Healthier Green Bean Casserole

Keeping to the classics but cutting down the calories.

Healthier Green Bean Casserole horizontal

My sister suggested that I put a classic holiday dish up on my blog before Thanksgiving, and since I did Aunt Dorothy’s Holiday Sweet Potatoes last year, she mentioned that I might take a stab at a green bean casserole.

Not gonna lie, this hasn’t been easy. I tried this a number of ways and failed, usually because I’ve been trying so hard to avoid the crispy fried onions. Too bad they’re so darn good, and I really can’t figure out a way to replicate them.

I tried dehydrating onions in the oven. After about 7 to 8 hours of baking at 200 degrees, they were light and crispy, but the moment they touched the soupy casserole, they soaked the moisture right back up and turned to rubbery, chewy weirdness. Ick.

Also, they resulted in horrible tooty-toots (as we call them in our house).

Jack's ready for some green beans!
Jack’s ready for some green beans!

I talked to Shawn about trying to find a crispy friend onion substitute (which is why I’m putting this under “Shawn and Kathleen’s Test Kitchen Recipes”), and he suggested I try something with a crunch and add onion powder.

I went with panko bread crumbs with a touch of light butter, and that works, mostly. Since the casserole is a bit soupy (due to the fact that I use real soup instead of condensed soup), the topping isn’t quite as crispy as I would like. But it does come out delicious.

Here’s what it comes down to. If you really want the crispy fried onions but want to keep the calories down, you can use this recipe and add half the amount of crispy fried onions (⅔ cup) originally called for in French’s classic recipe (1⅓ cup). Keep in mind, you’re adding 18.8 grams of fat (3.1 grams of fat per serving) and 241.9 calories (40.3 calories per serving) that I have not factored into the nutritional facts. Per serving, that’s not that much, but if you’re like me and want to be able to eat a ton of this, then it’ll add up pretty fast. I do include directions for how to add the optional crispy fried onions in my recipe, but I don’t personally think it’s necessary since you do get that onion flavor from the bread crumb topping.

Healthier Green Bean Casserole - 113 calories per serving
Healthier Green Bean Casserole – 113 calories per serving

Yields: 6 servings
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes


1⅓ cup Light and Earthy Cream of Mushroom Soup
⅓ cup fat free evaporated milk
3 Tbsp reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
⅛ tsp black pepper (or to taste)
3 (14.5oz) cans green beans, any style, seasoned with sea salt
½ cup panko bread crumbs (whole wheat, if you can find them)
4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp light butter made with canola oil, melted
⅔ cup crispy fried onions (optional and not included in nutritional facts)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the mushroom soup, evaporated milk, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Pour into a 8×13 casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and onion powder, then drizzle with melted butter. Immediately stir bread crumb mixture to somewhat evenly coat the bread crumbs. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over green beans and bake the casserole for 30 minutes. If using crispy friend onions, remove casserole from oven, sprinkle evenly with crispy fried onions, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Nutrition Facts:

Nutrition Disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist…these are just the calculations I’m pretty sure are close to correct. I use SparkRecipes to generate my information.

Calories: 113.2
Total Fat: 3.2g
Saturated Fat: 0.1g
Cholesterol: 11.3mg
Sodium: 617.2mg
Potassium: 290.4mg
Total Carbohydrate: 16.8g
Dietary Fiber: 2.3g
Sugars: 4.8g
Protein: 5.4g

Dietary Exchange: 1 Starch and 1 Vegetable serving
Jenny Craig: Add 2 Meat servings and you’ve got yourself a meal!
Weight Watchers: 3 Points (using

Healthier Green Bean Casserole with optional crispy fried onions added
Healthier Green Bean Casserole with optional crispy fried onions added

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