Creamed Kale Casserole, The Better Version Of Your Green Bean Fave

This Thanksgiving recipe is easier to make, more nutritious, and tastes even better as leftovers.

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As we’re all sitting down to plan our Thanksgiving menus this year, I know lots of them will include some version of green bean casserole. Whether you go the old-school route with canned green beans, condensed cream of mushroom soup and French’s fried onions, or the new-school route with everything freshly made, I’m here to tell you to throw them all out.

I have something even better, with all the same great flavors. Let’s call it the new-new-school version. It doesn’t involve using mushy canned green beans or require the tedious task of cutting and blanching fresh green beans. Who has time for that when we have a million other sides to make? For those who fall victim to nostalgia, don’t worry: This dish still has all the components of the casserole you grew up with, but with an elevated feel. 

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Jeremy Paige
This dish still has all the components of the green bean casserole you grew up with, but with an elevated feel.

Instead, the main star of this dish is kale. Not only is it more nutrient-dense, but it’s actually easier to make. The kale is cooked in the same pan as the cream sauce, making it almost a one-pot dish. The second pan is used to make fried shallots, but we’ll get back to that later. I prefer to use kale because the sauce sticks better to kale leaves, getting into each groove so everything comes together in a cohesive, delicious way. I also stir freshly grated parmesan cheese into the sauce to add a strong, nutty flavor.

Lastly, I top it all off with homemade fried shallots. They cook in less than 2 minutes and make such a difference. The canned variety can taste waxy and stale, while a quick homemade version packs a strong onion flavor to balance out the richness from the cream sauce. Don’t be afraid to make extra, as there’s always a sneak lurking around the corner grabbing handfuls of this fried goodness. Any leftover oil can be strained and used throughout the week in other dishes. Use it just like you would olive oil. Just be sure to store the oil in the fridge to keep it from spoiling.

This dish is even better the next day — I’ve been known to spread it like mayo on my Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. Here’s to new traditions this Thanksgiving that are more delicious and just a tad bit better for you. 

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Jeremy Paige
The new-new-school version of green bean casserole.

Creamed Kale Casserole With Homemade Fried Shallots

Serves six.

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided

  • 12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 bunches of kale, stems discarded, leaves chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock

  • 6 tablespoons flour

  • 3 1/2 cups half-and-half (at room temp)

  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 4 large shallots, thinly sliced

  • Canola oil 

Directions

1. Add canola oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large, heavy, high-sided skillet, leaving at least an inch of space from the top of the skillet. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add shallots and cook until crispy and lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Use slotted spoon to remove to paper-towel-lined plate. Let excess oil drain off and season with salt. Reserve for later.

4. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large pot at medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.

6. Add the kale in batches and toss until wilted.

7. When all of the kale is added to the pan, stir in chicken stock. Cover and let cook until kale is softened and chicken stock has evaporated, about 5 to 7 minutes.

8. Remove cover; add remaining butter and cook until melted.

9. Sprinkle flour over kale and cook for 2 minutes.

10. Slowly whisk in half-and-half and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

11. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan. Season with salt to taste.

12. Transfer creamed kale to casserole dish, top with crispy fried onions. Serve immediately.

13. Alternatively, this can be made ahead and kept warm in an oven at low heat — just add fried onions right before serving.

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Jeremy Paige
Don’t be afraid to make extra shallots, as there’s always a sneak lurking around the corner grabbing handfuls of this fried goodness.

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Before You Go

The Best Roasting Pans To Buy For Your Thanksgiving Turkey And Beyond
Cuisinart MultiClad Pro tri-ply stainless 16-inch roaster(01 of 07)
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This roasting pan is winner for both America's Test Kitchen and Wirecutter. ATK noted that it seared meat without buckling or burning and gave veggies an even, golden-brown crust, while its flat bottom aided with deglazing. Wirecutter said it cooked more evenly than others in its price range, noting it could handle a 20-pound turkey. "We can’t find another roasting pan that can sear as well on the stove and roast as evenly in the oven for under $100," its testers reported. (credit: Amazon)
Viking 16-inch culinary roaster with two-piece carving set(02 of 07)
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ATK lists Viking's 16-inch tri-ply roaster among its recommendations, noting that although their pan is heavier than some others, it's also "handsome" and "durable." This version at Amazon, which can handle a turkey up to 25 pounds, comes with a matching carving knife and serving fork. (credit: Amazon)
Cooks Standard 16-inch stainless steel roaster(03 of 07)
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This pan in the 14-inch size was America's Test Kitchen's "best buy" pick for small roasters with racks, but it no longer available. But this 16-inch size is made of the same materials, only two inches bigger, and may be all smaller households need (and prove to be a more versatile size year-round). Testers noted that although not made with tri-ply, the 14-inch model was thick enough to still retain and control heat well. (credit: Amazon)
All-Clad HA1 hard-anodized nonstick roaster and rack(04 of 07)
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Consider this an expert pick by Amazon buyers, because this All-Clad hard-anodized nonstick roaster has an impressive 4.8-star rating from users — and it's on sale right now as an early Black Friday deal. The 16-inch size is perfect for family-sized birds and vegetables, and the sleek, curved roaster has tall straight sides and double-riveted handles to make it both chic and heavy-duty, with all the quality you expect from All-Clad. It's oven-safe to 500 degrees and works with any stovetop, including induction. (credit: Amazon)
Le Creuset stainless steel 14-inch roasting pan(05 of 07)
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This was an ATK winning recommendation for small roasting pans, based on the way it turned out "beautiful" browned food. The body is tri-ply, the V-shaped rack is nonstick, and unlike some others, this roaster works on induction cooktops. The smaller size will be versatile year-round. (credit: Amazon)
All-Clad stainless steel flared roasting pan(06 of 07)
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The top performer in Wirecutter's tests, both in the oven and on the stovetop, is this premium roaster that's exclusive to Williams Sonoma. Testers praised it for producing the most golden, crispy skin and for the low, flared sides helping to disperse heat evenly. Some cooks prefer the flat rack, too, since it can be a bit more versatile for other cuts of meat. The only catch is that it's more expensive than others, leading Wirecutter to name it their "upgrade" pick. (credit: Williams Sonoma)
A nonstick roasting rack to use with a rimmed baking sheet(07 of 07)
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If you don't have the budget or space for a roaster, don't panic: We've even roasted a turkey on rolled-up aluminum foil in a pinch. A better option, as Serious Eats points out, is to buy a rack like this one to use with a rimmed baking sheet you already have in your kitchen. Just be very, very careful when you're moving your bird to and from the oven, especially if you've got hot juices sloshing near the rim of your pan. (credit: Amazon)

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