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Green Bean Casserole. . Reinvented.

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.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main or Side
Cuisine: Casserole
Servings: 8 -10
Author: Hip Foodie Mom

Ingredients

For the casserole:

  • 2-3 tablespoons Country Crock spread
  • 1 fresh garlic clove; minced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans cut into 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil; split
  • 3-4 cups cremini mushrooms; sliced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme; leaves only
  • 1 medium onion; cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ricotta cheese; in small chunks or crumbles use as much or little as you want
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1-2 teaspoons fresh parsley; diced

For the Béchamel Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons Country Crock spread
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour start with 2 and add another tablespoon if needed
  • 2 cups milk; whole or 2%
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Special Equipment:

  • shallow baking dish

Instructions

For the casserole:

  • 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 Béchamel Sauce and remaining steps for the casserole:

  • 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.