Lightened-Up Tuna Casserole Recipe | Gimme Some Oven

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This lightened-up tuna casserole recipe is tossed with a creamy garlic-herb sauce, a number of veggies, tender egg noodles and a crispy Panko topping.

Elevate your hand in the event you grew up consuming tuna casserole! ♡

This was one among our household’s favourite weeknight dinners rising up, and nonetheless continues to be a kind of recipes I like turning to this time of 12 months once we’re craving some heat and comfy casserole consolation meals. (Without end and at all times a Midwesterner at coronary heart, proper?)

Three a long time in the past, we at all times used to make tuna noodle casserole from a field or with the assistance of some canned cream of mushroom soup. However it’s really extremely easy to make home made tuna casserole fully from scratch, which provides us the possibility to additionally toss in a number of recent veggies and loosen up the creamy sauce a bit. If wanted, you too can simply adapt this recipe to be gluten-free too.

I’ll say that favor to only serve this pasta “casserole” straight out of the pan these days, topped with a beneficiant sprinkling of toasted Panko breadcrumbs, slightly than baked the standard additional 20 minutes within the oven. (Why overcook the pasta when it may be served completely al dente with with a melty cheddar cream sauce?) And whereas I made this batch with the standard mushrooms, carrots and peas, this recipe would welcome nearly any leftover veggies that you simply occur to have sitting in your crisper drawer.

Let’s make some trendy tuna casserole!

Tuna Casserole Ingredients

Tuna Casserole Elements

Listed here are just a few transient notes in regards to the tuna casserole elements you will have to make this recipe:

  • Tuna: I like to recommend a good-quality model of oil-packed canned tuna for this casserole. (Water-packed canned tuna may even do, however it will likely be much less flavorful.) If potential, please contemplate on the lookout for a more sustainable brand of tuna too!
  • Egg noodles: I at all times grew up consuming tuna casserole made with curly huge egg noodles, which style scrumptious right here. However you’re welcome to sub in some other type of semolina, entire wheat, legume or gluten-free pasta that you simply favor.
  • Veggies: We’ll use a standard mixture of carrots, onions, child bella mushrooms, frozen peas and garlic, sautéed in butter (or you need to use olive oil in the event you favor).
  • Cheddar cheese: I like making this casserole with sharp white cheddar cheese, however see strategies beneath if you want to swap in a unique type of cheese.
  • Flour: We’ll use fundamental all-purpose flour to barely thicken the cream sauce.
  • Broth + milk: I like utilizing a 50/50 mixture of broth (both hen or vegetable broth) and plain milk (dairy or plant-based) as the bottom for the cream sauce.
  • Seasoning: All you want is Italian seasoning, advantageous sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to season this retro casserole. That stated, be happy to swap in some recent Italian herbs for dried in the event you occur to have them readily available.
  • Panko: Crispy panko breadcrumbs will function a easy topping for this casserole, which you’ll toast till golden both on the stovetop in a sauté pan or within the oven on a sheet pan.
  • Non-compulsory garnishes: Lastly, I like to recommend a beneficiant sprinkling of chopped recent parsley or thyme. And I additionally positively suggest serving up every portion with a big lemon wedge for squeezing.

Step by step photos showing how to make tuna casserole

How To Make Tuna Casserole

Full step-by-step directions for methods to make tuna casserole are included within the recipe beneath, however listed here are just a few ideas to assist make this recipe successful!

  • Grate the cheese by hand. As at all times, I like to recommend buying a block of cheese and grating it by hand (I exploit this box grater) to ensure that it to soften easily into the sauce. Retailer-bought pre-grated cheese can work in a pinch too, however the coating on it’s going to doubtless forestall it from melting completely easily.
  • Watch the Panko carefully whereas toasting. Whether or not you select to toast the Panko on the stovetop or within the oven, it may go from golden to burnt in a matter of minutes. So preserve an in depth eye on the Panko, and remember to give it shake/toss as soon as the primary layer begins to show golden in order that the entire Panko can toast kind of evenly.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles. Make sure you switch the noodles into the sauce when they’re simply *barely* al dente, since they’ll proceed to prepare dinner barely extra whereas being tossed with the recent cream sauce. 

Tuna Noodle Casserole in Pan

Recipe Variations

Listed here are just a few further ways in which you’re welcome to customise this simple tuna casserole recipe if you want:

  • Add additional veggies: Add (or swap) some other veggies into the sauté that you simply assume would go properly with this casserole, equivalent to asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, inexperienced beans, kale, spinach, zucchini, and so forth.
  • Use a unique cheese: Use your selection of shredded cheese rather than the cheddar, equivalent to Gruyere, Gouda, Monterrey Jack, mozzarella, and so forth. Or scale back the quantity and as an alternative use a crumbled cheese, equivalent to feta, goat cheese, Parmesan, and so forth.
  • Use completely different seasonings: There are a selection of various instructions that you would go together with the dried or recent herbs and seasonings used to season this casserole. I typically love utilizing recent as an alternative of dried Italian herbs if I occur to have them readily available, equivalent to recent basil, rosemary or thyme. Or I’ve additionally made this casserole utilizing numerous Cajun seasonings, which was scrumptious. Or you would actually amp up the lemon and black pepper to go for a lemon pepper vibe. Numerous enjoyable choices!
  • Make it gluten-free: Use your favourite number of gluten-free noodles rather than the egg noodles. Then I’d suggest utilizing a tablespoon or two of cornstarch slurry (equal elements chilly water whisked with cornstarch) to thicken the sauce rather than the all-purpose flour.

Tuna Noodle Casserole Closeup

Extra Favourite Casserole Recipes

On the lookout for extra traditional casserole recipes to attempt? Listed here are just a few of my tried-and-true favorites:

Tuna Casserole on Plate with Lemon


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This lightened-up tuna casserole recipe is tossed with a creamy garlic-herb sauce, a number of veggies, tender egg noodles and a crispy Panko topping.

  • 1/4 cup toasted Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces child bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups hen or vegetable inventory
  • 1 1/2 cups plain milk
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, home made or store-bought
  • 1 teaspoon advantageous sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 ounces huge egg noodles
  • 3 (5-ounce) cans tuna, drained
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • non-compulsory garnishes: chopped recent parsley or recent thyme, lemon slices

  1. Warmth water for noodles. Convey a big stockpot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Toast the breadcrumbs.* Warmth the breadcrumbs in a big sauté pan over medium-high warmth. As soon as the underside layer of the breadcrumbs start to show golden, give the pan stir (or shake) to toss. Proceed cooking for 1-2 extra minutes, tossing often, till the breadcrumbs are kind of evenly golden. Switch the breadcrumbs to a clear bowl and put aside. Wipe down the pan with a clear material and return it to the warmth.
  3. Sauté veggies. Add butter and prepare dinner till melted. Add mushrooms, carrots, onions and sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring often, till the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring regularly. Add flour and sauté for 1 minute, stirring regularly in order that it’s properly mixed.
  4. Make the sauce. Add the inventory and stir to mix. Add the milk, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, peas and stir to mix. Proceed cooking till the sauce almost reaches a simmer, then scale back warmth to low. In the meantime…
  5. Cook dinner the noodles. Across the similar time that you simply add the inventory to the sauce, add the noodles to the boiling water and prepare dinner till simply barely al dente. Use a spider strainer to empty and switch the noodles on to the mushroom sauce. (Or in case your sauté pan just isn’t massive sufficient to carry the whole lot, you’ll be able to drain the noodles fully after which mix the noodles and sauce within the stockpot that you simply used to prepare dinner the noodles.)
  6. Combine the casserole. Add the veggie sauce combination to the noodles, together with the tuna and cheddar cheese. Toss gently till mixed and the cheese has melted.
  7. Serve. Serve the pasta heat, sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs, a pinch of herbs, and garnished with a lemon wedge for squeezing. Get pleasure from!


Toasting the breadcrumbs: If you want to avoid wasting time, you’ll be able to toast the breadcrumbs in a separate sauté pan whereas the veggies sauté. Or in the event you favor, you’ll be able to toast the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet within the oven at 350°F till golden.

Recipe edit: This recipe was up to date in 2022. It initially known as for baking the casserole (pasta topped with untoasted breadcrumbs) at 400°F for 18-20 minutes, which you might be nonetheless welcome to do. However I by no means favored how that methodology tends to overcook the pasta, so I favor to skip the baking and simply serve the freshly-cooked pasta topped with toasted breadcrumbs.

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