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Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe

Do you guys remember the tuna noodle casserole that seemed to find itself on dinner tables everywhere in the 80’s and 90’s? I’m continuing my McCormick recipe partnership this year, and for this month’s post, they challenged me to create a lightened up comfort food favorite. Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole it was. :)

healthy tuna noodle casserole recipe

(In related news, it’s hard to make tuna + noodles look pretty… I did my best!)

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On Tuesday night, given the cold and snowy conditions outside, it seemed the perfect time to try my hand at a healthier version of this old favorite.

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To lighten up this recipe, I made a few big changes:

  • Plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo
  • Milk instead of heavy cream
  • Chicken broth instead of canned cream of mushroom soup (this grosses me out, anyway…)
  • Extra sharp cheddar instead of regular cheddar – it’s more flavorful, so you don’t need to use a ton!
  • Utilized seasonings for flavor
  • Added lots of volume and nutrients from a rainbow of veggies! I used peas, baby spinach, peppers, and onions, but mushrooms and celery would be good here, too.

healthy tuna casserole

This recipe involves a little hands on prep time, but it’s not overly complicated. There are two things you need to do before tossing it in the oven: 1) cook your pasta, and 2) sauté your veggies! First, you’ll want to sauté the onions and peppers, until the onions are translucent. Then, you add your frozen peas and fresh baby spinach, stirring until the spinach is wilted!

healthy tuna casserole ingredients

Then, you toss all the ingredients (including the now cooked pasta) into a bowl together and stir.

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Don’t forget the seasonings to amp up the flavor of this dish! You can get creative and add some other seasonings too, if you like! I decided to keep it basic. :)

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Then, pour it all into a casserole dish, pop it in the oven, and 40 minutes later, you have yourself a tasty blast from the past.

MY OTHER RECIPES


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Here’s the full recipe. Go get your 90’s on! Seriously – when Matt tried this, he said: “This tastes just like the 90’s.” Sweet. That’s what I was going for. ;) We both loved it! In fact, I’m about to enjoy some of the leftovers now for lunch…

Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole

by fANNEtastic food

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Keywords: bake saute entree tuna pasta

Ingredients (Serves 4 to 6)

  • 2 cups dry whole wheat rigatoni, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup bell peppers (any color), diced
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, packed
  • 2 and 1/2 cups frozen peas
  • 8 to 12 ounces chunk light tuna, packed in water (any amount in this range is fine)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup plain full fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk (or plain, unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Leave it "al dente" – just cooked/still a little chewy.
  • In a large pan, saute onion and bell peppers in a little oil or cooking spray over high heat for a few minutes, until onions are translucent.
  • Add baby spinach and frozen peas and reduce heat to medium. Cover, stirring occasionally, until peas are no longer frozen and spinach is fully wilted.
  • In a large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, the sauteed veggie mixture, and all other ingredients.
  • Pour mixture into a casserole dish.
  • Bake 40 minutes. Enjoy!
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Thank you to McCormick for sponsoring this post! For more ideas for better-for-you comfort food recipes, check out their website. I have my eye on this Chicken Pot Pie Soup!

Were you a tuna noodle casserole fan? What were your other favorite 90’s-tastic casseroles? I might try to recreate more of them! :)

If you missed my previous McCormick posts, check those out, too:

Comments

  1. 1

    Oh yes…Tuna Noodle Casserole was my FAV! Saving this one :)

  2. 2

    As a kid tuna casserole was one of my favorites things my mom made. I will be making this!

  3. 3

    Is it possible to substitute the rigatoni for another kind of pasta like penne? Looks delicious!

    • 4

      Definitely! Any kind of pasta will work – any shape, and also any variety like brown rice pasta or quinoa pasta if gluten free is needed!

  4. 5

    I’m so happy to see you promoting FULL FAT ingredients! I think the low fat craze has had some of the worse health effects on this country. Our bodies need that fat in a good balance!

  5. 7

    Yummy, I made something similar last week, but with quinoa

  6. 8

    Canned fish is such a lifesaver! I’m more of a salmon and sardine fan though!!!

  7. 9

    That looks soo good. Tuna noodle casserole is weirdly the only thing I miss now that I’m a vegetarian.

  8. 10

    I remember having tuna noodle casserole as a kid every once in awhile. It definitely wasn’t my favorite so I haven’t had it since as an adult. I like all the veggies in this version though.

  9. 11

    Bon Appetit featured a “grown-up” tuna noodle casserole a few years ago with leeks, gruyere, and fresh dill. It’s become one of our favorite dinners. And it’s super easy too!

  10. 14

    I was craving tuna noodle casserole a couple of weeks ago and my mom made it for our weekly dinner date….craving satisfied! So GOOD!!

  11. 15

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is not too fond of creamy of mushroom (or any other canned cream) soup :)

  12. 16
    Roadrunner says:

    A time-honored classic! Thanks –

  13. 17

    I love tuna casserole – true comfort food! My mom’s recipe was: cooked white rice, thawed frozen peas, a can of cheddar cheese soup, and a big can of tuna – layered in that order in a casserole dish and microwaved. :-) As nostalgic as that is, I think your variation is a bit healthier! I also like mixing in a packet or can of tuna and some thawed peas into mac & cheese for a one-bowl meal that has plenty of protein… it’s kind of like ghetto tuna casserole. LOL

  14. 19

    Tuna and noodle casserole was one of my go-to dishes when my kids were small. I think the fact that I told them it was “Ninja Noodles” (during the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phase) helped make it a favorite. Your updated version looks good!

  15. 21

    I love tuna casserole – it was definitely a staple in our family home. I do have a version I make very occasionally … but I think I might have to make a batch soon – yours looks so yum!

  16. 22

    My mom’s tuna casserole has become a comfort staple in my recipe box, even though the condensed cream of celery soup grosses me out when it glops out of the can. I think I’ll have to give yours a try sometime, though I may stick with elbow macaroni and add a little whole wheat bread crumb/paprika topping before it goes in the oven.

  17. 23

    Looks delicious Anne! I have not had tuna in years and find myself craving it now. Is there a brand you could recommend? Thanks!

  18. 25

    I made this last night and it was awesome. I have always been a sucker for my mom’s tuna casserole (but the pure, not-so-healthy, actually from the 90’s one), but this totally hit the spot. I didn’t have enough spinach (end of the week, so end of the spinach box!), but i just added what I had left. Easy, too!

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