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Modern Tuna Casserole

I loved tuna casserole as a kid and found myself craving it as an adult. However, the massive amounts of fat and salt in the traditional recipe were a turnoff healthwise, and it just didn't taste as good as I remembered. I reconfigured the recipe to include more vegetables and the result was delicious. —Rebecca Blanton, St. Helena, California
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 20 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cans (5 ounces each) albacore white tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups uncooked spiral pasta
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, red pepper and mushrooms. Cook and stir until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add tuna, spinach and peas; cook until spinach is just wilted, 2-3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. In a large bowl, place pasta and tuna mixture; toss to combine. Wipe skillet clean.
  • In the same skillet, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually whisk in broth and cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes, adding reserved pasta water if needed. Stir in cheese, salt and pepper. Pour over pasta; toss to coat.
Nutrition Facts
1-3/4 cups: 372 calories, 11g fat (6g saturated fat), 47mg cholesterol, 767mg sodium, 44g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 5g fiber), 23g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2-1/2 starch, 1-1/2 fat, 1 vegetable.

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  • Dorothy
    Aug 27, 2020

    Love this recipe -- really good idea for a quick and tasty meal. For flavor I added garlic & celery to the vegs, and chili powder,a little mayo & whole grain mustard to the tuna. Cooked the white sauce in the pan I used to cook the pasta and added it along with the pasta to the tuna and veggies that I cooked in the cast iron skillet. Topped with Panko and baked in the oven at 350 for about 6 minutes. Turned out amazing!

  • Marina
    Jan 20, 2020

    A bit lack-luster in flavor. Very basic tatse. Not sure the word "modern" is warranted in the title. But for grandma's basic tuna casserole with very to-be-expected flavor, this works. But if you're looking for something fresh and/or more aligned with a modern nutritional sensibility around carb to protein balance, this is not it.

  • Maria
    Oct 15, 2019

    No comment left

  • Alice Leonetti
    May 7, 2019

    Excellent healthier option for tuna casserole.

  • Angela
    Apr 14, 2019

    Followed recipe and it was délicieux !

  • dskerr
    Apr 4, 2019

    This was wonderful. Loved that it was full of veggies and didn't use canned soup. Since there is only two of us, I cut the pasta in half and it still made more than we could eat. Will definitely be making this again.

  • bjpalmer
    Mar 14, 2019

    I followed the recipe mostly as written and it was very good. The only thing I did differently was add the whole box of noodles, which is about 4 cups uncooked and not 3. I didn't mind that it wasn't as saucy. I appreciate that even my two year old ate a bowl full and he got 6 different veggies in his belly! My dad is following a strict diet of calorie counting and I measured a portion and took to his house and he said it was very satisfying! Thank you for this recipe.

  • Sally
    Mar 6, 2019

    I read through this recipe, noted it call for half and half. The total fats were 11 gm. In a traditional tuna noodle casserole there are 4-5 gm fat. So I don't see that this is healthier. Probably won't try it.

  • KookieB
    Mar 6, 2019

    Finally a tuna casserole recipe that doesn't rely on canned cream soup! Kudos! I made a bit more sauce and used medium shell pasta as that's what I had on hand but that's not an issue here. I do prefer my casseroles baked in the oven which is what I did. Very good!

  • brelin
    Feb 3, 2019

    Made this last night, followed recipe exactly. I believe it would taste better with chicken. The veggies were a really good mix.