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Green Bean Casserole: A 57-Year Love Affair


What's one of the most popular Google searches today? Green bean casserole.

Yup, right there behind the top search - Black Friday deals - tens of thousands of Americans are scurrying to remember how to make the casserole first devised in 1955.

This all-American invention came from the Campbell Soup kitchen, thanks to home economist Dorcas Reilly, whose goal was to come up with a simple dish (using company products, of course) that used as few ingredients as possible.

The original recipe called for cream of mushroom soup and a little milk mixed with cooked, cut green beans, with canned french-fried onions for the topping.

It wasn't supposed to be exclusively for Thanksgiving, but when it was mentioned in an Associated Press story around the holiday that year, its Turkey Day association was sealed and its popularity took off. And after nearly 60 years, we apparently still love it.

Time magazine reported that in 2005, Campbell's estimated it sold $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup just to people making green bean casserole for Thanksgiving.

But because the original recipe wasn't exactly the epitome of good nutrition - high in both salt and fat - many people have come up with their own versions. Huffington Post food writer Jane Maynard prefers the flavor of her from-scratch green bean casserole, which uses cream, instead of cream of mushroom soup, for the sauce, plus crispy fried shallots, instead of prepared fried onions, for the topping.

For a healthier variation that won't sacrifice flavor, consider using a mix of nonfat sour cream and some Greek yogurt for some or all of the canned soup. Sautéed mushrooms are a nice addition to the green beans, too.

If you want the original, though, Campbell's has a classic recipe on its website, with a little soy sauce and black pepper added. There's also the French's version.

Here's the Classic Green Bean Casserole.

  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 4 cups cooked, cut green beans
  • 1 1/3 cups French's French Fried Onions


  • Stir the soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 2/3 cup onions in a 1 1/2-quart casserole.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the bean mixture is hot and bubbling. Stir the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining onions.
  • Bake for 5 minutes or until the onions are golden brown.

Photo: Burger Baroness via flickr




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