Sometimes I want a lightened up casserole, that’s still hearty- which is where this Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole comes in. Served hot or cold, it’s an easy dinner the whole family looks forward to that can also serves a crowd.
Every now and then I’m looking for a change from our typical chicken or beef-based meals- especially during Lent.
A lot of times I will just go meatless, but last week I was still craving something ‘meaty’. I mean it’s cold out still, and that still demands hearty comfort food for me.
This hot tuna noodle casserole checked all the boxes, and sure hit the spot at dinner time.
Everyone liked it so much that we made it again, over the weekend, as a cold pasta salad for lunch. I love that it is equally yummy, whichever way you decide to serve it.
I know everyone has their brands they prefer and remain loyal too, but tuna is one of those things where I will pay for quality.
This meal deserves a quality tuna. I go with Costco’s Kirkland brand solid white albacore. Less fishy flavor, more actual tuna meat, no oil or grease, and I haven’t come across a bone yet.
I can’t do large ‘chunks’ so I use a fork to gently, and easily, break it up before adding it to the recipe.
I know there may be some of you that are immediately shying away from this dish because, well it’s called Tuna Noodle Casserole, and for some (and thanks to the ’50’s) it may bring up some bad memories.
It was alllllll the rage in that decade, and usually included some variation of fishy protein, veggies, pasta noodles, and a creamy binder- typically in the form of a ‘cream of’ soup. Simply, frugal (which was understandably a need and all the rage, because well unprecedented convenience).
Still, without a lot of variety and without a bevy of flavor from a well-stocked cabinet, it could be pretty ho hum, and down right dreaded fare if it made a regular occurrence on the family table.
We’ve made sure to remedy all of that with this version.
Egg noodle pasta, flaked albacore tuna, crisp veggies, and shredded sharp cheddar are tossed in a cool, creamy seasoned Greek yogurt sauce. Spread in a casserole dish, sprinkled with savory lemon pepper bread crumbs, and baked- this Tuna Noodle Casserole is not even close to Grandma’s recipe.
It’s better, and not a single bit ashamed to flaunt it. Sorry, Grandma!
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Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 12 oz egg noodles cooked according to package instructions
- 1 cup red onion diced
- 1/2 cup celery diced
- 1 cup frozen peas thawed
- 12 ounces canned tuna drained and flaked (tuna packed in water works best)
- 1/2 of a lemon juiced
- salt & black pepper to taste
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 2 tsp spicy mustard
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp lemon pepper
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, onion, celery, peas, and tuna. Squeeze the lemon juice over the contents of the bowl (being careful not to drop seeds in). Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, to taste.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, Cheddar cheese, spicy mustard, red wine vinegar, parsley, and lemon pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta/tuna mixture in the larger bowl and stir or toss to coat.
- If you are serving this casserole cold, empty the contents into your serving dish, sprinkle the top with the Panko breadcrumbs, and refrigerate for at least an hour (to let the flavors meld).
- If you are serving this hot, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 x 13 casserole with non-stick cooking spray or vegetable oil. Spread the noodle mixture evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the Panko bread crumbs over the top. You can also sprinkle with a little extra cheese if you like.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, just until it’s heated through and the sauce begins to bubble a little.