This Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole is a lightened-up version of the classic American dish! Made with plenty of veggies, pasta, a light and cheesy sauce, and of course, tuna, this tasty casserole is a perfect family dinner.
You know those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking? That means it’s time to pull out the casserole dish! Casseroles, like my Whole30 breakfast casserole and potato chicken sausage casserole, are perfect for lazy days in the kitchen because you can just toss a bunch of ingredients in the dish, bake them all together, and still end up with a healthy meal!
This healthy tuna noodle casserole recipe is no different. It’s a creamy, veggie-packed dinner that explodes with flavor. Every bite is SO comforting!
A classic tuna noodle casserole is usually made with cream of mushroom soup, egg noodles, and tuna, but I’ve kept things simple in this recipe. Instead of the usual stuff, you’ll find plenty of simple vegetables, healthy tuna in water, frozen peas, and a lightened-up cheese sauce. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients too. This recipe is super flexible!
- Made with a mix of classic ingredients and healthy substitutions so you can feel good about every bite.
- Made without soup and instead using a healthier homemade mushroom sauce.
- It’s really flexible! There are many substitutions available, so you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want.
- It may be a healthy dinner, but it’s full of the creamy and savory flavors you know and love.
- Canned tuna - Make sure to drain the water from the cans so the casserole doesn’t turn out too watery. Canned wild caught albacore tuna is the healthiest option for this casserole because it’s low in calories and packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Chunk light tuna also works but its texture is more flaky than chunky.
- Pasta - Regular short pasta noodles, egg noodles, or gluten free noodles will all work.
- Vegetables - You’ll find all of the classics in this recipe, like mushrooms, onion, garlic, and frozen peas. Add in more if you’d like! Frozen carrots, broccoli, spinach, green beans, or corn would all work well.
- Chicken broth - While chicken broth pairs very well with the savory ingredient in this casserole, you could use bone broth for some added nutrients.
- Unsweetened almond milk - Dairy free milk will help lighten up the casserole. Feel free to use another unsweetened plant milk you like or regular milk instead.
- Flour - A little all purpose flour mixed with the broth and milk creates a type of slurry that’s needed to help thicken the casserole.
- Breadcrumbs - For a crunchy topping. These can easily be omitted if you need the casserole to be gluten free or you can substitute them with crushed plain potato chips or crackers to give each bite a classic salty flavor.
Step 1: Cook the pasta. Cook your pasta noodles in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Step 2: Sauté the vegetables. Melt the butter in a large oven-safe skillet. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes before stirring in the peas, thyme, and salt.
Step 3: Make the sauce. Whisk the chicken broth, almond milk, and flour together in a bowl. Pour it into the skillet and bring it up to a boil. Afterward, reduce the heat and stir in the cheese.
Step 4: Add the tuna and pasta. To finish, stir the canned tuna and cooked pasta noodles into the skillet. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top.
Step 4: Bake, then enjoy. Bake the tuna casserole until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- Not into tuna? Swap it for shredded chicken instead!
- If you don’t own an oven-safe skillet, you can still make the filling in a skillet on the stove. Just transfer the mixture to a greased 9”x9” baking dish when it’s ready to bake.
- Feel free to stir some parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs to help the topping taste cheesier.
- Bake the casserole uncovered so the breadcrumbs get nice and crispy.
Can tuna noodle casserole be made gluten free?
Yes! Just use gluten free pasta noodles, swap the all purpose flour for gluten free flour, and either omit the breadcrumbs or replace them with gluten free breadcrumbs or crushed potato chips.
Can you make it without dairy? What about gluten?
Tuna casserole can easily be made dairy free by omitting the shredded cheese. To make it gluten-free, use your favorite gluten free pasta, use gluten free all purpose 1:1 flour, and use gluten free breadcrumbs on top.
What can you serve with a healthy tuna noodle bake?
- Make ahead: Instead of baking the casserole, assemble it fully (without the breadcrumb topping) and transfer it to an airtight container or baking dish with a lid and freeze. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before baking.
- Refrigerator: Wrap up the leftovers and store them in the fridge for 1 or 2 days.
- Freezer: Any leftoverscan be kept frozen for up to 3 months.
More healthy dinner recipes
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Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 8 oz. pasta
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 8 oz. bella mushrooms sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup peas frozen
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 5 oz. tuna in water drained
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- Cook the pasta over the stove until it's al dente; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°.
- Next, melt the butter in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes before adding in the peas, thyme and salt and cooking for 2 more minutes.
- While everything is cooking, whisk the broth, milk and flour together in a bowl, then pour that mixture into the skillet. Bring it to a boil and boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium-low and add in the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted.
- Last, stir in the tuna and cooked pasta. Remove the skillet from the heat and sprinkle the whole casserole with breadcrumbs. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!