OK, Thanksgiving dinner is not a meal my family really wants me to “healthify”…but some things on the traditional menu (in their traditional state) just aren’t worth the fat and calories, IMHO.  For me, one of the traditional dishes that just doesn’t make the cut is Green Bean Casserole.  (I know, collective gasp!)

While I have tried several recipes that pay homage to the traditional casserole while eliminating much of the extras I don’t want, this recipe is one that stands out.

Note:  I have a family member that cannot eat nuts, so I serve the nuts on the side allowing my family and guests to sprinkle them atop the green beans to their heart’s content.

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Hazelnuts 

(Recipe serves 12, I like to make extra nuts to serve)

3 pounds green beans, trimmed


2 shallots, sliced thinly

10 ounces mushrooms (I prefer Portobello), sliced

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp salt (or less, to taste)

1/4 tsp black pepper (don’t be afraid of it!)

1/3 C hazelnuts (or your choice), toasted and chopped

Steam green beans just until tender (color should remain vibrant and beans should not be limp), approximately 10 minutes.  Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until clear and soft-about 3 – 4 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook, letting liquid evaporate and mushrooms begin to brown, approximately 5 minutes, depending on your choice of mushrooms.  Add beans, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat beans.  Serve either sprinkled with nuts on top, or separately.

Do Ahead Tip:  Chop and toast the nuts several days ahead of time.  Store in an airtight container.  Prepare the green beans earlier in the day and allow to sit at room temperature.  Finish the recipe just ahead of serving (the warm shallots and oil will warm the beans back up–or you may choose to warm slightly in the microwave prior to adding the shallot mixture).

Here is how this version stacks up to traditional green bean casserole recipes (all values are approximate):

 Traditional This Recipe
Calories 148 79
 Fat 8 g 3 g
 Sodium 431 g 102 g
 Carbs 17 g 11 g
 Fiber 3 g 4 g


Bon Appetit!