A Cozy Thanksgiving: Savory French Green Bean Casserole, Hold the Cans!

Green Bean Casserole

I suspect that it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day without the classic green bean casserole as part of the festivities, now would it?

Green bean casserole is a familiar character in the pageantry of Turkey Day, a staple representative of good ol’ comforting Americana-style food.

The recipe for green bean casserole really hasn’t changed since the 50’s; it still calls for green beans out of the can, mushroom soup out of the can, and crispy fried onions—you guessed it—out of the can.

And though I’ll admit that I tend to be a predominantly whole-foods-based purist (always with a few exceptions, but of course!), I fell really hard for this particular little morsel of a casserole ever since my husband and I have been together, and he took on the role of making the classic “out of a can” recipe, each and every year for Thanksgiving.

Truly, it is delicious!

That being said, I’m of the mindset that there’s a way to capture those wonderfully creamy and savory flavors of this warm and cozy dish, all without using a single can, and even jazz it up a touch, to boot. Ya dare me?

Green Bean Casserole | thecozyapron.com

Green Bean Casserole | thecozyapron.com

Though I would never ever dream of arguing with anyone that the taste of the classic green bean casserole is absolutely amazing (I’ve been known to stuff myself on it, and fight my husband for the last bit of it), I tend to always come back to the idea that if a dish can be replicated using whole foods, and be made to have the same scrumptiousness as the original, except using from-scratch and whole ingredients you can feel good about eating, then that’s even better.

Using “Haricots Verts”, or thin, French-style fresh green beans, and making a creamy, herb-infused parmesan-mushroom sauce from scratch to bathe them in, can make a convert out of even the most adamant “classic” green bean casserole connoisseurs.

Top the whole thing off with home-made, seasoned crispy-fried onions, and you have a really happy crowd on your hands.

Green Bean Casserole | thecozyapron.com

Savory green bean casserole is a must for the much-anticipated Thanksgiving holiday; without it, something special would truly be missing. If you’re wanting the deep flavors and the creamy, saucy-ness of the traditional, but with a modernized style with a slight twist, and whole-food based ingredients, then this little goody is all yours to enjoy with your loved ones. And you’ll even be able to gleefully say, “Look Ma, no cans!”

(Sorry. That was cheesy.)

Taste what’s good and pass it on.


{ 29 comments… add one }

  • tamara November 14, 2012, 1:10 am

    This probably tastes better but it is way too much work, especially on Thanksgiving.

    • The Cozy Apron November 14, 2012, 7:50 pm

      Hi Tamara, I understand not wanting “extra” work on Thanksgiving Day, completely; however, the reason I really wanted to share this recipe is because it is actually perfect for prepping the individual components ahead of time (even 3 or 4 days ahead and keeping in fridge) and then simply combining everything in a casserole dish on T-Day, and baking. The flavor and texture far exceeds the “canned” version – well worth the extra elbow grease, especially since you really don’t have to do all the work the day of.

  • Peggy November 14, 2012, 12:02 pm

    The green bean casserole is always my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I made it sans-can a few years ago, and have been making it that way ever since! Definitely will have to try this succulent version too =)

    • The Cozy Apron November 14, 2012, 5:22 pm

      Peggy, that’s great – and I promise you, you won’t be sorry!

  • Jenny November 16, 2012, 1:15 am

    Not celebrating Thanksgiving, I’ve never heard of this dish before – but it sounds amazing!

    • The Cozy Apron November 16, 2012, 6:29 am

      Hi Jenny, truth be told, I’d make this dish whether it was T-Day or not, it’s that tasty.

  • Gini November 16, 2012, 8:47 am

    Can you use something else besides chicken stock? Im cooking for some vegetarians!

    • The Cozy Apron November 16, 2012, 4:35 pm

      Hi Gini, absolutely! The brand that I mentioned that I use also makes a delicious, all-natural “no-chicken” base, as well as veggie base. Just sub out a veggie stock, and you’re great to go!

  • Bridget November 18, 2012, 11:32 am

    It is my first Thanksgiving as a married lady and we are hosting my in-laws. My parents are out of town for the holiday and so it is my first time really cooking by myself for my husband’s family. I can not wait to make this recipe! I just know I will impress my mother-in-law…as long as I pull it off!!

    • The Cozy Apron November 18, 2012, 4:01 pm

      You’ll pull it off beautifully, Bridget! Just add lots of love, and you can’t go wrong.

  • selle November 18, 2012, 11:37 am


    I made these last night for an early celebration for Thanksgiving and it turned out fantastic!!

    • The Cozy Apron November 18, 2012, 4:02 pm

      Hi Selle, so thrilled that you tried this out and enjoyed the recipe! Hard to beat homemade, isn’t it?

  • kathryn November 20, 2012, 3:54 pm

    hi! this looks absolutely fabulous and i’ve basically been chomping at the bit to make it for thursday! just wondering, how big of a casserole dish do you think i’d need, in terms of size? would 2 quarts be enough?

    i’ll report back on my results! haha (:

    • The Cozy Apron November 20, 2012, 4:20 pm

      Hi Kathryn, that sounds about right – I used a baking dish that was about 12x9x2. What I would say is that I’d always rather go bigger than not big enough, if you’re not sure; better to have a little room at the top than not enough room and spillage! I truly hope you enjoy this dish, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Stephanie November 21, 2012, 10:39 am

    I am so excited for this! I looked at several sans cans recipes, but this one is the winner. Thanks for sharing! I hope the non-foody in-laws appreciate it. If not, I know I will :0)

    • The Cozy Apron November 21, 2012, 3:09 pm

      Hi Stephanie, so glad this’ll be your recipe choice! I know you’ll thoroughly enjoy this, and rest assured that this casserole has even more “oomph” and savor than even the canned version (I made sure of it), so I think even your non-foodie in-laws will have happy bellies. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Noreen November 23, 2012, 1:09 pm

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HIT! Delicious recipe and well worth the little bit of extra work…though it was easy to make ahead and then just warm up. Thank you!

    • The Cozy Apron November 23, 2012, 2:13 pm

      Thank you so much for coming back to share with me your experience with the recipe, Noreen – so glad it was a hit! Also, it’s good that you took the tip about making it ahead; it makes a difference, doesn’t it?

  • crystal December 23, 2012, 7:44 am

    Glad you posted this. We are gluten free and I am planning to make my own french fried onions for my casserole for christmas day. I persoanlly think this is what makes thanksgiving and christmas food more special….it’s lil extra work and a big pay off.

    • The Cozy Apron December 23, 2012, 10:24 am

      Hi Crystal, so very eloquently put. I truly hope you all enjoy this recipe – Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Christine Hart November 24, 2013, 10:48 am

    A silly question.. does this taste like the original “can” recipe? I have a large family, and they are usually hesitant to try anything “new” especially around the holidays! Thanks!

    • The Cozy Apron November 24, 2013, 3:59 pm

      Hi Christine, I love your question, because it’s a really honest one! :-) All I can tell you is that my husband and I love the flavor of this from-scratch version much more than the canned – and he’d been making the canned for years in the past. In my opinion, you just can’t beat the intense flavors of fresh ingredients and good seasoning. So though you know your family best, I feel absolutely confident that the taste of this side dish is scrumptious. And hey, perhaps you could just serve it without mentioning that it’s a little different or “new” – wait until after they eat it to share that!

  • Sheryl November 27, 2013, 12:00 pm

    This looked so great, I am doing this year. Making all the seperate components today (day before Thanksgiving) and I will finish it off tomorrow. The sauce is fantastic….can’t wait to bake it off tomorrow. As to any comments about it being too time consuming, well good things take time!

    • The Cozy Apron November 27, 2013, 3:47 pm

      Hi Sheryl! I absolutely loved the last line of your comment, and am glad that you, as a reader (and preparer of the recipe), said that! There definitely is a difference in taste/texture with this homemade version. And the fact that you’re making the components ahead of time is really ideal. Hope you and your family enjoy this recipe tomorrow, and please have a wonderful, joyous and delicious Thanksgiving!!

  • Rebecca December 25, 2013, 11:46 am

    I’m trying this out this afternoon for our big Christmas feast tonight and I am soooo excited! I’ll report back how it turned out :)

  • Kirstin December 28, 2013, 9:48 am

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a HUGE hit, even amongst those who don’t like green bean casserole. it was hard not to eat all the onions before they made it to the casserole and I’ve used the mushroom sauce in my tuna casserole and it sure kicked it up a notch! I’m sharing about it on my blog today. I am linking back to your blog and this recipe. I really enjoy your blog.

    • The Cozy Apron December 28, 2013, 2:42 pm

      Well thanks for that, Kirstin – I appreciate it! Glad to read that even the not-so-big-fans of green bean casserole enjoyed it, and that the sauce has been of good use in other dishes! Thank you for your kind comments and readership.

  • Katie November 21, 2015, 5:22 pm

    May I use the French’s already prepared friend onions instead?

    • The Cozy Apron November 22, 2015, 11:09 am

      Katie, you sure can! The recipe for the crispy onions is there, more or less, to keep this completely “can-free” and from-scratch; but if it helps out for time purposes, by all means, use the prepared ones. :-)

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