I bet my family thought they would never see the day I made anything even associated with the word “tuna”.
I have never in my life cared for tuna. In fact, a month ago I probably would have described it as “detestable”, “disgusting”, and “inedible”. Growing up my family would regularly make tuna salad and the smell alone would drive me to my bedroom with a case of extreme nausea.
For some reason a few weeks ago, totally out of the blue, I was craving tuna casserole (no I’m not pregnant). I have no idea why. I might have tried it once as a small child but I don’t really even remember eating it before.
Nevertheless, I NEEDED some tuna casserole. Luckily, I had some cans of albacore in the pantry for my tuna-loving husband and decided to give it a try.
And I fell in love.
(ignore the fact that it’s not parmesan on top of the casserole as called for in the recipe below. I was out and used cheddar instead, but I really didn’t care for the texture)
By the way, you will find no canned soups in this recipe but it is still incredibly easy to make.
It was really important to me to make a version that didn’t call for cream-of-anything soups. I detest canned cream soups even more then I do tuna because, to me at least, they always give the dish a very cheap and chemically “casserole” taste. Plus they give me the same symptoms as the flu about 15 minutes after ingesting
This version is still creamy, rich, and comforting, and after you try it I doubt you’ll go back to canned soup recipes.
So, here ya go 🙂
(V: = vegan substitution)
8oz rotini pasta, cooked al dente (if you’d like to go with traditional egg noodles, knock your socks off)
5 TBS butter (V: earth balance butter)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
8oz white mushrooms, sliced
1/4 C flour
2 1/2 C milk (V: unsweetened soy milk)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 (6oz) cans tuna, drained and flaked (V: 8oz sliced baby portobello mushrooms, or 12oz crumbled tempeh)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 C panko bread crumbs
3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (V: 3/4 C nutritional yeast)
Preheat oven to 375 F and grease an 8×8 baking dish.
Saute the onion, celery, and garlic, with 1 TBS of butter over medium heat until tender (about 5 minutes).
Turn the heatt up a bit and add in the mushrooms. Saute about 5 more minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Melt the remaining 4 TBS of butter in a medium saucepan and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk and cook until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened (4-6 minutes). Add the salt, pepper, tuna, peas, mushroom mixture, and cooked noodles and transfer to the baking dish.
In a small bowl mix the bread crumbs and parmesan together and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned on top (making sure not to overcook so the noodles won’t dry out).
After my first bite I was hooked and I proceeded to eat the entire pan over the next three days. Now I’m just waiting for tuna to go on sale so I can make it again.