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Thanksgiving Day Recipes: Green Bean and Almond Casserole

A diabetes-friendlier classic dish for your holiday table

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

As you know, Thanksgiving is this Thursday! For most, that means pulling out grandma’s traditional recipes and loosening your belt a notch or two. Yes, Thanksgiving is commonly viewed as a time to overindulge when it comes to food and even drink, but what if you could have some of your favorites with a little less guilt? This year, we’re featuring healthy and delicious recipe options for some of the holiday’s most popular dishes including green beans, sweet potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake!

In addition, we have heard that many of you would like to enjoy an adult beverage with your Thanksgiving meal, so I would be remiss if I didn’t at least pass along some guidelines for alcohol consumption for those living with diabetes from Joslin. You can also check out a few tips for celebrating from the American Diabetes Association that I outlined earlier this year.

Now, let’s dig in to our Thanksgiving favs with a green bean and almond casserole I found over at Dlife.com. While many Thanksgiving tables will feature the traditional green bean casserole, this green bean dish is less dense than its traditional counterpart, yet still incorporates the traditional onion flavor and breaded crispiness.

I was pleasantly surprised by both the preparation and the taste of the finished product, but want to share a few tips from my experience:

  • Try sautéing the mushrooms before adding to the dish; it gives them a little more flavor.
  • Caramelizing the onions first can add both flavor and color.
  • For a smoother sauce, sift the flour beforehand and focus on stirring the milk and flour together thoroughly until all the “chunks” have been eliminated.
Diabetes-friendlier green been almond casserole
Diabetes-friendlier green been almond casserole

Green Bean and Almond Casserole

Recipe makes 6 servings.


1/2 cup milk, evaporated, with added vitamin A, canned
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 lb fresh green beans, French cut
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned mushroom slices, drained
3 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
1 small yellow onion, very thinly sliced and separated into rings
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
Cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In jar with tight fitting lid, add evaporated milk, flour, and pepper. Tighten lid and shake until smooth.
3. In large saucepan, add green beans and broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes.
4. Shake milk mixture and add to pot, stirring constantly. Continue to cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from heat and stir in mushrooms and almonds.
6. Coat shallow 1 quart casserole dish or 9-inch deep dish pie pan with cooking spray. Spread green bean mixture evenly in dish.
7. In small bowl, blend parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.
8. Layer onion rings on top of green beans. Sprinkle parmesan cheese mixture on top.
9. Coat top lightly with cooking spray.
10. Bake 30 minutes.
11. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes. Serve.


Serving size: ½ cup

Calories 113.5
Total Carbs 14.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.4 g
Sugars 4.7 g
Total Fat 3.8 g
Saturated Fat 2.1 g
Sodium 297.3 g
Dietary exchange 1 ½ vegetable

As we have cautioned before, this recipe may not necessarily be appropriate for all people living with diabetes. It’s important to speak with your certified diabetes educator and/or nutrition educator to help design a holiday meal plan that’s right for you.

Let me know if you try this recipe. I can tell you from experience that it’s quite tasty! Or, share below how you plan to make green beans this year. Also, be sure to check back tomorrow for a healthy twist on another Thanksgiving Day favorite – sweet potatoes!

Happy eating,

Laura K.

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  1. jeepgirlsv
    November 21st, 2011, 11:26 AM

    I don’t believe using wheat flour and wheat breadcrumbs, instead of their white counterparts cuts down the carbs. Your body treats them the same inside, right?

    1. Laura
      November 22nd, 2011, 8:03 AM

      Hi jeepgirlsv,

      Thanks for your comment. Whole wheat flour and white wheat flour do have roughly the same amount of carbohydrate. However, the difference is that the whole wheat options (when compared to their white counterparts) tend to have a lower glycemic index. The lower a food’s glycemic index or glycemic load, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels. For this reason, I thought it would be a good idea to pass along recipes that use ingredients with lower glycemic index values as alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving Day recipe ingredients.

      I hope that answers your question, but for more information, you can read more about glycemic index and whole grain foods on the American Diabetes Association’s website.

      Best, Laura K.