Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

Is green bean casserole a holiday tradition for you?  It sure is for my husband, Dave.

That’s the one thing he requests every year for Thanksgiving, Christmas, his birthday, our anniversary, even Valentine’s Day!

When we began cruising in Mexico, I discovered that I had a problem:  I couldn’t find Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup or French-Fried Onions.  What was I going to do??

Thinking about it, I realized that the Cream of Mushroom soup is really just a very thick white sauce with mushrooms added in.  And while I couldn’t exactly re-create the French Fried Onions, I could carmelize some for flavor and then add some slivered almonds or ramen noodle crumbles for crunch.

Dave was delighted with the result.  And now that he’s developed a milk allergy, I use a few alternate ingredients and it still works out.  And two years ago, when we were living temporarily in a motel room with a “kitchenette” without an oven, I even did the whole thing on the stovetop.

Was it exactly the same?  No.  But was it close enough to be comfort food?  Absolutely.

Here’s how I did it, with lots of “variations” depending on what you do or don’t have available.

Green Bean Casserole From Scratch

Serves 6 to 8

4 tablespoons butter OR margarine OR canola oil OR vegetable oil

4 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon powder OR 1 bouillon cube OR 1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups milk OR evaporated milk OR cream OR soymilk

1 large can mushrooms OR 2 small cans OR 1 to 2 cups fresh mushrooms

3 cans green beans (cut, whole, French-cut — can even be yellow!) OR 4 to 5 cups fresh green beans

1 can French-friend onions OR 1 cup sliced and quartered onion plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Optional:  1/4 cup almonds, slivered or roughly chopped and/or 1/2 cup uncooked Ramen noodles, crushed (plain — no spice packet or mix)

Prepare the onions:

If you don’t have French-fried onions, begin by carmelizing the onions in the butter over medium heat.  To carmelize, heat butter over medium heat, add the onions and let them cook until golden brown, stirring very rarely — they won’t carmelize if you stir too often.  The onions can be carmelizing while you’re preparing the rest of the dish — just keep an eye on it every so often to make sure they’re not burning!

Prepare the “mushroom soup:”

Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then stir in the flour and bouillon powder.  Very slowly add the milk, stirring constantly so that lumps don’t form.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, continuing to stir constantly.  Let boil for about 3 minutes, until very thick.

Drain the mushrooms and stir them in (if using fresh mushrooms, you may want to roughly chop them depending on how large they are).  NOTE:  I like to reserve the liquid for use in other cooking (ditto for the green bean liquid).

Prepare the casserole (if baking in an oven — stovetop directions below):

Preheat oven to 350.  NOTE:  If you are baking something else at the same time, the casserole is okay at almost any temperature — you may just need to adjust the time a little.

If using fresh green beans, steam or cook  in a little water so that they are about half done.

Drain green beans and place in a baking dish — a casserole or bread pan works well, but you can use almost anything.  Mix in the “mushroom soup” and half the onions.

Sprinkle the remaining onions over the top, then add the almonds and/or ramen noodles if using.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 30 minutes.

Stovetop directions:

If using fresh green beans, steam or cook  in a little water so that they are about half done.

Drain the beans and add to the saucepan with the “mushroom soup.”  Add the onions and mix together.  Cook over medium heat until it just gently boils.  Turn heat to low and cook for a few minutes, until beans are thoroughly heated through.

If serving in a serving bowl, put beans in bowl and top with almonds and/or ramen noodles.

If serving on individual plates, top each serving with almonds and/or ramen noodles.

Want more boat-friendly recipes? Check out The Boat Galley Cookbook with over 800 recipes or get a free PDF sample of it with 30 recipes:


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  • Judiann
    Posted at 09 September 2014 Reply

    Mmmm cant wait to try all these recipes..My Boat Galley cookbook is scheduled to arrive Friday..btw…regarding the French Fried Onions for the green bean casserole…I got a couple 1 1/2 lb bags at Costco..They have a 2 yr shelf life..When we aren’t eating them in a casserole, they are great for just snacking..

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