Un-Gross Green Beans

November 20, 2011

Okay, I realize that I’m going to alienate some of you delightful readers with this statement, but I’ve just got to put it out there. Please forgive me.

*Ahem. * To those of you who serve and eat that green bean casserole during the holidays: what the Hell are you thinking?

That concoction is side dish purgatory.  Green bean casserole is where the naughty green beans go to die.

For starters, the original recipe calls for canned green beans, which already counts as heresy.  Nobody willingly eats canned green beans. Nobody. Even when cloaked in white goopy sauce.

And let’s talk about that sauce, shall we? That “sauce” is diluted cream of mushroom soup. I haven’t met a single soul who eats canned cream of mushroom soup as it’s meant to be eaten in its original form. I’m serious. I’ve never witnessed a person tucking into a big, steaming bowl of canned cream of mushroom soup. Or it’s suspicious and shady cousin, cream of celery.

I think the Campbell’s soup company invented green bean casserole just so a handful of human beings would actually purchase that line of product. It’s casserole conspiracy, I’m tellin’ you.

Dim the Lights, Cue the Action:

Seven Campbell’s executives sit in a meeting room, hunched over spec sheets, ashtrays by elbows, scratching their heads.

“The tomato bisque and the chicken noodle are selling like hotcakes.  The vegetable beef and chicken with rice, well–they’re holding their own.  But the cream ones are problematic…they’re just sittin’ on the shelves, not moving. Why aren’t they moving?  We need to sell some cream soup boys, or our bottom line’s in the dust.”

The executives arrive home, briefcases and hats in hand, sit down to dinner and discuss the matter with apron-clad wives.

“You’re women,” they sigh over plates of pot roast and pork chops. “You know these things. You do the shopping.  So tell us, why aren’t you gals buying the cream soups? How can we get you to buy the cream soups?”

The women cluck tongues and clear the dishes and think on it a while, and maybe they worry about the little one, the veggie-averse one, and wonder how can they get him to ingest green beans, or any vegetable besides corn for that matter.  Maybe they smoke an after dinner cigarette, drink a cup of coffee and call their friend Brenda, to see what she thinks.

Maybe Brenda can’t get her little one to eat green beans, either. Maybe Brenda can’t talk long because she has her own troubles; her husband works for the French’s company and they can’t move those french-fried, dried onions to save their lives. Why won’t people buy the fried onions? Fried onions are delicious, right?

Maybe the wives and Brendas have trouble sleeping, thinking about these troubles, and maybe in the morning they plug the percolator in, spoon coffee grounds, think some more.

And voila!, gentle readers, green bean casserole is born. Casserole conspiracy, I tell ya.

Cue Lights in the House

Hmph. Like most conspiracies, this one is faulty.  On paper, the plan makes sense, but it falters in execution.  In the end, someone dies an untimely, innocent death.

In this case, it’s your ass.

And your tastebuds.

And the asses and tastebuds of those nearest and dearest to you at your holiday table.

‘Tis a sad, sad fate for the asses of the world at holiday time.

Readers! Wake up! That casserole is SO not worth the collateral damage. Save the Ass!

Give your ass and the asses of your loved ones a big gift this year: forgo the green bean casserole. They will thank you.

My suggestion? Replace it with this. The Un-gross Green Bean Dish. Now don’t pout at me, young lady; it doesn’t become you.

Besides, even though I’ve given you recipes for juice and kale recently, I am not going to steer you South here. This dish is still flavorful and adorned with bits of things decadent enough to scream, “Holidays!”

But those decadent tastes are bits, not white spackle. Not blankets deep-fried, dehydrated, crud. This dish is still plenty healthy and fresh, but it’s special enough to serve to people you love.

Un-Gross Green Bean Dish

serves 4  (can easily be doubled or tripled)

1 pound very small, thin green beans (hairicot verts), fresh or frozen*, ends snapped off (or if frozen, don’t freaking bother)

5-6  strips center-cut bacon, preferably Applewood smoked

1 medium onion, grated or minced

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup toasted nuts–I like almonds or pecans, but hazelnuts are lovely, too

Fry bacon in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Crumble.

Add the onions to the bacon fat (you should only have about a tablespoon of fat if you use the center-cut kind of bacon; if you have more, pour off the residual until you have just a tablespoon). Saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Meanwhile, cook the haricot verts in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain and place immediately into a bowl of water with ice. This “shocks” the beans; they’ll remain bright green and crisp.  After a few minutes in the ice jacuzzi, drain and pat dry.

Add the shocked beans to the skillet with the onions and garlic; season with salt and pepper. If the mixture seems dry, add a splash of white wine or chicken stock, stirring to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat and top with the parsley, the crisp bacon and the toasted nuts.



{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Lee November 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I hope you FEEL cherished. . . because you are.

We don’t do the green bean casseroles around here. My son goes into a funk if we don’t have some okra/butterbean/corn/tomato/bacon thing that we love, but I’m pretty sure YOU wouldn’t ask for seconds. Thankfully, my daughter volunteered to make it this year. Heck, when you’ve got that many vegetables in one dish, why bother with anything else? Okay, sweet potatoes. Or, as the grandsons prefer to think of it, the marshmallows with some orange-colored stuff stuck to it.

Happy Thanksgiving. Love you!


TKW November 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Mary Lee,

I love you too, kid.


C @ Kid Things November 20, 2011 at 1:41 pm

My ex one time served us up a bowl of cream of mushroom soup. I looked at him like he was crazy, as I should have. Because cream of mushroom soup can be many things, but it’s not meant to be a meal by itself. I ate it, but I would never do it again.

We don’t do the green bean casserole around here. I think because it doesn’t have enough carbs, as we’re busy stuffing our face with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and dressing. Those your beans look very yummy.


TKW November 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm


You ate it? Seriously? Honey, that is love. We made turkey (the dinner I hate but hey, I ponied up) yesterday and guess who ate a mashed potato/gravy breakfast. Carb queen over here. Gah, the shame.


Jennifer November 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I eat canned green beans. Cold. Straight out of the can.

I totally just lost your respect didn’t I.

BUT, I have never eaten green bean casserole, and I never plan to.


Katybeth November 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I am going to have to stop right here and offer Jennifer some support and respect…I love canned green beans. Cold. Straight out of the can.


TKW November 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Katybeth, Jennifer and Paula,

I love you anyways. But holy fuckity fuck! Really? Can’t you resort to Cheetos or something normal to snack on?


Katybeth November 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Well..I do like Fried onions right out of the can??? Holy fuckity fuck! Love it.


Salad in a Jar November 20, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Me too, Jennifer. Well, I don’t eat them cold but with bacon they’re comfort food especially with macaroni and cheese.

Yes, the green bean casserole will be at our Thanksgiving celebration but I won’t be eating it. I want some of these un-gross beans. Love haricot verts. I often stick a bunch in a little baggie, nuke for about a minute, sprinkle with salt, and then eat them like potato chips right out of the bag with my fingers. YUM!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Dawn November 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

We have a green bean thing we do with bacon and onions and diced tomatoes that is pretty close to this…but we use….wait for it….CANNED green beans?! I never knew there was such a thing as haricot verts…but now I will look for them! :) I think you made a family favorite even better! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Klz November 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

You’re so right. Green bean casserole is loathsome.


TKW November 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm


Where’s my baby? I’m waiting…


Stephane November 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I’m having my own crack-up over here visualizing a new nationwide bumper sticker craze: “Save the Ass”

I’m glad Miss D takes her goofs in stride. And oh-em-gee! that little pilgrim project is a GEM!!!


Katybeth November 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm

No green bean casserole? I love green bean casserole.. Even if I had cut copy and paste the word casserole from your post to spell it correctly. And I always buy an extra can of onions because once the lid is popped…anything is possible. It is so NEAT when the grocery store puts everything together—can’s of green beans, mushroom soup,fried onions…everything all together… organized…screaming out TRADITION….
Which minx made that really cute pilgrim? It’s so cute.


TKW November 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm


That would be the Miss M. minx, who also is cracking up in the photo, although she is getting so tall that nobody believes she’s only in Kindy. This fall, when we took Miss D. to her 4th grade classroom to meet the teacher, he saw Miss M. and thought she was his student—D. is already 5’1. I am dying already.


Meister @ The Nervous Cook November 20, 2011 at 7:06 pm

My ex-girlfriend was a kitchen master at exactly two dishes: green-bean casserole, and the world’s most perfect scrambled eggs. The former was exactly as you’d imagine, with the canned fried onions and the creamy soup and the whole bit. And the latter? I have no idea — she worked some kind of cheesy magic I’ll never understand and never re-create despite years of desperate attempts.

The green-bean casserole, though? I think you just did it one solid better.


TKW November 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm


Is this why she’s an ex? ;)


Heather November 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Does it still make me bad if I make green bean casserole using frozen green beans (cuz’ the fresh ones suck this time of the year) AND make my own cream of mushroom using primo baby bellas and making a roux with spice and flavor??? Ok, I do still dive into the dreaded fried onions. Those things are like freakin’ crack! I’ve tried to change the green bean dish, really I have. The family just isn’t having it!


Chiara @ The Wandering Cook November 21, 2011 at 3:51 am

I thought my hatred for green been casserole came from the fact that I didn’t grow up with it. When I lived in the U.S. I seriosuly thought I was the only one to despise it, which made me feel kind of a traitor… glad to see that you don’t like it either :)


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes November 21, 2011 at 6:25 am

Ok , so I had to Google that green bean casserole recipe and I am shocked! Someone would willingly eat that!
Yours is better. But I could never ever use frozen harricots vert… my mother would kill me.


Melissa Gay November 21, 2011 at 6:31 am

AMEM! I hate green bean casserole. It is absolutely the most disgusting dish on the holiday table. Every year I hear “what do you mean you don’t like green bean casserole??!” ew ew ew. It is a combo of so many gross ingredients!
Thanks for acknowledging this and explains how this concoction came to be!! Gag.
Also, thanks for a yummy replacement.


Amy Tucker November 21, 2011 at 6:32 am

Shoot me now because oldest dd demands make it, SIL is making a greenbean and pecan dish and I have to also add Green Bean casserole to the mix so dd will be happy. But I have to say it is one of my favorites, but hey you already know I am a huge fan of the casseroles :)


Abby November 21, 2011 at 6:32 am

Being a vegetarian, I’m not so into the bacon aspect of this dish, but HELL YES on the WTF with green bean casserole. Some traditions are a bit, well, antiquated, and that is most certainly one of them. Also, french fried onions are not the food of the gods, people. Get with the times.

So while I eat my green beans raw or lightly steamed on a weekly basis, I will pass this gem of a post on to anyone else who claims to be ready to OD on the damn soupy concoction that I’m pretty sure the Pilgrims would have scoffed at. Amen, sister friend.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon November 21, 2011 at 6:39 am

You are loved and beloved lady. And my devotion to the green bean casserole has everything to do with the crunchy fried onions on top.


SuziCate November 21, 2011 at 6:40 am

I heart you, TKW! This is exactly how I always make green beans for my family…we detest that casserole dish. However, the hubby has requested I make the southern green beans this year, you know the kind with bacon and a sugar and vinegar mix, turns out tart yet swett and has that couthern fattening taste?


idiosyncraticeye November 21, 2011 at 6:49 am

Woah, that dish is a travesty! I think I’d rather have mushroom soup please! Oh and btw, if you guys are meant to be having a celebration dinner isn’t meant to be pull out all the stops, use the best ingredients and actually have something that you like/is edible?! Crazy. Trying to work out how historic tinned food is too! ;)


ellemck1 November 21, 2011 at 6:56 am

Hate the horror of Green Bean Casserole. Thankfully I was born to a wise mama, who despises that terrible casserole even more than I and absolutely will not serve it at her Thanksgiving table. Or her Christmas table. Fresh green beans = yum. Canned = why would you do that to green beans?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! May it be wonderful!


Barbara November 21, 2011 at 7:41 am

What??!! Not serve that ghastly casserole my mother always made?? And with those horrid canned onion rings on top too. :) That generation LOVED that dish.
You are so right. The minute I got off on my own, that recipe was banned from the house. In fact, the memories are so bad, I haven’t once served that vegetable for Thanksgiving….in any form.
I hope you and your family have a lovely Thanksgiving. I give thanks to have friends like you!


Justine November 21, 2011 at 9:12 am

I replaced GBC with BS – Brussels Sprouts that is – and I’m not sure my family thanks me for it but I sure do love it :-)

Hehe, love that concocted origin story. Brenda? Nice touch.

Happy Thanksgiving doll.


Annie November 21, 2011 at 9:52 am

Girl, you crack me up. I love the casserole conspiracy. Happy Thanksgiving!


Jenna November 21, 2011 at 10:29 am

I am SO WITH YOU on the green bean casserole. Canned green beans = food from Ye Pitte. If you know what I mean. On the other hand, fresh green beans (even just uncooked, un-anything) are DIVINE! When my husband first tasted them after growing up on canned, it was a revelation, and he demanded fresh untarnished green beans constantly during our entire first year of marriage.
Anyway, that said, my sister made a dang good green bean casserole last year (not with the canned variety, I’m sure). I’ll have to ask her how she did it, since it’s the only one I’ve ever had that was actually good.


Kristen @ Motherese November 21, 2011 at 11:43 am

Woe to the vegetarian whose only option at some family Thanksgivings is that yucky casserole. Been there, done that too many times. Thumbs down!

My mom – whom I adore – used to make baked chicken and rice slathered in cream of mushroom soup. Wonder why I became a veghead?!

Happy Thanksgiving, my beautiful friend. Much love to you and the family.



TKW November 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm


I think every Mama at some point made that chicken/rice/soup thingy. EWWW.


Donna November 21, 2011 at 11:55 am

I never had green bean casserole until I moved to the USA but must admit that I liked it at first. Now I can’t eat it. And it is really disgusting if you try to reheat it. My biggest peeve though is sweet potato casserole or candied yams. Whatever possessed anyone to add brown sugar and marshmallows to sweet potatoes or yams? They are already delightfully sweet and are delicious served baked with the same additions as baked potatoes.


Cathy November 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Oh my gosh – as soon as I saw that title I knew it was about that nasty dish called green bean casserole. Just the thought of it triggers my gag reflex. It was often a staple of the holiday meals and I have never been more thankful of a tradition I could ditch once I had my own.


Tiffany November 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

My family would kill me if I didn’t make green bean casserole. We all love it! I know, I know. You can hate me now. :P


TKW November 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

I’ll never hate you honey. I know I’m in the minority of haters!


Becky November 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Green bean casserole…. I just gagged thinking about it! That is the WORST dish ever created. I refuse to make it, only fresh or frozen green beans with onions and bacon for us!


Katrina Kenison November 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm

In our house it’s the concoction made with canned mandarin oranges, sour cream, red grapes, and marshmallows that absolutely must be on the table. (In my husband’s family they served it frozen and called it “fruit salad.”) I put it on the we-could-do-without-this list right alongside that green bean casserole, which we at least retired some years ago, along with the creamed onions. Still, some traditions are hard to stamp out. Thanks for the alternative — bet it’s even good without the bacon. So glad to be receiving your posts and all your recipes, not to mention lots of laughs. Am thankful for you!


Cathy November 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

I saw your comment float on by and had to mention that my husband’s family has to have that awful salad mixture – they don’t use sour cream and instead whipped cream and call it “ambrosia salad”. I call it yuck.


TKW November 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Yep, I’m with Kathy–that’s a sad-sack version of ambrosia. Add jello cubes to it and it becomes frog’s eye salad–another midwestern monstrosity. GAG


Kate November 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Green bean casserole is death of veggies. Good veggies. I love green beans (not canned, unless it’s three bean salad, that I adore) but those frozen ones you speak of yes. In a little butter and garlic, perfection.

Next time I go to my husband’s people for Thanksgiving, I’m going to wear a sign, ‘save the ass!’ Here’s the lay of the land- turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (canned) with marshmallows, green bean casserole, ‘jello salads’, more goopy items. Oh. It’s a perilous trip I take.

I’m glad the world is sparkling for you, you deserve it.


Contemporary Troubadour November 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Canned green beans — first and last time I ever had them was at a babysitter’s house when I was nine. My mother always stir-fries fresh beans (as do I now), so the different flavor (can we call it that?) was startling, to say the least.

Saw your mention in the comments that Miss D. is 5′ 1″! I don’t think I hit five feet until seventh grade (and I didn’t get far beyond it either). Clearly, it’s the canned mushroom soup my mother did feed me that makes the difference ;)


Mirrim Blackfox November 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I just wanted to let you know two things 1) I have two friends who prefer canned green beans to virtually any other green veggitable (thankfully they are married to each other because green beans are disusting in any form let alown canned) and B) I love a steaming hot bowl of Cream of Mushroom soup so much that I have made it from scrach before (though I like the canned fine it has MSG which makes me feel yucky).

SO there are atleast three people who don’t agree with you compleatly (though all of us hate Green Bean Cassoral so …)



BigLittleWolf November 22, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Nope. Nope. Nope.

No can do. (Get that? ;) No can do?)

OK. Long day. I’m a fresh green bean girl or bust! (Nice pictures though.)

Happy Thxgiving, TKW!! xoxo


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri November 22, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you Kitch and your family. I am thankful that our paths have intersected. Your words often have me thinking, cooking and laughing.

And yes, as a vegetarian, I’ve definitely partaked in every version of the green bean casserole.


Privilege of Parenting November 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Suddenly it all makes sense—the secret relationship between Andy Warhol and Campbells (maybe Andy was just a “historian” and later an “artist” or maybe he was on the dole from Soupy Sales).

In any event, wishing you a most excellent Thanksgiving from soup to nuts


Katybeth November 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

More than 40 million green bean casseroles are served on Thanksgiving. I just had to come back and share because the vote for green casserole seems clearly on the LIKE side on the other this could prove your theory of a Casserole conspiracy.

Ok Bye.


Stacia November 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm

My name is Stacia, and I eat green bean casserole. I think maybe there’s a 12-step program out there somewhere for that?


Stephenie November 24, 2011 at 5:51 am

Um, yeah. Actually any vegetable from a can is quite disgusting, except maybe cream corn. All that salt! Your recipe looks much more delectable and is actually recognizable as a VEGETABLE. Thanks for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends south of the border. Of course, Canadian Thanksgiving is long gone a month ago and I think we finally finished the turkey last week. : )


Linda at Bar Mitzvahzilla November 24, 2011 at 10:23 pm

TKW, you are killing me. I was just looking at this exact dish at our Thanksgiving party and, I might say, not eating it. Like some others, I don’t mind canned green beans, but no way possible do I eat vegetables that have been sauces up and sprinkled with fried stuff! My vegetables are supposed to be the Low calorie part of my meals!


bryan November 25, 2011 at 7:14 am

Hey my friend I have never figured out the traditional green bean casserole either. I make a pretty good version with bacon, garlic, fresh mushrooms and heavy cream. Not very good for the ass (or stomach in my case) but the tastebuds LOVE it. I hope that you had a good Thanksgiving my friend!


grace November 26, 2011 at 1:23 am

i cannot understand how that monstrosity came to be associated with thanksgiving–it’s grotesque! plain green beans would be an improvement, but i like what you’ve done here. iiiiiit’s bacon! :)


Lana November 26, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Both my first and my second American husbands introduced green bean casserole as a heart-warming, traditional, nostalgic dish of their childhood (one was from Mid-West, the other a true Southerner) and both times I cringed, not able to understand the need for such a concoction.
In Serbia, we eat green beans cooked until limp, with tomatoes, garlic, and onions, and they impart a completely different taste and texture than their “al dente” cooked cousins. But I love them both, as long as they are not polluted by canned soup and canned onions:)
Thank you for making me smile again:)


faemom November 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

OMG That looks and sounds so very, very awesome. I’m seriously printing it now.


TKW November 27, 2011 at 10:38 am


I know that stewed tomato/green bean dish! It actually is cooked a lot in the US (in the Southern states). It’s unattractive but so delicious! My grandmother used to make it, but of course, she also added bacon fat to the mix. Mmmmm…bacon fat!


Jane November 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

“casserole conspiracy” – you crack me up! xoxo Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Liz December 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

Hey girl…I know….I’m SO M.I.A.
How much do I love that pic of your girl???? I think I will try to remember that image the next time I f*ck up…I am always so worried about perfection and not missing a note or forgetting a word, and there it is: evidence…just laugh at yourself. Life is good.


bienes, raices mazatlanlbienes raices en mazatlanlinmobiliarias mazatlanlinmobiliarias en mazatlanlterrenos mazatlanlterrenos en mazatlanlventas terrenos mazatlanlventas terrenos en mazatlanlterrenos playas mazatlanlterrenos playas en mazatlanlventas terr July 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Great issues altogether, you simply received a logo new reader. What would you recommend about your post that you just made some days in the past? Any sure?


movies 2012 July 10, 2012 at 4:38 am

Hey there, You have performed an incredible job. I’ll certainly digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I am sure they’ll be benefited from this site.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: