Photo by Quentin Bacon
This fresh-ingredient version of the holiday classic is easy to make and the taste payoff is big—the snap of steamed beans, lots of meaty mushrooms, fresh garlic and thyme, and real Parmesan—all topped with crispy onion or shallots. (The one short cut I find really worth it to use store-bought fried onion or shallot, but I have included instructions for making those from scratch too, if you’d like.) Once you try it this way, you’ll never go back.
1 ½ pounds thin fresh string beans or haricot vert, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the pan
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
6 large cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 cups milk (low-fat, whole or unsweetened oat milk)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup crispy onions or shallots, store bought or homemade (see note)
Steam the green beans in a steamer basket set over pot of boiling water for 3 minutes, until they are bright green and are still crisp. (Alternatively you can microwave them in a covered, microwave safe bowl, with 2 tablespoons of water, for 3 minutes.) Drain and set aside, uncovered.
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water they release has evaporated and they begin to brown, about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds more. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a bowl.
Whisk together the milk and flour until dissolved and add to skillet. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a simmer then cook over a medium-low heat, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, the parsley, green beans, mushroom mixture, nutmeg, salt and pepper
Coat a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil. Spoon the green bean mixture into prepared dish. Casserole may be made ahead to this point and kept covered in the refrigerator for 1 day. Allow to come to room temperature before baking.
When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375 degree. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with the crispy onions or shallots and the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until golden on top and bubbling, about 20 minutes.
Makes 8 servings
Serving size: 1 cup
Note: To make the crispy onions/shallots, start with 1 cup sliced onion or shallot. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a small skillet over a medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add ¼ cup of the onion/shallots and cook, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining onion/shallots, cooking ¼ cup at a time.
Per Serving: Calories 150; Total Fat 6 g; (Sat Fat 2 g, Mono Fat 3.08 g, Poly Fat .65 g) ; Protein 9 g; Carb 18 g; Fiber 3 g; Cholesterol 18 mg; Sodium 330 mg
Excellent source of: Calcium, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K
Good source of: Copper, Folate, Fiber, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D