Tuna noodle casserole is so simple to make and yet so satisfying. This is one of my favorite back to school meal prep recipes, with just 7 ingredients! It’s dairy free, gluten free, and freezes beautifully.
Hi friends. And hello almost September. Oh my goodness we have a very full month ahead. Starting with moving…..twice.
It’s a long story, but we have been searching for a house for FOREVER and finally put an offer on one. Waiting to hear back this week! The thing is, we have to be out of our condo by the end of this week. So off to an Airbnb we go until we finalize on this house.
Needless to say we’re quite in limbo these days. But what’s new? Ha ha. That being said, I did plan on working ahead a little bit and getting some AWESOME MEAL PREP recipes out there to the world. Aka you guys. These next few recipes are meal prep and vegetarian friendly. I’m really excited about this series because they’re so much you can do with vegetarian meals. And if you want to add meat or fish, you certainly can.
Tuna noodle casserole – new and improved!
If any of your family members have a gluten and/or dairy intolerance, this casserole is for you. Sometimes food intolerances can inhibit us from getting the nutrients we need because we cannot properly digest it. This is especially true for growing kids, which is why I tweaked this tuna noodle casserole recipe a bit!
No, this is not your grandma’s tuna noodle casserole. It’s dairy free, it’s gluten and grain free, and it is one of the most delicious casseroles I’ve ever eaten. I may be biased. But yeah, this casserole has only five ingredients. OK, maybe seven if you include salt and olive oil.
So let’s start this thing. Let’s talk about how to UPGRADE the classic tuna noodle casserole.
Ingredients you need:
- Gluten Free Pasta (we love using lentil and/or chickpea based pasta. It cooks so well!)
- Your favorite flavored Hummus (I recommend a garlic or red pepper)
- Olive oil
- Tuna (canned, wild caught, drained)
- Salt and Pepper
- Veggies! Like broccoli and spinach.
Make dairy free tuna noodle casserole in 3 EASY steps!
Do you remember my 5 ingredients, 5 meals recipe post? Well this tuna noodle casserole recipe is from that post. We just made it a wee bit bigger. It’s still awesome for meal prep but if you’re looking to feed a hungry family of 5 or more (and quickly), then we’ve got that covered for ya below!
All you do is…..
- Cook up a big batch of pasta and layer it in a casserole dish. Add a splash of broth if you’re doubling the recipe. Then, toss in veggies of your choice; we chose broccoli florets.
- Mix the hummus, garlic, tuna, and olive oil. Then spread that on top of the pasta
- Stuff spinach leaves between the pasta and tuna mix! BAKE!
Shoot, I wish I had thought about this recipe when I was in college. It would have saved me from getting completely sick off of the school cafeteria tuna noodle casserole. Yes, I was that girl who went back for seconds not knowing I had a gluten and dairy intolerance. Lessons learned. But hey, maybe that’s why I do what I do today, 20 years later. Help to remedy those pesky food intolerances in the most delicious way.
Okay okay, let’s make some tuna noodle casserole!
Tuna casserole recipe Q&A
Here are a couple of the questions that may be floating in your brain about this recipe. If you have other questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to get you answers.
What type of canned tuna is the healthiest?
This is a tricky question to answer because it depends on whether you mean healthiest nutritionally or sustainably?
From a nutritional standpoint, some people might say that canned tuna packed in water is healthier, because it has less calories. While this is true, the health benefits of olive oil (what most canned tuna is packed in) shouldn’t be overlooked.
Then there is the concern over mercury levels in tuna. <— Click that link to read a helpful article written by the Environmental Defense Fund about the topic. In a nutshell, the “safest” tuna in terms of mercury content is canned light tuna, which has one-third of the mercury levels that albacore tuna has.
An even healthier option than tuna is canned salmon, which brings along a good dose of healthy fats, via Omega 3’s. Oh, and it is sustainably caught, most of it in Alaska. I think you may already know how much love I have for salmon recipes.
Can I freeze tuna noodle casserole?
Grandma usually knows best and if she froze it, I will freeze it too! Sure, the noodles may not be perfectly al dente after you warm them up a second time, but it is still a healthy delicious meal!
Before you freeze the casserole, be sure to cool it to room temperature first. As a result, you will have less risk of freezer burn. You can portion out individual sizes into meal prep containers or simply freeze the entire casserole, whichever suits your needs.
If you won’t be freezing the casserole, store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The frozen casserole will keep well for 2-3 months.
Tuna noodle casserole is one of the best back to school meal prep recipes. It’s simple to make and yet, so satisfying!
See notes first if you are doubling the recipe
- 8 oz cooked gluten free pasta or noodles (lentil pasta) (more if doubling)
- Olive Oil to drizzle (extra to mix with hummus)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz (1–2 cans drained) Albacore tuna or salmon
- 3/4 cup regular or garlic flavored hummus (divided) – see notes for other options
- 3 cups spinach leaves
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- Toss cooked pasta in 1 tbsp oil and salt/pepper to taste.
- Layer pasta on bottom of a casserole dish. 9×13 if you are doubling the recipe.
- Drain your tuna and place in bowl. Mix with 1/2 cup garlic hummus (or hummus mixed with 1 tsp minced garlic)
- Layer on top of pasta.
- In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup hummus with 2 tbsp olive oil. Whisk in a bowl until creamy.
- Layer the spinach and broccoli on top of tuna in the casserole dish. Add your creamy hummus/oil mix on top.
- Add any extra seasoning you’d like. Taste/adjust. Set aside.
- Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Freeze after cooked if using for meal prep. (Freeze for up to 3 months)
- Alternatively, you can also SKIP BAKING and just store prepped casserole in fridge, covered, until until ready to bake. Store in fridge for up to 5 days.
- If doubling add more oil to pasta first and a bit of milk or broth. Mix all together or layer. Both work! Rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice would also work to replace pasta. Feel to skip tuna for vegetarian option or add chickpeas to make vegan.
- If you want to meal prep this casserole, I recommend using this 12×8 glass meal prep casserole dish. It freezes well too!
- I like to use garlic flavored hummus for extra flavor! If you don’t have garlic hummus, just mix 1 tsp minced garlic in with the regular hummus and olive oil.
- Category: dinner
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: meal prep, gluten free, dairy free, casserole, pasta, healthy, gluten free
MEAL PREP / FREEZER MEAL TIP
If you’re looking to meal prep this tuna noodle casserole, I highly recommend using these glass casserole containers (below). They are 8×12 and freeze well too!
Okay my friends, hit me up with your favorite meal prep casserole! Do you need a way to make it gluten free or dairy free? I’m up for the challenge! Enjoy!