The Green Bean Casserole Chronicles


Disclaimer: This post is a NOT a sponsored post, nor did the Green Bean Casserole Council of America request that I write this post. I just have too much time on my hands.

Let’s start with the basics here…if you don’t know, green bean casserole is a mushy mushnick of a dish that is served typically with the Thanksgiving meal. You open a can of Campbells Cream o’Mushroom Soup, mix it with some frozen green beans, add a boatload of crispy fried canned onions and bake until gloriously mushy and amazing. There really is no in between here, you either love the casserole or you hate it.

Much to my mother (and husband’s) disdain, I love this casserole.

Every year my mother would conjur up delicious unique Thanksgiving dishes. All homemade and lovingly prepared with freshly pressed sage and pumpkin spice from scratch. Then one year a family member introduced us to green bean casserole. The rest is history. Every year this casserole graces our tables whether the host likes it or not.

You can imagine my excitement to hear that I will be hosting our very own Thanksgivng meal this year at our very own house (WITH GUESTS!). After 37 years of having people host and prepare this feast, I have the honors of playing Martha Stewart. And since I just have way too much time on my hands, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity try out different green bean casserole recipes. Go no further on the interwebs searching for the best recipe. I’ve experimented and made my family try two very different casseroles… all in one week. Poor souls.

I decided to try out a completely homemade from scratch recipe and a recipe using only Trader Joes ingredients (no TJ’s did not sponsor this either…but I’m always looking for side writing jobs if you’re hiring? Hello? TJ’s? Are you listening). Ahem.


Deb Perlman, of Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food bloggers, just so happens to have made this recipe from entirely homemade ingredients. You know those French fried onion strings? Yeah, you make those from scratch. They were incredible. Unfortunately I ate almost half of them before they made it into the dish. That. Good. You make your own mushroom sauce, and use fresh green beans. You can find her recipe here.

hpr green been casserole 2

THE VERDICT: Flavor wise, it was delicious. The mushroom sauce was reminiscent of canned condensed soup but without the added crap, and the homemade onion strings were divine as witnessed by the picture posted above. The freshly picked and then steamed green beans were the hang up. They were just too crisp and fresh. It’s autumn…the trees are barren, the grass is shriveling…I want my green beans to taste like decay. I want them mushier and not reminiscent of frolicking thru garden picking them in my best summer dress. On to the next recipe option.


You can buy the canned fried onions, condensed cream of portabella mushroom soup, and frozen haricot verts right in the store. One stop shopping. Look at the back of the onion can and follow the directions exactly. I was excited about this recipe. I was excited that it used all ingredients that mimicked the original, but these ingredients looked a little “healthier” and more interesting in flavor profile. This recipe even called for adding swiss cheese to the casserole. Cheese? In a casserole? Don’t mind if I do.

green bean casserole, trader joes

THE VERDICT: this is the closest version to the original dish that exists out there. The green beans, because they were previously frozen, were appropriately mushy and the portabella cream soup was really lovely without tasting fake. Plus the recipe has additional sautéed mushrooms. A real winner…except…for the cheese! No! Say it’s not true? How could cheese detract from the deliciousness of the dish? It does. It’s like gilding the lily. It’s just too much. If you make this recipe, ignore the cheese part. Sorry Trader Joes, I know you want to set yourself apart from the original, but it doesn’t make the cut.

So what will I be making next week for Thanksgiving?

Hold on to your hats…I’m doing a mash-up between the two. I know…why do I have to make things so damn complicated? I’m going to follow Smitten Kitchen’s recipe exactly, except I will use Trader Joes frozen haricot verts. I like that mushy mushnik mess combined with homemade love.

What will you make this year?



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Heather Polifka-Rivas
Heather is originally from upstate New York but her family returned to Vermont 4 years ago. They have lived in NYC and Chicago the past 10+ years and are happy to be back in Vermont. Heather's previous jobs as a starving actor in NYC, package design guru at Estee Lauder, and advisor to fortune 500 companies at Chicago’s top business school have not prepared her for her current job today: stay at home mom to Henry (7) and Ruby (3). A self proclaimed foodie, Heather spends her "many" hours of free time preparing elaborate meals, eating out, tending to her garden, canning it's bounty and willing her one tapped maple tree to weep more sap. She is also a mother runner.


  1. I heard of these crispy onions that you made and they have been on my mind at random times since. That sounds amazing. Well, minus the rest of the ingredients, because, I just can’t get behind green bean casserole. But the fried onions…. Just that.

  2. I got a kick out of this because I too LOVE this casserole! It is the one dish I am bringing to my gathering. I, like you, have also tried from-scratch recipes and agree that the beans are far too al dente for this cassie 😉 And I also, like you, ate most of the delicious freshly fried shallots! YUMMY!! But I did not like the way me or my house smelled after frying them :/ But I am always on the quest for a MUCH healthier version as I refuse to purchase the traditional ingredients! My Gram specifically told me not to do the from-scratch kind because “it is too much work” which her way of saying “I didn’t like it.” So this year, now that I know TJ’s has the ingredients, I will make that version!! I was going grocery shopping after work tonight for the ingredients so this post was perfect timing!! THANK YOU!


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