Every year, when Lent arrives, the hubby begs for tuna casserole. I’ve ditched the canned soup and bargain basement tuna, and whipped up a darned tasty Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch.
Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch
Bill grew up on the same tuna casserole that my mom made and served with a canned tuna, canned cream of mushroom soup and a topping of crushed potato chips. It was one of only two seafood items that he would eat when we got married. The other was made from a can of salmon.
Quite the seafood connoisseur, eh? I couldn’t handle all the sodium and finally drew the line and only made tuna casserole on rare occasions during Lent. That is, until I started making a tuna noodle casserole from scratch AKA tuna casserole without canned soup!
No Soup Tuna Casserole
Ironically, when my parents were newlyweds, my mom made her tuna casserole many, many times. Being Catholic, back in the day, they had to abstain from meat every single Friday. Eager to please his new wife, my dad threw her a compliment or two and she made this dish nearly every Friday from then on.
He finally couldn’t bear it anymore and told her to cease and desist! Thank goodness there are many more Lenten dinner options available to home cooks these days. I bet my dad would have enjoyed this no soup tuna casserole chock full of mushrooms and veggies.
Tips for the Best Tuna Casserole from Scratch:
- Buy the best tuna you can afford. I purchase jarred tuna in olive oil instead of cans. It’s a little pricey, but the quality is definitely a notch or more better.
- Ditch the soup and instead make a creamy sauce from scratch. I use Wondra flour as it’s way less likely to make a lumpy sauce, cream for added richness, then two types of grated cheese to push it over the top.
- Since we’re not using cream of mushroom soup, I like to add sliced mushrooms to the mix. Frozen peas, and diced red bell pepper add some color to a dish that would be awfully bland looking without them.
- Feel free to top with crushed buttery crackers or buttered bread crumbs before baking if that’s your preference.
- I used this lovely Emile Henry Oval Baker to bake and serve.
More Lenten Entrees You’ll Love:
- 5 Easy Fish Recipes for Lent from Garnish with Lemon
- Light Fettuccine Alfredo from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Cioppino -Italian Seafood Stew from Foodie with Family
- Penne Alla Vodka from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Parmesan Crusted Fish with Lemon and Capers from Aggie’s Kitchen
- Spinach Ravioli Bake by Our Good Life
- Spinach Ricotta Pasta Bake by The Bitter Side of Sweet
- Vegetarian Baked Pasta with Spinach and Gruyère by Cooking Chat
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons white wine, I use vermouth if I don't have a bottle open
- 2 (6.7 ounce) jars tuna filets in olive oil, drained
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 8 ounces egg noodles, about 4 cups
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour, I used Wondra
- 1 cup heavy cream, warmed
- 2 cups chicken broth (if your broth is salty, you may not need to add anymore salt)
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup frozen peas
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they start to soften, then add bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt a few grinds of black pepper and cook until liquid evaporates. Add white wine and cook until that evaporates. and mushrooms are browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
Add mixture to a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, add drained tuna and lemon juice. Using a fork, break the tuna into bite-sized pieces and gently mix so the lemon juice is distributed. Set aside.
In the same pan, melt 2 more tablespoons butter. Add flour and whisk to combine and cook for about a minute. Whisk in warm cream and cook until flour is incorporated, then add chicken broth and continue to cook until mixture thickens. Whisk in both cheeses.
Cook pasta in well salted water until just al dente. Drain and add to bowl with vegetables. Add peas and tuna. Gently toss to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Preheat oven to 350º.
Place in a greased. 2-quart baking dish. Cover with foil. Bake for about 25 minutes or until heated through. Uncover and broil for 2 minutes or until top just starts to brown. Serve hot.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1107 Total Fat: 98g Saturated Fat: 29g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 136mg Sodium: 851mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 7g Protein: 18g