One of my favourite childhood comfort foods was Tuna Casserole. Next to Shake N’ Bake pork chops (remember those?), it was my most requested dinner. I seriously haven’t thought about making it in years, mostly because of its main ingredients of tinned cream of mushroom soup (ick) and nutritionally void macaroni. So, recently, I’ve been craving tuna and thought I should try my hand at recreating my old favourite. I must be feeling nostalgic. The party got started when I rocked these Homemade Tater Tots, another blast from the past, so my confidence level was pretty high that I could do some Tuna Casserole proud. Let’s go!
My plan to make a gluten free version began with these brown rice pasta shells.
They are my go to for noodle dishes like this Honour System favourite, pasta in a light rose sauce.
While the noodles are cooking, I started cooking up my veggies. I know that peas are the typical green vegetable in a tuna casserole but to be quite honest, I kinda can’t stand peas. I do, however, love me some kale! So, peas are out, thinly sliced lacinto kale is in. Mixed with some minced onion, it was perfect.
To make the sauce thick like a condensed soup I used a mixture of broth, milk and gluten free all-purpose flour. It worked like a charm. Stir in the cooked pasta shells and we’re almost good to go.
My mom always topped the casserole with cheddar cheese and it got all bubbly on top in the oven. To be perfectly frank I think this was really the main reason I loved tuna casserole. Anything cheesy is right up my alley. I had a friend who’s mom crushed potato chips overtop. When I was remembering that I had a brainstorm.
Why not sprinkle some fibre boosting goodness on this casserole? I used the Daily Cleanse blend from North Coast Naturals that made my Carrot Muffins so deliciously nutritious. Ground flax would probably work just as good.
This does not mean I didn’t add cheese. I haven’t completely lost my mind. 😉
After some cooking time in the oven then a quick stint under the broiler, my experiment was ready for tasting.
The verdict? Honestly? I think it was better than my old childhood fave. I loved the creamy sauce, the kale and I especially enjoyed the crunch on top from the cheese and flaxseed blend. Yum.
Don’t mind me while I pat myself on the back. Right after I’m finished shoveling casserole in my mouth! 🙂
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- 2 cups brown rice pasta shells
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion minced fine
- 3 tbsp gluten free all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sliced kale
- 1 can line caught tuna in water drained
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp Ultimate Daily Cleanse or ground flax
- sea salt & pepper to taste
- Cook noodles in salted water according to package directions, ensuring to not overcook (even undercooking by a minute is good as the noodles cook further when the casserole is in the oven).
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add onions cook on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in kale and stir for another minute. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and stir well, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes on medium-low heat
- Preheat oven to 375° and grease a casserole dish (I used a 12 x 8 dish)
- Slowly whisk in the broth until well combined, increasing heat to medium and whisking well for 30 seconds, then add the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally until it thickens (about 7 to 9 minutes). Add drained tuna, stirring another minute.
- Remove from heat and add the noodles to the sauce and mix well until evenly coated. Pour into the buttered casserole dish and top with the cheeses and flaxseed blend. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn on the broiler. Place under the broiler a few minutes to brown the top, ensuring to not burn