I’ve eaten my fair share of tuna casseroles in my time – some good, some bad, and some ugly.
Most casserole recipes have canned soup in them for the sauce and other ingredients that I would rather not eat. We prefer all natural, real food ingredients.
I think I have perfected the tuna casserole recipe to eliminate all the yuck factors.
This is a great frugal lunch for our homeschool family.
For my two who don’t care for fish? They still love this! It doesn’t taste fishy at all. You can always substitute chicken or turkey or salmon! And I love all the “hidden” vegetables.
I rarely make this for dinner since my husband doesn’t care for it.at.all. But if he’s out of town or busy of a night, it’s a pinch to throw together.
I have friends who keep the cream soup base in a jar or can in their pantry. I haven’t been that proactive. It’s really just not that hard to make it fresh each time and I have little storage space.
I make a béchamel sauce and boil pretty noodles. (White Sauce – Approx: Melt a stick of butter, add 1/3 c flour, whisk, add 1 pint cream, whisk.)
Boil noodles to al dente. They’re gonna bake in that casserole and you don’t want mush.
Tuna (water and all from the can or pouch – or leftover grilled, roasted, baked tuna steak is very yum!)
Chopped veggies in a big bowl. I love, love, love roasted peppers. We canned our own last fall and wow! does that add a lovely flavor.
Lots of shredded cheese. Usually whatever I have on hand – Parmesan is a must though. A Mexican cheese blend melts just beautifully.
Here’s the casserole beauty, ready for the oven:
The Best Homemade Tuna Casserole
- 2-4 T butter
- 1/4-1/3 c AP flour
- 1-1.5 c milk or cream or half and half
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 1/4 c roasted red peppers (pimientos) chopped
- 1/4 c bell pepper (any color but green is pretty) chopped
- 1 large can tuna or a cooked tuna steak, chopped
- 12 oz noodles prepared al dente
- 1.5 c shredded cheese I like a Mexican blend + Parmesan
- 1 pinch salt to taste
- 1 pinch black pepper to taste
- 1 pinch garlic powder to taste
- Boil noodles according to directions.
- Chop onions, carrots, and peppers.
- Saute vegetables in butter with a drizzle of olive oil.
- Sprinkle 1/4 c AP flour over vegetables, then immediately whisk in cream until smooth and thick.
- Combine Bechamel sauce in a bowl with tuna and noodles and cheese.
- Spread in a large baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese.
- Bake at 350* for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like the top.