A Healthier Green Bean Casserole (Gluten Free Option)

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Green bean casserole in a cast iron pan on a white surface with pumpkins

This healthy green bean casserole uses FRESH fried shallots and a real mushroom sauce, making it an MSG-free version of this favorite Thanksgiving or Christmas dish. With only a little more effort, it’s surprisingly easy to make this dish gluten and dairy free. 

A Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Everyone has that one dish they request every Thanksgiving – mine was always green bean casserole. My favorite was Paula Deen’s recipe with the cream of mushroom soup and French’s fried onions. The epitome of health.

As I got a little older and started experimenting in the kitchen, I found Smitten Kitchen’s/Alton Brown recipe. Deb fries her onions herself because she’s Deb and loves to do stuff like that. At first I thought it was too much work, but the minute I did it, I wondered why I haven’t done this all my life. Were you guys ever big fans of Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion? These fried shallots are kinda like that, but 10x better. Plus the sauce is far more delicious than the MSG-laden canned stuff.

What I love about this recipe is it’s so easy to make adjustments for anyone at your table who might be gluten or dairy free. A gluten free green bean casserole that takes just like the real thing? It’s totally possible!! 

Green Bean Casserole with Fried Shallots

What I love about this healthy green bean casserole recipe, and what makes it migraine-friendly, is the fried shallots instead of onions. Don’t be intimidated by this step! It’s surprisingly easy. I actually make these first thing on Thanksgiving morning just to get them out of the way. They’re SO easy to make ahead and then just leave out on a paper towel until you’re ready to bake the entire dish. This is assuming you don’t have a crazy dad or husband that tries to pick at it throughout the day so you only have 2 fried shallot rings left…

The panko on top adds an extra layer of crispiness!

Close up of green bean casserole topped with panko

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Options for Green Bean Casserole

I’ve made a few different variations of that recipe but this one below is my favorite. If you want to be decadent, you can use heavy cream, but I prefer this lightened up version with whole milk. I use Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour (without malted barley).

It’s also possible to use a dairy substitute if you’re dairy free. Just use olive oil instead of butter and your favorite milk substitute, like Oatly. Make a batch of this broth to have on hand through the week!

To make this gluten free, use arrowroot powder for frying the shallots, corn starch to thicken the sauce, and gluten free panko.

Green bean casserole from scratch! Real fried onions and a homemade sauce make this delicious and MSG free, a healthier alternative for Thanksgiving #thanksgiving #recipes #greenbeancasserole  

For more migraine-friendly Thanksgiving or holiday recipes, see these posts:

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Allergy Friendly Pumpkin Pie Bites
Ricotta & Butternut Squash Toasts
Easy Pumpkin Sage Pasta
Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cranberry Pomegranate Muffins
Stuffing Balls

Healthy Green Bean Casserole (Gluten and Dairy Free Option)
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Frying time
10 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This healthier version of green bean casserole is simple to make and will be a hit at your Thanksgiving! Gluten and dairy-free options available.

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Thanksgiving
Keyword: Casserole, Green Bean, Healthy, Homemade
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 197 kcal
Author: The Dizzy Cook
Fried Shallots
  • 5-6 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour * see notes for GF
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • Canola, safflower, or other high heat oil
  • 2 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour * see notes for GF
  • 1-1/4 cup broth of choice
  • 1/2 cup whole milk or milk substitute
  • 12-16 oz fresh green beans, trimmed
  • kosher salt and pepper
  1. To make the fried onions - In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of flour with a small sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss your cut shallots in the flour and shake excess off. In a cast iron pan, pour enough oil to cover the bottom of your pan about 1/2 inch. Heat over medium high until it sizzles if you flick a bit of water into it.

    Add the floured shallots, in batches if necessary, spread out with enough room so they're not on top of each other, and fry until light golden brown - about 4 minutes. Remember they will cook more in the oven. If they're dark brown, just save them to top at the end. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Drain remaining oil out of the pan. 

  2. Preheat oven to 400° F. Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat until boiling. Toss the green beans in the pot and boil for 1 min and 30 seconds. Immediately remove, drain, and put in an ice water bath (a bowl of ice and water). Drain and pat dry. This process is called parboiling. 

  3. In your cast iron skillet, melt 2 tbsp of butter or oil and add the mushrooms until browned - about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute about a minute more. Then add the 3tbsp of flour (or 2tbsp of cornstarch) and stir to coat the mushrooms. Gradually add in the broth, whisking together until smooth and bubbling, about a minute. Then add in the milk and bring to a steady simmer, stirring for about 5-6 minutes until thick. Add about 1/2 tsp kosher salt and pepper. 

  4. Add the parboiled green beans to the mushroom mixture and toss to coat. Then sprinkle your fried shallots and panko on top. Place in the oven at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, until bubbly and browned on top. 

Recipe Notes
  • Use 2tbsp of cornstarch for a gluten free sauce, and arrowroot or rice flour for the fried shallots
  • I like to use a creamy milk substitute like Oatly for this dish.
  • I bought a pre-washed/cut bag of green beans to make it easy on myself
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Green Bean Casserole (Gluten and Dairy Free Option)
Amount Per Serving (6 oz)
Calories 197 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 18mg6%
Sodium 107mg5%
Potassium 517mg15%
Carbohydrates 28g9%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 811IU16%
Vitamin C 14mg17%
Calcium 84mg8%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Alicia was diagnosed with Chronic Vestibular Migraine in 2016 and has been able to successfully manage her symptoms through medication, supplements, lifestyle changes, and the Heal Your Headache Diet by Dr. David Buchholz from Johns Hopkins. She's the owner of The Dizzy Cook.

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