Healthy Green Bean Casserole


Typical green bean casseroles bathe ingredients in a heavy cream sauce. Our healthy version has fewer calories and fat, thanks to a homemade roux.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hr
8 servings, about 1 cup each

Why Is This Green Bean Casserole Healthier than Others?

Typical green bean casseroles call for canned green beans, which can be high in sodium. Fresh green beans are a better option to reduce the sodium content, and they hold their texture better than canned. We skip the canned soup too, which is can be high in sodium, fat and calories. Instead, we thicken the casserole with a roux made from extra-virgin olive oil and flour, with low-fat milk added to make the creamy base.

What Should You Serve with This Casserole?

This simple side dish can be prepared for a holiday meal or a weeknight dinner. It pairs well with many main dishes, including Beef Tenderloin with Cabernet-Mushroom Sauce, Roast Turkey with White Wine Gravy, Roasted Leg of Lamb with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce, Fish Amandine and Crispy Roast Chicken.

Healthy green bean casserole can also be the main course when paired with Wild Rice Salad with Arugula Pesto, Herbed Lemon Orzo or Winter Kale & Quinoa Salad with Avocado.

Additional reporting by Jan Valdez


  • 2 ½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon white or black pepper

  • 2 ½ cups low-fat milk

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese


  1. Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425 degrees F.

  2. Toss green beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 large rimmed baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the baking sheets top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)

  4. When the green beans are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

  5. Transfer half the green beans to a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce.

  6. Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

  7. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.


Large rimmed baking sheets, 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish


To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs.

Variation: to add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.

To make ahead

Roast green beans (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the green beans.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

188 Calories
7g Fat
25g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Serving Size about 1 cup
Calories 188
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 8g 16%
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 4mg 1%
Vitamin A 1128IU 23%
Vitamin C 18mg 20%
Folate 70mcg 17%
Sodium 348mg 15%
Calcium 183mg 14%
Iron 2mg 12%
Magnesium 60mg 14%
Potassium 485mg 10%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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