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Gluten Free Thanksgiving – Green Beans with Balsamic Onions Recipe

Surely you must be aware of the green bean casserole that has been around since the advent of canned food. Canned beans, canned soup, canned fried onions. Sodium, gluten and tin – yum! Just what I want to eat when I sit down to a celebration dinner. NOT!

Maybe back in the day, the preparers of the Holiday Meal were indeed thankful that life had become easier. No longer did one have to go to the yard, decapitate the turkey (did people have turkeys in the yard?) watch it run around like a … well… like a chicken with its head cut off.

I reckon that when canned food first started rolling off the factory shelves that people were so enchanted with the products and the ease that they could not help but come up with all sorts of ways to utilize them. Like when we first got microwave ovens. But just because you can cook a whole stuffed turkey in the microwave in 17 seconds does not mean that it is a good idea.

Same goes with a green bean casserole. It is not one of those things you should make just because you can.

This Gluten Green Beans with Balsamic Onions Recipe are fresh and delish. To cut down on last minute prep for Thanksgiving, I make the onions the night before and parboil the green beans in the morning. Then while the turkey is being carved by the hubby, I re-heat the onions in the microwave and the green beans stove-top with a bit of butter and bring it all to the table nice and hot. It makes for a pretty presentation as well.

Gluten Free Thanksgiving – Green Beans with Balsamic Onions Recipe


Non-stick olive oil spray
6 large onions (about 2 ½ pounds) — peeled, each cut through vertically through root end into 12 or 14 wedges
6 tablespoons unsalted butter – use divided
Salt and pepper
2 cups canned gluten-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 pounds slender green beans — ends trimmed


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Spray 2 heavy baking sheets with non-stick spray. Arrange onion wedges in a single layer on the baking sheets and dot with 4 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until onions are dark brown stirring once or twice – about 40 minutes.

While onions are baking boil broth in a large, heavy skillet over high heat until reduced to about ½ cup — about 6 – 8 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil.

Add the onions to the sauce, reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until the liquid is reduced and syrupy — about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Reheat over low heat or in microwave.

Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp tender — about 5 minutes. Drain well. Return to same pot, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss to coat. If making ahead, cook beans for about 4 minutes, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Wrap in paper towels, then in cling-wrap and refrigerate until just before serving time. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet or pot, add green beans and re-heat.

Serve beans in a large shallow bowl topped with onions.


This Gluten Free Thanksgiving – Green Beans with Balsamic Onions Recipe serves 12

Please excuse the photo – I did not take it. I got the original recipe for these beans years ago in a magazine. I tore the page out and saved it. This is a scan of the photo from the magazine. I wish I could give credit where it is due but I can’t. I have tweaked and adapted the recipe and now it is mine but the photo alas is not. God I hope I don’t get sued!

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

The Short (dis)Order Cook November 25, 2008 at 5:57 am

I won’t tell the authorities about hte photo.

Alton Brown did an episode about green bean casserole and he explained the history of the dish. It was invented by the manufacturers of the needed canned goods you make it with as a way of selling more of their products.

I do one that I got from Michael Chiarello that has mushrooms and green beans in a wine and brandy sauce. It’s much lighter than the original. The topping is supposed to be onion rings, but I make mine with shallots that I have sliced thin and just fried till crispy and brown.


Deanna S. November 25, 2008 at 9:22 am

I think it’s a revolt! And it’s about time too. I’ve heard so many gripes this year about the dreaded green bean casserole. I also do mine with carmelized shallots and slivered almonds.


Cynthia November 30, 2008 at 2:57 pm

I’ve got to give those balsamic onions a try.


Carrie December 3, 2008 at 10:26 am

this looks absolutely divine!! A great alternative to the canned dishes!! You are so creative!! AND I LOVE the new layout of your site! It looks fantastic!!


Maureen "Hold The Gluten" December 4, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Oh yeah!! I am an onion loving girl with an ever-present pack of mints on hand. Balsamic onions?! Sold! PS – I’m with you…that Green Bean Casserole freaks me out. Blech.


Cinnamonda December 5, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Lovely recipe. Balsamic onions sound really yummy!



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