Green bean casserole! While this recipe evokes associations with Thanksgiving for many people, my immediate family has never relegated it to a holiday side dish. We’ve never included it on our Thanksgiving dinner menu, nor have we actually eaten it as a side dish. Maybe we’re just weird? Green bean casserole was always one of my favorites as a child. In fact, it was a birthday tradition in our house that my mom would make whatever dinner the birthday boy or girl requested, and this was my choice more often than not. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I got older and realized how easy it is to make! This was one of about three recipes I knew how to make reliably when I moved into my first apartment in college, so for the first year (until I took a genuine interest in expanding my repertoire) I ate a lot of green bean casserole. A lot. Luckily, I never got tired of it.
This version is a little different from the traditional recipe in that it uses a milk-based roux instead of cream of mushroom soup. This way, you can easily use lactose-free milk if you choose, and hence the title “Milkless Monday”. Now I realize that this a bit misleading, since lactose-free milk is still milk, but “Lactose-free Monday” just didn’t have the same ring to it. Plus, in my experience, most people who say they can’t have dairy say so because they are lactose intolerant rather than being allergic to milk. If you do have a milk allergy, obviously you’ll want to steer clear of this recipe, although I will certainly post some truly milkless recipes for upcoming Mondays.
My family always serves green bean casserole over rice to help make it into a more complete meal. We also pair it with some form of protein—chicken patties when I was younger and then baked chicken once we started trying to cut out more processed foods.
- 2 cups uncooked rice
- 10 ounces lactose-free milk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound green beans
- 1 cup crispy fried onions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook rice according to directions on package.
- To make a roux, stir together oil and flour in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When small bubbles appear throughout, add milk and whisk.
- Add soy sauce, salt, and red pepper flakes, and cook until sauce has thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Trim ends of green beans and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 cup water and microwave, covered lightly a microwave cover, for 3-4 minutes on high. Cut beans into 2-inch pieces. Add beans and 2/3 cup crispy fried onions to saucepan. Mix until combined.
- Pour into 1 1/2 quart oven-safe dish and bake for 25 minutes.
- Top with 1/3 cup onions and bake for 5 more minutes.
- Let casserole cool 5 minutes. Fluff rice and serve.
- Frozen or canned green beans are fine as well. Use 2 14.5-ounce cans of green beans, drained, or 1 pound of frozen ones, thawed. You can also steam the fresh green beans on the stove; I just prefer microwaving them because it’s a little bit quicker.