Turkey
- Cornbread Chorizo Turkey Dressing Recipe
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Creamed Corn
- Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes in Mason Jars
- Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Green Bean Casserole with Bacon
- 2 ½ pounds Haricot Vert ends trimmed and cut in half (to yield approximately 1 ½ inch lengths) Tip: kitchen shears make this go quickly!
- ½ cup uncooked Bacon sliced across the slice in 1/8-inch strips (2-3 slices of bacon; will vary due to bacon thickness)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) Unsalted Butter
- 1 pound Cremini Mushrooms sliced
- ½ pound Shitake Mushrooms sliced (tops only )
- 6 sprigs fresh Thyme leaves only
- ¾ teaspoon plus a large pinch Kosher Salt
- ¾ teaspoon plus a large pinch freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1 ½ cups Shallots 1/8 inch slices across the shallot; separate slices into individual rings
- ½ cup Flour regular or gluten-free
- 3 cups Whole Milk
- 1 cup low sodium Chicken Stock
- 1 ¾ cups Gruyere Cheese (.3 pounds), grated
- 1 cup French Bread crumbs* (refer to recipe notes below)
- ½ cup Slivered Almonds rough chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Blanch the Haricot Vert: process batches through boiling, lightly salted water for 1 ½ minutes then place them into an ice bath (large mixing bowl of cold water and ice) until they are full cooled. Place them on a clean kitchen towel to drain and pat dry.
- In a large pot (or large deep skillet) sauté the bacon over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered (begins to liquefy) and the bacon lightly browns; 2-3 minutes. NOTE: The bacon will not cook fully and should still be pliable. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add 4 tablespoons of butter to the bacon drippings in the pan and allow it to melt over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and thyme, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms release their moisture and begin to reduce; 3-4 minutes.
- Add the shallots and continue to sauté until the shallots begin to turn translucent.
- Add the bacon and haricot vert to the mixture and stir to fully incorporate. Remove from heat.
- In a large saucepan melt remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted whisk in the flour forming a roux (a thickener base for French sauces). Slowly pour in the milk and chicken stock, whisking constantly to fully mix together smoothly. Continue to stir the roux over medium heat until it thickens (3-5 minutes).
- Add the cheese to the roux, whisking to help melt the cheese and to make a smooth mixture.
- Add the cheese sauce, along with ¾ teaspoon of each Kosher Salt and Pepper, to the bean mixture. Stir well to mix all the ingredients together.
- Spoon mixture into a 13 x 9 inch 4-quart baking pan and smooth to uniformly fill the pan.
- Mix together the bread crumbs and chopped almonds and spread evenly over the top of the casserole.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.
- Toast bread in the toaster or underneath the oven broiler.
- Break into pieces and process through a chopper, food processor or blender to make crumbs.
- If the bread is still moist, place on a baking sheet and place underneath the oven broiler, checking frequently, to dry (about a minute); watch them carefully so they don’t burn.
Originally published: November 10, 2014