Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole – From Scratch

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on March 12, 2012

OK, so tuna casserole is not exactly my favorite food.  It’s one of those things I remember having as a kid – and liking – but it wasn’t something I totally craved or anything.  I guess I have pregnancy to blame for randomly thinking of – and wanting – tuna casserole.  Plus, I’ve been on a casserole kick.  Plus, anything made from scratch that is usually highly processed and loaded with not-so-good for you ingredients always grabs my attention so I thought it might grab yours too.

Even though this turned out so delicious, and way healthier than the traditional version, I’m kind of saddened.  Yes, it takes a little longer than opening some cans.  I feel kind of silly pointing it out, but sadly I know that’s why a lot of people are turned off of making anything from scratch.  But I will tell you, it’s totally worth it!  The soup can be made ahead of time, or even if you make a double batch a few days before, this can be a meal made from the leftovers after you’ve already enjoyed mushroom soup for a couple days.  Plus, this recipe makes quite a bit, so instead of all that effort for one meal, you might get a couple out of it or at least enough leftovers for a few lunches.  It really is WELL worth the effort.

For the vegetarians reading, yes this has tuna in it like the traditional version.  But I totally think you could leave it out.  I’ve even seen chickpeas to replace tuna in a few different recipes so you could try that for a different variation that I’m sure would be delicious.  In fact I think I might try using just one can of drained and rinsed chickpeas instead of the tuna next time 🙂

[print_this]Creamy Mushroom Tuna Casserole – From Scratch

Serves 6-8

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium sized onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 3 stalks celery, divided
  • 1 lb mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour(whole grain works just as well)
  • 2 1/2 C milk
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt + extra to taste
  • black pepper to taste(up to 1/4 tsp)


  • 2-3 C frozen or fresh peas
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cans tuna packed in water, drained
  • 300g dry whole grain pasta, cooked in well salted water

Start with one batch of Creamy Mushroom Soup or about 4C if you’ve made more than the original recipe – for more details see the original post, a simplified version is as follows.  Heat the butter in a medium sized pot over medium heat.  Saute half the chopped onions and 2/3rds of the celery until mostly softened about 6-7 minutes (I choose not to cook all the vegetables at this point, and add some lately because I enjoy the change in texture – feel free to add all the chopped onion and celery at this point if you want).  Add the chopped mushrooms and stir well.  Cook until soft.  Add the flour and mix well before stirring in the milk(for this casserole, reduce the milk slightly so that the casserole is not too wet).  Bring up to a boil and simmer for a couple minutes.  Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper, adding more to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a casserole dish by lightly spraying it with oil.  In a large bowl combine the cooked pasta, tuna, peas, the remaining chopped onion(1 medium) and celery(1 large stalk), the soup mixture and at least 1/2 tsp extra salt.  Mix well, taste for seasonings and add salt as needed and pour into the prepared casserole dish.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden on top, adding about 1/2-3/4C of breadcrumbs to the top in the last 5 minutes of baking if desired.[/print_this]

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TjNurse April 26, 2014 at 21:32

I just made this and it was very good! It was a tad dry, from cooking the milk mixture a little too long, but it had great flavor and I will make it again. Thanks for the great recipe!


2 Nicole, RD March 16, 2012 at 11:50

YAY! You just made my week! I have been craving this (despite the warm weather), but refuse to buy creamed canned soups. THANK YOU!


3 Mel March 16, 2012 at 09:31

I have been craving pork chop and rice casserole, and am going to make it this weekend with some homemade cream of something soup, and decided I wanted to make a tuna casserole as well while I am at it. Just googled and came upon your post. This looks so good, I can’t wait to make it! I don’t like mushrooms, but I am going to probably make cream of celery and use that. I am also not a big fan of tuna casseroles, but your pictures are making me want some right now!


4 Debbie March 14, 2012 at 16:15

Is that 2 1/2 CUPS of milk?


5 Heidi @ Food Doodles March 14, 2012 at 16:41

Yes! Sorry about that, I’ll change that 🙂


6 Amanda March 14, 2012 at 14:37

wow! such an amazing blog you have here 😀 just discovered it!



7 myfudo March 14, 2012 at 09:39

I love tuna. I know Lent is supposed to be a time for fasting and abstinence but I can’t help but have another serving of this dish. Perhaps I’ll just fast and abstain from opening my FB page…LOL! Thanks for sharing!


8 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} March 14, 2012 at 08:20

I love this! My parents didn’t make things like tuna casserole growing up, but I had it at friends’ houses and always loved it. I have no idea if my husband likes tuna casserole, but I’m going to check with him and if he does, I’ll be making this very soon.


9 Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes March 13, 2012 at 16:21

I am not in love with mushrooms, but this has me changing my mind! It looks and sounds amazing! I love tuna, and the mushrooms sound so good with it. Your pictures are beautiful. You captured the yumminess of this dish very well!


10 Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather March 13, 2012 at 10:17

Growing up I never had tuna casserole, and still I think I’ve only had it once or twice in my life… Seeing this makes me want to have it again! Oh and pregnancy and wanting strange things… Right there with ya 🙂


11 Eat Good 4 Life March 12, 2012 at 16:54

Not only I love tuna but I also adore pasta. Carbs are probably 60% of my diet 🙂 Making this from scratch is not only more economical (because you get a bunch more of it) but is way more nutritious and tasty than the process versions out there that are loaded with sodium and bad fats. To me is a no brainer but for those people that are not used to cooking from scratch, well I guess there is some getting use to it 🙂


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