• 1 1/4 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided (1 1/2 if topping with breadcrumbs)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/1/4 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 3/4 cups whole-wheat breadcrumbs or 1/2 cup shredded or crumbled cheese


  1. Position rack in middle of oven; preheat to 425°F.
  2. Toss green beans in a large bowl with 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) oil until well coated. Place on a baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pan about halfway through, until beans are tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon (1 1/2 teaspoons) oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
  6. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat. (See Variation/Tips)
  9. When the green beans are done, remove from the oven.
  10. Preheat the broiler.
  11. Transfer half the green beans to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish.
  12. Spread half the sauce over the green beans.
  13. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce.
  14. Combine breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip if topping with cheese).
  15. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin.
  16. 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.
  17. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Variations: 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. 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. 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 Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese. Double recipe for a larger crowd!

Chef's Notes

Yield: 4 servings (1 cup per serving)

Total cost: $2.66

Cost per serving: $0.66

Source: EatingWell Magazine

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Per serving

188 calories; 7g total fat (1g saturated fat); 25g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 348mg sodium; 8g protein