When I think tuna salad, I think delicious. Then I think mayo. SO MUCH MAYO.
When I think tuna noodle casserole, I think loads of cheese, mayo and condensed mushroom soup. Then I think modified food starch, MSG and soy protein concentrate. Oh ya know, ingredients I’d prefer not to eat with a spoon.
So you can imagine my glee when I found this little gem in the back of the pantry next to an unopened box of whole-wheat shells. Hmmmmm. What to do, what to do.
I’ve been trying to make a dent in all the random things I have laying around the pantry, from cans of beans and bags of lentils to boxes of pasta. When I found the can of soup and the shells, I instantly thought of making a mushroom soup based sauce and calling it a day. Then I found the two cans of tuna and it was basically like being asked by the tuna noodle gods to make tuna noodle casserole. I knew there were frozen peas in the freezer and a sad bunch of kale dying to be included in all the fun, too.
This isn’t your usual super unhealthy tuna noodle casserole loaded with mayonnaise and condensed soup. I don’t do condensed soup. Oh no. Even though this version is much healthier than the original, it really doesn’t taste like it. It’s light, rich, hearty and comforting all in one bite. Plus, it’s incredibly filling from the fiber in the pasta and peas and the protein in the tuna. I mean it’s not like that stopped me from eating a fourth of the pan in one sitting in less than five minute….but whatever. This version uses whole-wheat shells, natural mushroom soup without scary ingredients, a bit of cheese and of course, the queen of greens– kale. Toss a handful of dark leafy greens in a casserole of comfort food and BAM! Call it healthy.
I really wanted to sprinkle breadcrumbs on top but I never ever buy bread crumbs. I usually just toast a piece or two of bread and then grind it up in the food processor to make homemade bread crumbs. This time I wanted something with even more crunch, so I ended up using a whole grain Wasa cracker. It worked really well and ended up being about 1/4 cup of “breadcrumbs.” Feel free to improvise and make your own bread crumbs with cereal, crackers, bread or whatever you fancy!
You can totally eat this in your skinny jeans and have a big fat piece of dark chocolate afterwards.
Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 2 cups whole-wheat pasta shells
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 cup kale (or spinach), chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 2 5oz cans tuna, drained
- 1 14.5oz can ready-to-serve cream of mushroom soup (not condensed)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp salt (to taste, depending on saltiness of soup)
- 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup shredded cheese (I used a four cheese blend)
- ¼ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp shredded cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 7in x 11in baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions and then set aside.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, kale and mushroom and sautee for about seven minutes, or until softened.
- Add in peas and tuna and stir to combine.
- Add soup, garlic powder and salt and bring to a light boil.
- Add flour, whisking constantly until throughly combined. Mixture will begin to thicken.
- Remove mixture from heat. Stir in pasta and ¼ cup cheese.
- Pour mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Hey there, mediterranean tuna salad. You’ve got some serious competition.