Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole

I’ve been on a casserole kick lately.

Part of it is that Beloved loves casseroles; part of it is that they’re generally inexpensive and fairly simple.  Part of it is that despite the mild weather we’re all experiencing, it’s still the time of year we crave them, just like we crave salads and goodies from the grill in the summer.  But whatever the reason, coming up with casseroles that don’t depend on grains, potatoes, milk or cheese isn’t necessarily easy.

You learn, though.  One evening last week, I was getting everything out for spaghetti and realized I had some green beans in the fridge that really needed to be used.  And I wasn’t really in the mood for spaghetti squash.  So, I perused the Box O’ Squash in the garage and came back with two small delicatas, pulled the green beans out of the fridge, popped the lids on two pints of homemade tomato sauce and whipped this up.

And it was good.  So good that The Picky Young One one ate every bite of what was a pretty large portion – even the squash, at which he usually turns up his nose.  So, while this might not be the prettiest dish I’ve ever cooked, it’s certainly one of the tastier ones.

It is, after all, Young One Approved.

Note:  If you don’t want to bother with the oven, you could cook this completely on the stove.  Just make sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  You could also make this low carb by substituting the squash with an equal amount of cubed turnips, although I can’t promise that The Young One would eat it.

Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole

Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole

serves 6

2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass-fed
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 small delicata squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut in half

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat; add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula, until it’s almost browned and much of the fat and liquid has been released. Season with the salt and pepper and add the onion. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic to the pan, stir and cook for another minute or until the ground beef is completely cooked through.

Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, herbs and red pepper flakes, if using. Add the squash and green beans; cover and place in the oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender and the green beans are tender-crisp. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition (per serving): 504 calories, 33.4g total fat, 113.4mg cholesterol, 1702.7mg sodium, 1360.3mg potassium, 20.8g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 10.5g sugar, 31.4g protein.

Printable version (requires Adobe Reader)

Posted in participation of Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday

18 thoughts on “Italian Beef and Green Bean Casserole”

  1. ANOTHER recipe I need to try soon! Just reading it makes me think of comfort food. By the way, we broke into the frozen sweet and sour meatloaf from the batch I made just prior to the New Year. JUST AS GOOD.

  2. I make fewer casseroles these days as the kids start to move out and it is just JR and I. I have yet to learn to scale back. All my casseroles feed an army and you can only eat them for so long without getting sick of them.

  3. Yummy! Cannot wait to make this! And I happen to think it looks pretty damm “pretty” and I know some little’s that will gobble this up! 🙂

  4. This really is a great comfort food and I could make a huge batch and eat it all week – or freeze half of it and save it for a few weeks. Would have een a good make ahead Monday meal as it was better the next day. YUM!

  5. I like that this isn’t a typical casserole. I think of casseroles as things with cream of mushroom soup and topped with Velveeta! Jimmy would love this, and it looks so easy.

    Hey, I have a question for you. You put up your own broth, don’t you? How do you store it? Do you put it in jars? Plastic? Do you freeze it? I’m sick of using that nasty Swansons.

  6. This looks delicious! I am looking forward to making this! I need more recipes that use green beans, casseroles seem to always involve spinach or broccoli (not that there is anything wrong with that!).

  7. How long can you store your squashes? I wish I stocked up a little more when they were cheaper.
    Anyway – I made your savory muffins the other day. I was gonna share them with a co-worker, but got so greedy that I didn’t 🙂 Hope you don’t mind me adding you to my blogroll. Keep on cooking! Can’t wait to try so many of your other recipes too.

    1. I tried replying back via e-mail, it came back rejected! Anyway, as a little kid, I remember my mom keeping squashes in the basement, but never really thought about it until I grew up and started falling in love with squashes. Thanks for the answer though, gotta prepare for next year. I find it harder and harder to find squash these days. I laughed at your response to General Mills – and when I looked up Dr. Stork – what a joke. He’s out for fame.

      You can find me at

      Still working on photography skills so I can get to your level. Hope you didn’t mind I posted up your savory muffin recipe on my site, with it linking back to your site as well.

  8. Yum! I’ve had this recipe bookmarked forever and am FINALLY going to make it this weekend! You think it would hold up ok in the crock pot?

    1. Laura, I really don’t know; I’d worry that the green beans and squash would get mushy. If you don’t want to turn on the oven (I know it’s still hot in many parts of the country), you could probably make this on the stove quite successfully – simmer it on the lowest heat possible and remember to stir it every now and then.

      Let me know how you like it – it’s become one of our favorites!

  9. Today is day 2 of the whole 30 for me and I made this recipe for lunch!! OMG!!! Sooooo good!! You have to try this!! The whole family loved it!! I added fresh tomatoes and used zucchini instead of the squash, simply because that is what I has on hand!! Served with veggie stuffed zucchini boats for an amazing meal!!! Thank you so much for this awesome recipe!!!!

  10. I came across your website from a google search for ground beef and green beans, google decided to slap casserole into the mix, and I am so very thankful they did! I made this for dinner as it sounded 100x better than what I was planning. I’ve got 3 kids, two of them who are very picky. The 3 year old actually asked for seconds (a rarity) and my 7 year old not only housed 2 bowls full, she said “You WILL make this again, even if you don’t like it. Mmmm yummy!” Mind blown. Thanks for a successful meal!

    1. Oh, and I DID like it! 7 year old was just asserting that she couldn’t care less if I hated it or loved it, it would be made for her again. She likes to think she’s the boss I guess.

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