In a couple years, the classic green bean casserole will celebrate its 70th anniversary.
A casserole with an anniversary? You bet. In 1955, Dorcas Reilly of the Campbell’s soup company developed the classic dish using what they knew Americans had on hand: green beans and soup. According to Campbell’s, more than 30 million households per year make green bean casserole.
A healthy twist on the classic dish
“Though it’s popular and loved, green bean casserole could use some nutritional modification, as with most holiday recipes,” said Jennifer Yelczyn, a registered dietitian with Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam.
Traditionally, the dish is high in fat and sodium, neither of which is friendly to your heart.
Classic Green Bean Casserole serves up 232 calories, 9 g fat and 624 mg sodium, among other not-so-heart-healthy numbers.
“By swapping in heart-healthy ingredients, like fresh onion over French fried onions and low-sodium soup over regular, you save yourself calories and sodium,” Yelczyn said.
We’ve adapted one of American Heart Association’s recipes to provide a heart-healthy casserole option below.
If you feel overwhelmed during your holiday meal-making by preparing your own onion strips to top your healthy green bean casserole, you might consider pre-sliced almonds or crushed salad croutons. Almonds add heart-healthy fats, and two tablespoons of croutons are only about 20 calories depending on which brand you choose. These options can save you time and are still nutritious.
Green bean casserole is a good source of vitamin A, with 12% of our daily needs as well as vitamin C, with a hefty 21% of our daily needs.
“So, remember, just because a dish is high in calories, does not mean it’s not a nutritional option. We have to consider nutritional value as a whole, not just the calories, fat, and sodium,” Yelczyn said.
Healthy Green Bean Casserole
Time: Approximately 45 minutes
- 1 pound frozen green beans (French cut is best), thawed
- 10.5 ounces canned, reduced-fat, low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 small onion (cut into thin strips)
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, combine green beans, soup, sour cream and pepper. Stir until well mixed and bake for 20 minutes.
While the casserole bakes, spread out onion sticks and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Sprinkle flour over onion pieces, tossing to coat equally.
Spray a medium-large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until crispy, stirring occasionally.
Remove casserole from oven, add ½ onions and stir well.
Top with remaining half and return to oven. Bake 5 minutes.
Onion alternatives: Substitute onion topping with thinly sliced almonds or crushed salad croutons for more crunch. If you miss the onion flavor with these alternatives, add diced onions to your soup mix.
Each serving contains approximately 77 calories, 2.0 g fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 138 mg sodium, 401 mg potassium, 12 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 3.2 g sugars, 3 g protein, 80 mg calcium
Source: Recipe adapted from American Heart Association