Tuna Casserole

This is a surprisingly lowfat version of the classic tuna casserole you grew up with. You make your own creamy mixture, which replaces the[ high-fat condensed soup in the original version. Fresh bread crumbs toast right on top of the casserole!]

Total Time:
1 hr
15 min
45 min

6 servings, serving size, 2 1/2 cups

  • 5 slices whole-wheat bread, crusts included
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large stalk celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 (10-ounce) box white mushroom, stemmed and chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 1 percent milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound whole-wheat fettuccine noodles, broken into thirds and cooked according to package directions
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 (6-ounce) cans chunk light tuna in water, drained

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place bread in food processor and pulse for 30 seconds into bread crumbs (makes about 2 1/2 to 3 cups crumbs).

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, until onions are soft and translucent, 8 minutes. Add celery and cook, stirring, until just tender, 6 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release their water, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour all at once and stir immediately and vigorously with a wooden spoon until flour is completely incorporated into vegetable mixture until there are no flour lumps. Add milk and broth, stir to combine and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to a vigorous simmer and cook, stirring, until liquid has thickened and reduced by about 1/2 cup, 7 to 8 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir to combine. Combine cooked pasta, vegetable-liquid mixture, broccoli, peas and tuna and toss to incorporate. Pour into a 9 by 13-inch casserole. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes, or until crumbs are golden brown and toasted.

Per Serving:

Calories 500; Total Fat 7 g; (Sat Fat 1.5 g, Mono Fat 2 g, Poly Fat 1 g) ; Protein 49 g; Carb 56 g; Fiber 11 g; Cholesterol 75 mg; Sodium 990 mg

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    I made this recipe based on the reviews (thanks!) and it turned out great (my 5 and 7 year old boys asked for seconds), so I'm giving it 4 stars -- OK base (3 stars) that can be made a winner. My modifications: Added 2 Tablespoons chopped garlic (from a jar, so it's milder) during the onion phase, along with hot pepper flakes through a grinding mill (about 20 turns). I salted the water somewhat for the noodles, and instead of adding salt & pepper in the recipe, used Lemon & Pepper salt, and white pepper. I added a bit of parmesan to the bread crumbs (used fewer slices). It turned out very well.
    The recpie as is would only recieve 3 stars. I used some ideas from others' reviews and made it modified from the start. So what I did: added more salt, two table spoons or so of worstishire sauce, about a table spoon of dijon mustard and I have a chipoltle pepper blend spice grinder that I kept adding and tasting until it was to our liking of heat. I also halfed the tuna amount. I also used whole milk which isn't "healthy" I guess, but I use milk and fat so rarely in my cooking anyway it didn't matter much to me. Lastly, I put a thin layer of grated parmesan cheese on top before the bread crumbs, used less than half the bread crumb to create a thin layer of crispiness, and grated another thin layer of parmesan cheese on top of that. I baked it at only 400 for 20 mins. This a good healthified version of a familiar classic I was craving. So, if you're brave enough to modify to your own taste, don't dismiss this one entirely!
    I loved this recipe. All recipes should be so that you can add what you want. I also made it gluten free by using GF pasta and flour. 
    I added some humus that I had left over in the fridge which made it really creamy.
    The recipe is pretty good, but yes, you definitely have to add more seasoning. As recommended by a few other people below, I added Curry Powder and Garlic and it came out pretty good.
    Blaw, needs more seasonings, and the bread crusts needs flavoring added.
    Not a fan of this one. VERY bland, even though I added lots of spices. Adding lots of sharp cheddar would probably help.
    I made the recipe as written, and it definitely lacks flavor and seasoning. The only flavor is tuna. It's overwhelming. I don't think I will make it again, but if I did I would use half the tuna and add lots of herbs and spices.
    Seems good, willing to try it, however it could be made simpler for a faster meal preparation time.
    Great basic recipe! I took liberties, as I ususally do with most recipes, and it worked out well. I added garlic, red pepper flakes, and a bit of hot sauce as my family likes it with a little kick. Instead of bread crumbs and fettuccine, I substituted reduced fat butter crackers to the top and no yolk egg noodles to the casserole. We will definitely have the revised version again.
    I'm glad I read the other reviews before trying this out. It DEFINITELY needs more flavor. So I added garlic, hot curry, more salt and pepper, and some half-n-half. Also had my own seasoned bread crumbs. ADD FLAVOR, but I like the health aspect of it.
    This was a good base recipe. I did make a bunch of adjustments. I added minced garlic and and curry powder. I also included asparagus (which my husband loves) We also topped with Alton Brown's Savory Polenta instead of breadcrumbs. It turned out great. I would make it again Making the polenta adds 30 to 40 more minutes of prep work.
    First of all this receipe does not take 30 or 45 minutes to prepare.I appreciated the veggies and the healthy spin. But basically it needs work! I tried adding basil and thyme and it worked out fine.Perfectly edible. Will I make this again i don't know. I think this would work better with Whole wheat rotini or something. The fettuccine absorbs all the sauce. I love Ellie and I love that she wants me to eat better but this needs work.
    I have made this several times and I do find that I have to make a few modifications in order to make it to our liking. To the sauce I add garlic, green onions, thyme, salt, pepper, and a quick shake of Parmesan cheese. After these additions we do enjoy this recipe quite a bit!
    We cut back to one seven ounce can of tuna and that was plenty. It was much too much bread on the top for us. My wife loved it.
    I love Ellie so much....but this was the worst recipe I have ever tried. My daughter and I ate a little bit of it and threw the whole thing away. Sorry, Ellie!
    I LOVE tuna casserole! But the unhealthy canned soup and other ingredients that are not fresh and healthy caused me to not make it anymore. Thank you Ellie for this healthy way to eat what for me is such wonderful comfort food. I enjoy this recipe and I find it easy to prepare. The finished product is delicious and satisfying.
    This wasn't awful but it wasn't particularly good. Not enough flavor and waay too many breadcrumbs. I tried to hae the leftovers today and ended up just throwing it away. Try a different recipe.
    The flavors are subtle (that's not a bad thing!) and balanced very well, and this was really good. Fills you up for a good while, too.

    The only things I would change are yes, it takes way longer than 15 mins prep, and if you DO cook at 425 the whole 25 mins, tent with foil for the last 10. Almost burnt that topping!
    This was my first tuna casserole and it turned out great! Like many others I did add my own ingredients: soy sauce, green bell pepper, oregano, basil and garlic all in the sauce. I also added cheddar cheese to the final mix. Really easy to make and delicious! Try it!
    I will agree with other reviews that this is mildly flavored, but my husband and I love it. Actually my husband said "don't expect me to eat much of that"..then he tried it and liked it much more than he thought he would.
    I did add extra celery, used whole-wheat flour instead of regular and panko instead of regular breadcrumbs since that is what I had on hand. I also used Ezekiel fettuccine instead of regular pasta. It could use a little salt/pepper or herbs, but that's just to taste. This will definitely stay in my regular rotation.
    We took into account others' comments and added garlic to the vegetable mixture. We felt the vegetable measurements were a little scrimpy, so we added (almost doubled) celery, broccoli, and peas. Next time we will add more mushrooms since they contributed a slight, but noticeable, flavor layer. The sauce was rather bland but came to life with some salt and pepper. We used a mixture of store bought bread crumbs and panko for the topping and thought the topping was the crowing jewel. I set the oven to 410 degrees and the panko/breadcrumbs were golden in about 15 minutes. The very mild tuna taste made the final dish delicious! It will go on our list as an absolute do over!
    I've never tried to make tuna casserole before and was glad that this recipe was so easy and quick to make, and very delicious. I'm also appreciative of the healthy ingredients. A tiny modification: I added a clove a garlic and some chopped bell peppers.
    We are enjoying this tonight. I doubled the recipe because I wanted to use the whole box of pasta and it filled my pampered chef 9 by 13 stone baker to the brim. It would have been great with no changes from me but I never cook without modifying. I added roasted red pepper chopped (Vlasic from a jar) a little sour cream in place of some of the milk and four large cloves of garlic to the onion mixture. So that my children would not notice the mushrooms, I ground them up in the food processor, leaving us with great mushroom flavor in the souce without the rubbery bites. I added at least 2 t kosher salt and black and white pepper. I would suggest tasting the sauce and adjusting seasoning until you have it the way you want. Oh yes, I grated some very good parm reg into the sauce too. The sauce thickened nicley. Some people complain that it is bland, I would point out that you should taste the sauce before you mix it in with the pasta. Also, sometimes flavors are meant to be rather subtle and it's probably appropriate for tuna casserole to be subtly flavored.
    My whole family liked it. I espically liked it because I was able to get a lot of veggies into my 6 year old son. I liked the idea of making you own sauce. It was a great way to stay away from all of that processed foods like can soups. They have nothing but sodium and artificial flavoring.
    I have not tried the original recipe b/c of the reviews. I made quite a few changes. I used 4 slices wheat bread and added 1/4 cup italian panko bread crumbs. I used olive oil and 1 1/2 tbs butter. I used 1 medium onion, 6 cloves of garlic and 2 large stalks of celery. I also used 12 oz of broccoli and peas, as well as 16 oz. of mushrooms. I then added 1/3 cup white wine to the mixture and used 3 cups milk and 1 cup fat free half and half. The only extra flavors I added were dried thyme and fresh italian parsley. To us the only other thing it needed was cheddar cheese. I added to the top of half of the casserole for my husband. I used smart taste ronzoni macaroni (it's what I had). I feel like 425 is a little high b/c it did start to brown too early. This recipe was still healthy and will go along way. It made a huge dish.
    Definitely bland and took forever to make. Had hardly any sauce. Yuck
    I made one change to this recipe, I used French fried onions for the crust. After I completed the dish I found that the only flavor that was here was the topping that I added to the dish. I do not recommend this dish. There are better tasting healthy recipes available.
    I was looking for a healthier version of an old family favorite and noted that several people said the dish needed something: spice, herbs, flavor. My family has always made tuna casserole with curry. You can add as much or as little as you like but it gives it great flavor, especially served with some fresh lemon juice and a little Parmesan cheese. Hope this helps!
    After reading earlier poster's complaints about this dish coming out bland I took it upon myself to try and doctor this recipe up a little.

    I added a teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a quarter cup of fat free sour cream, and 4 ounces of fresh grated mozzarella. End result was an "ok", but undeniably lack luster dish.

    Also, prep took much longer than outlined, and from my perspective this dish yields 8, not 6 servings.

    With my additions, 1/8th of the dish comes in just under 320 calories, 5.7 grams of fat.

    Bottom line: Ellie usually hits home runs, this one was a real let down. No worries though, you win some you lose some. Theres always the next episode to look forward to.
    As I was making this, I realized there was nothing aromatic in the dish, so I added some thyme and rosemary, but it wasn't enough to make it anything special. It definitely needs something acidic & zesty - next time, I might try it with lemon juice/zest, chili powder, and/or some monterey jack cheese.
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