There are hundreds of tuna casserole recipes tucked in cookbooks and recipe boxes all across the world. The combination of tuna, pasta, vegetables, cheese, a creamy sauce and a crunchy topping are common ingredients in tuna casserole, but the variations are endless. Here is an easy tuna noodle casserole recipe that I developed over the years with lots of input from my family. I believe it began as the Campbell’s Mushroom Soup recipe, and then just evolved based on the needs of picky eaters and a mom who was trying to find a healthy tuna recipe. This recipe makes four medium sized servings, but if you have company or teenage sons then double it – use a 9 inch by 12 inch lasagna pan.
2 cups of dry whole wheat macaroni noodles or other short pasta
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cooking onion, diced
2 cans of flaked or chunked tuna, drained
2 cans of low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 tsp to 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper (depending on your family’s tastes)
1 rounded tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
3/4 cups crushed stale crackers
1 tsp dried parsley or chervil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the pasta to boil in lightly salted water. Add a little extra virgin olive oil to stop the pasta from sticking together. In a lightly greased 2 1/2 quart casserole dish, mix diced onion, tuna, soup, peas, pepper, dijon mustard, and 3/4 cup of the shredded cheese. Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle the stale crackers, remaining cheddar cheese and dried parsley over the top of the tuna casserole dish. Place the casserole on a baking sheet and cook for about 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving. Add a glass of low fat milk and a salad of mixed green salad for a well-balanced meal.
- Use flaked or chunked tuna packed in water instead of oil to reduce the fat content
- Whole wheat pasta noodles add flavor and fiber to recipes. If you suspect your family will give you a hard time when you introduce whole grains into your cooking, begin by just replacing 1/4 to 1/2 of the amount of pasta with the whole wheat noodles. The next time you cook, add a little more…..then a little more….
- Save your stale Ritz crackers, cheddar Goldfish crackers, other soda crackers or breadcrumbs for the topping.
- This is a cheap family meal for the end of the week when you are low on groceries, or when you are looking for affordable family dinner recipes. This is a low-cost, high nutrient meal for your family, and the leftovers heat up well in the microwave.
- This simple tuna casserole recipe is delicious on its own, but I like to add a little ketchup. Others in my family add mint sauce (ugh) or HP sauce.