Thanksgiving Green Beans, Minus the Mushroom Soup


A traditional green bean casserole reimagined for a modern Thanksgiving feast. photo: Nancy Duran

For those of you who don’t yet have your Thanksgiving menu nailed down, here’s one more recipe before the big day. This is my modern take on the old school green bean casserole. Mind you, I struggled with whether I should publish this recipe or not. Green beans in the northeast of the United States are not exactly seasonal food in late November. However, I figured quite of few of you would be facing the canned soup variety of this recipe and I thought it a bit of a public service to put this out there as an alternative.

In place of the more ungainly green bean, I use haricots verts that are lightly blanched and plunged in an ice bath to keep them bright green and snappy. I cook the mushrooms with shallots and white wine so that they create an earthy vegetable broth (the soup in this version). And then I finish the whole lot off with an abundance of fresh herbs, a dusting of Parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It’s light and fresh and the perfect complement to all the heavier sides on the Thanksgiving table. Happy Thanksgiving!

Serves 8

1 1/2 pounds haricots verts, stem ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (from about 1 large shallot)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely sliced fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly squeezed lemon, for serving

  1. First prepare an ice bath for the haricots verts. Fill a large bowl with a generous scoop of ice cubes then pour in cold water to make a slurry.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the haricots verts for 3-4 minutes, until just tender. Drain and immediately plunge the beans into the ice bath to stop them from overcooking. When the haricots verts have cooled down, remove them from the ice bath and dry on clean dish towels. (This step can be done as early as a day in advance. Be sure to bring the haricots verts to room temperature before cooking the mushrooms.)
  3. In the same large pot, heat the olive oil with 1 tablespoon of the butter over low heat. When the butter has melted, add the shallots. Cook, stirring and without coloring them, for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  4. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter along with the thyme leaves. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms. Stir to coat all over with the butter then cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Uncover the mushrooms and continue to cook 2 more minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the wine and cook for about 3 minutes, until the alcohol has cooked off. You should still have plenty of “broth” from the liquid in the mushrooms and the wine.
  6. Add the haricots verts to the pot and stir to coat and warm (do this for no more than 1 minute so that they don’t overcook).
  7. Remove from the heat and season generously and to taste with the salt and pepper. Stir in the basil and parsley. Transfer to a serving tray and sprinkle with Parmesan and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Nutritional analysis based on 8 servings (does not include salt, pepper, and lemon juice):
Calories 133, Fat 8g, Sodium 74mg, Carbohydrate 11g, Fiber 4g, Sugar 2g, Protein 5g

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