Green bean casserole

Green bean casserole. (© Neural Showroom - stock.adobe.com)

A good green bean casserole is often an irresistible combination of savory flavors that tantalize the palate. Crisp fresh green beans, velvety mushroom sauce, and a crunchy onion topping are the most typical hallmarks of this iconic Thanksgiving dinner favorite. The most traditional versions of this classic casserole often have far too much fat, sodium, and overall calories. We took a look at some of the most popular online cooking experts to the best heart-healthy green bean casserole recipes.

It’s no wonder that green bean casserole is a must-have on Thanksgiving dinner tables. According to one survey, green beans rank among the top five vegetables for Americans. That might be because they’re also one of the easiest vegetables to grow, making them a staple in backyard gardens.

Green beans contain folate and potassium, two nutrients linked to better heart health. Folate helps to reduce homocysteine levels, an amino acid that can damage blood vessels. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure. They’re also high in fiber, which can improve digestion and also help to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. While cholesterol is beneficial in moderation and essential for normal cellular function, too much of it can build up in arteries and eventually cause cardiovascular disease. This is why LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.

Green beans are a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been linked to a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why green bean casserole can be both a delicious and healthy addition to your dinner plate. But the recipe you follow might actually negate some of these health benefits depending on the ingredients. Are you curious how this sinfully rich-tasting dish can be transformed into something healthy? Then look no further! As promised, we present to you our selection of popular heart-healthy green bean casserole recipes. Let us know your favorite recipe twists to make a healthy green bean casserole in the comments below.

The List: Best Heart-Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipes

sliced green vegetables
Green beans Photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash

1. Green Bean Casserole Recipe From The American Heart Association

“Check out this favorite Thanksgiving holiday classic,” writes The American Heart Association. “It’s a perfect side dish to the turkey and mashed potatoes… American Heart Association recipes are developed or reviewed by nutrition experts and meet specific, science-based dietary guidelines and recipe criteria for a healthy dietary pattern.”

Key heart health ingredients:

  • frozen green beans
  • low-fat sour cream
  • onion
  • whole-wheat flour

“Some recipes may be suitable for people who are managing diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and/or other conditions or seeking low-sodium, low-fat, low-sugar, low-cholesterol or low-calories recipes,” adds AHA.

Click here for the full recipe.

2. Healthy Green Bean Casserole From a sweet pea chef

“This Thanksgiving, make this Healthy Green Bean Casserole from scratch and wow your guests and your tastebuds! Let me show you how to make green bean casserole healthier by just replacing a few simple ingredients,” raves Lacey Baier from a sweet pea chef.

Key heart health ingredients:

  • fresh green beans
  • olive oil
  • onion
  • almond meal
  • mushrooms
  • garlic, minced
  • chickpea flour
  • low sodium chicken broth
  • unsweetened almond milk

“To make the onions crispy, I toast almond meal until it’s lightly toasted and then I mix it with the sautéed onions, parmesan, and sea salt. In other words: immense yumminess.This easily replaces the fried, canned, crispy onions and reduces the fat and salt immensely,” says Baier. “To make the mushroom sauce from scratch, I sautéed mushrooms and garlic and then make a cream sauce by basically combining chickpea flour and some unsweetened almond milk. No canned cream of mushroom, here!”

Click here for the full recipe.

3. Dairy + Gluten Free Green Bean Casserole From The Roasted Root

Julia Mueller from The Roasted Root doesn’t hold back her excitement about her recipe. “Healthy Green Bean Casserole made dairy-free and gluten-free is a marvelously flavorful side dish perfect for any gathering! This healthier keto green bean casserole recipe is fun to assemble and is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Low-carb, creamy and delicious!”

Key heart health ingredients:

  • avocado oil
  • onion
  • almond flour
  • baby bella mushrooms
  • garlic
  • coconut milk
  • fresh green beans

“While this healthy green bean casserole is more involved than most of the recipes I post,” she continues, “the way I see it is we typically make a dish like this for a special occasion and special occasions call for special food. Let me tell you, this casserole is AMAZING! It is well worth the time and effort, is much healthier than classic green bean casserole, and will most definitely wow your guests!”

Click here for the full recipe.

4. Heart-Healthy Green Bean Casserole From Shine365

Sometimes, the key to eating better is simply knowing the nutrition facts about the foods you’re eating. Do you know the numbers when it comes to a typical serving of old-fashioned green bean casserole? “Traditionally, the dish is high in fat and sodium, neither of which is friendly to your heart,” says Shine365. “Classic Green Bean Casserole serves up 227 calories, 15.4 g fat and 624 mg sodium, among other not-so-heart-healthy numbers.”

Key heart health ingredients:

  • frozen green beans
  • reduced-fat, low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • low-fat sour cream
  • almonds (optional)

“Though it’s popular and loved, green bean casserole could use some modifying nutritionally, as with most holiday recipes,” says Brittany Powelson, a registered dietitian with Marshfield Clinic, the health agency behind Shine365. “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.”

Click here for the full recipe.

5. Reduced Sodium Green Bean Casserole From Everyday Health

“The [original] recipe, which originated in the test kitchen of the Campbell Soup Company, is served at 20 million Thanksgiving dinners every year. Despite that popularity, it can be a divisive dish. Not everyone loves the texture of canned green beans baked in cream of mushroom soup topped with fried onions, and all those processed ingredients tend to be high in sodium, too,” notes Everyday Health.

Key heart health ingredients:

  • onion
  • olive oil
  • green bean
  • garlic
  • low-sodium vegetable broth
  • low-fat milk
  • low-fat Greek yogurt

“To upgrade your casserole, use fresh green beans instead of canned. This not only improves the texture of your dish, but also significantly reduces the amount of sodium, according to data from the USDA,” expresses Everyday health.

Click here for the full recipe.

Other recipes for your consideration:

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How To Enjoy Thanksgiving Without Compromising Your Health

By following these tips, you can enjoy a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving dinner without overdoing it:

  • Start with a healthy breakfast. This will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day, making it less likely that you’ll overindulge at dinner.
  • Choose lean protein sources. Turkey, particularly breast meat, is a great choice for Thanksgiving dinner, as it is a good source of lean protein and other nutrients. Avoid eating the skin, as it is high in fat.
  • Go easy on the carbs. Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet, but they can also be high in calories. Try to limit your intake of starchy carbohydrates like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and bread.
  • Be mindful of your portions. It’s easy to overeat on Thanksgiving, especially when there’s so much delicious food available. Try to use smaller plates and serve yourself smaller portions. You can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.
  • Take your time eating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full. Eat slowly and savor each bite.This will help you to avoid overeating.
  • Don’t feel guilty about enjoying a treat. Thanksgiving is a special occasion, so it’s okay to enjoy a treat or two. Just make sure to do so in moderation.

If you have your own healthy green bean casserole recipe you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below!

About Alan Corona

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