Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole

The World’s Most Convenient Green Bean Casserole. Fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms. Make ahead of time and freeze for later.

Because every real Green Bean Casserole Lady needs choices

People don’t call me the ‘green bean casserole lady’ for nothing. You see, two years ago the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole for A Veggie Venture's first collection of Thanksgiving vegetable recipes created some stir at Thanksgiving tables. Made with fresh green beans and fresh mushrooms bathed in a thyme-scented, sherry-sweetened cream sauce, it was comfort-food extraordinaire, just fresher.

So why, then, am I here again with << another recipe >> for green bean casserole?

With fresh beans and fresh mushrooms, this new recipe is a lot like the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole. (And both, happily, are << unlike >> the original green bean casserole's canned green beans and canned mushroom soup.)

So let’s call this new recipe the 'World’s Most Convenient Green Bean Casserole'. That's because, in this new recipe:
The beans are snapped and put into the casserole raw, yes raw, the ‘uncooked’ raw! They cook just fine, really.
The casserole gets frozen, yes, frozen solid and is baked straight from the freezer! It needn’t be thawed, really.

Don’t get me wrong, on the basis of taste, the World’s Best Green Bean Casserole keeps its lofty title and is my first recommendation. There’s just something magnificent about the bean-cooking technique that draws out every burst of bean flavor.

But for convenience, well, this Make-Ahead Fresh Green Bean Casserole wins, hands-down. Because it can be made far in advance, it’s especially good for extra-large gatherings. At the same time, because it can be split up into multiple dishes for freezing, it’s also especially good for small gatherings.

So call me the Green Bean Casserole Lady. I’ll just smile knowingly and think to myself, "Yes, a good green bean casserole recipe. It really can light my light."

ALANNA's TIPS Because it starts off frozen, this casserole takes a long time in the oven at a hot temperature. Thanksgiving is always a balancing act, oven-wise, so make sure that the timing works out with the other items on the menu. For this reason, the next time I make this, I’ll skip the freezing step and cook in the slow cooker, then finish in the oven. I tested this recipe using a shallow Corningware baking dish. I suspect that a taller baking dish would require a longer cooking time.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

MAKE-AHEAD
FRESH GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE

America’s favorite casserole, fresh & convenient both
Prep time: 50 minutes
Freezing time: overnight - two months
Baking time: 90 minutes
Serves 16 in smallish servings for a big dinner
    SAUCE
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, caps broken into pieces, stems roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (don’t skimp on these)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock or boullion
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, if needed
    BEANS
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, stems trimmed, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    TOPPING
  • 1 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups (about 3 ounces) canned fried onions, chopped

SAUCE In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter on medium heat til melted. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mushrooms are cooked and the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute. Sprinkle the mushrooms with flour and stir in as best you can. A tablespoon at a time, stir in the chicken stock, letting each tablespoon become absorbed before adding another. (This will take several minutes, be patient or you’ll risk a lumpy mess.) Stir in the wine and cream. Bring to a boil. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sherry. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It should be slightly salty and slightly peppery since the beans themselves are unseasoned.)

BEANS While the sauce cooks, toss the beans and cornstarch well. Transfer to a 9x13 ceramic baking dish. Pour hot mushroom sauce over top. Gently press beans into the sauce so that all the beans are submerged. Cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure there’s no air between the beans and the plastic. Wrap with foil. Freeze. Do not thaw before baking.

TOPPING No more than a day before, mix the panko, butter, salt and pepper in a skillet. On medium heat, let the crumbs brown, stirring often, being careful not to burn. Stir in the fried onions.

BAKING Preheat oven to 400F. IMPORTANT: remove plastic wrap from casserole, then replace the foil. Bake for 30 minutes, stir, leave the foil off and bake for another 50 minutes. (If the sauce is too thin, leave in oven, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until it thickens.) Spread topping over the casserole, bake for another 10 minutes until golden.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 176 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 19mg Cholesterol; 273mg Sodium; 17g Carb; 3g Fiber; 2g Sugar; 3g Protein; Weight Watchers Old Points 4 points, PointsPlus 4
Adapted from Cook’s Country November 2008

More Thanksgiving Vegetable Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Squash Puff Turnip Puff Acorn Squash with Quinoa & Cherries
~ more six Thanksgiving menus ~
~ more Thanksgiving recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

~ more Thanksgiving vegetable recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture, my food blog


Green bean casserole lady - ha. The other one is so good. But this new one is tempting. The kitchen is so busy on Thanksgiving Day.
 
Your make ahead fresh green bean casserole sounds great. But how long and at what temp if I just want to assemble it on TG morning, bake and serve, no freezing?

I'm a new subscriber and loving your newsletter!

Best, Nancy
 
Nancy ~ Sorry, I haven't tested that way so just can't say for sure. If you're going to make the casserole the morning of, I'd really recommend the World's Greatest Green Bean Casserole, it doesn't take so long to cook the green beans and that way, you KNOW time and temp, plus the flavor is just so good, with the salt IN the beans. Ack, I just now realized that the NEW recipe doesn't include a link to the first one!

Glad you like the recipes for Kitchen Parade, I much appreciate your subscribing!
 
This looks wonderful! Just a quick question - should I use "heavy" or "light" cream? (it just calls for "cream")

Thanks! Great website!
 
I used heavy cream when testing this recipe but use half 'n' half (I suppose this would be light cream, it's half cream and half whole milk) when making the World's Best Green Bean Casserole. So I think that either would be fine!
 
Thanks! I will use the heavy cream for this recipe, as I will be doing the "freeze-ahead" directions. If I decide on making the w.b.g.b.c. recipe, THEN I will use half & half. Thanks! Can't wait to make this and have it all ready on Thanksgiving!!!!!
 
Alanna, This is just what I was looking for! I want to do it in the slow cooker, too. How long and at hi or lo?
 
Anonymous -- Sorry, I've not tested it in the slow cooker so just can't say for sure. If it were me, I'd do on high until it was done, then hold on warm. (And I'd keep track for another time, to share with others. If you do, maybe you'll share?!)
 
I want to try this for Thanksgiving Day, can I use french style bread crumbs instead of panko? And do you think it can just sit in the refig. for a day?
Thanks.
Amanda
 
Hi Amanda,

Yes, bread crumbs from a French loaf will work fine, but I'd recommend letting them dry first, either by leaving out (cubed) for the next couple of days or tucking (cubed) into the oven for a few minutes.

As for whether or not to freezer, yes, I think that would be fine but I haven't tested it that way so can't say for sure. At minimum, the timing will be affected. But it's also possible that the freezing changes the chemical structure of the beans, breaking down the fiber, and that the 'cooking' process actually starts in the freezer. How's that for the long way of saying, I really don't know? Hope it helps, however!
 
Please would someone tell me what PLANKO is? A type of crumb?

Thanks!
 
Hi Anonymous ~ Good question, I should have mentioned. Panko -- not planko -- is a Japanese bread crumb. It's quite dry and crispy and so makes a great topping for gratins, even fruit crisps. It's not as fine as most commercial bread crumbs. I'm starting to see it in nearly all grocery stores in the States now, even in 'Italian' versions with Italian-style herbs added, others too. Hope this helps! If you can't find panko, just substitute your own bread crumbs using a hearty bread, perhaps drying the pieces in the oven for a few minutes too.
 
My friend made this last year for thanksgiving and it was AMAZING! I crave it all the time!!!
 
I made a half batch of this and did not have enough sauce to submerge the beans. Is the flour amount right? It turned out thick, sauce is very tasty.
 
Anonymous ~ Hmm, yes the flour amount is right, I've made this many times, as you can see, so have others. It does have "less sauce" than you're maybe used to with canned mushroom soup but still, shouldn't be thick. If it were me, I'd work milk into the sauce until you have a mixture than can be stirred into the beans.
 

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna