Transform a classic dish into a nutrient-rich, gluten free, dairy free, comfort food with the Best Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe! Made with just a few simple ingredients, it bakes in the oven in minutes for an easy dinner the whole family will enjoy!
Not Your Grandma’s Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
Did you grow up eating tuna noodle casserole? It was a staple in our house! And while I loved the creamy, cheesy goodness of it, it’s not always the most allergy-friendly or nutritious recipe out there. Until now! We took the classic tuna noodles casserole recipe and transformed it into a gluten free casserole and made it dairy free with real food ingredients! Every bit as comforting as you remember, this version is loaded with nutrients and fiber and is perfect for easy weeknight meals and family-friendly meal prep. Dinner doesn’t get better than that!
Health Benefits of Canned Tuna
Not only is it cost-effective and easy to use, but canned tuna is also super good for you, too! For instance, a complete source of high-quality protein, canned tuna is also high in omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, consuming it as part of a healthy diet can help:
- Reduce blood pressure
- Lower triglyceride levels
- Improve eye health
- Strengthen your bones
- Build muscle
- And more!
Real Food Ingredients You’ll Need
This easy tuna noodle casserole recipe comes together with the typical ingredients you’d expect to see like tuna and pasta, of course! However, it also features a few items you might not think of when it comes to classic tuna noodle casserole. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Gluten Free Pasta – We like this gluten free pasta, but any you have on hand can be used.
- Light Olive Oil – This helps add flavor and healthy fats while preventing the noodles from clumping together. We prefer light olive oil as its neutral flavor allows the rest of the ingredients to shine through, but regular olive oil or avocado oil can be used, too.
- Salt and Pepper – Adjust according to taste.
- Canned Albacore Tuna – We recommend using tuna packed in water, and draining it well.
- Hummus – In a tuna noodle casserole?! Yep! You read that right. Plain chickpea hummus helps create a smooth, creamy texture without the need for dairy.
- Minced Garlic – Used to add a savory kick.
- Veggies – Pack in tons of nutrients with fresh spinach leaves and broccoli florets!
Flavor Variations and Substitutes
As with most casserole recipes, this easy tuna noodle casserole can easily be adjusted to fit a variety of needs and flavor preferences. So, feel free to experiment with different ingredients. For instance, some of our favorite variations include:
- Swap Out the Pasta: Use cooked rice, cooked quinoa, or cauliflower rice instead!
- Hummus: Skip a step by omitting the minced garlic and opting for garlic-flavored hummus instead.
- Protein: If preferred, canned salmon can be used in place of tuna. Or, leave it out altogether for a vegetarian option.
- Use Different Veggies: Feel free to mix and match any veggies you have on hand like zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and peas!
How to Make the Best Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe
Easy to toss together, this is the best tuna noodle casserole recipe you’ll ever make because it bakes in just 30 minutes or less!
- Prepare the Gluten Free Pasta. Gently toss the cooked pasta with oil, salt, and pepper. Then, layer it in the bottom of a 9×9 casserole dish.
- Create the Tuna Mixture. In a small mixing bowl, combine the drained tuna, part of the hummus, and the garlic. Spread the mixture in an even layer on top of the pasta.
- Combine the Ingredients. Next, using the same bowl, combine the rest of the hummus with more olive oil. Layer the veggies on top of the tuna, and dollop the hummus mixture on top. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bake. Place the dish in the oven until the top is golden brown, and serve warm!
Pro-Tip: If doubling the recipe, use a 9×13 pan, and add more oil to the pasta along with a bit of non-dairy milk or broth if the pasta is dry.
Make Ahead and Storage Options
The best tuna noodle casserole for meal prep, this budget-friendly recipe stores well, meaning leftovers can be enjoyed for days!
Make Ahead: If you want to prepare ahead of time, you can layer the ingredients, and store them covered in the oven for 2-3 days. Then, just pop the dish in the oven when you’re ready to bake!
Refrigerator: Once cooled, leftover casserole can be transferred to an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer: For a longer-lasting option, freeze your cooked tuna noodle casserole for up to 3 months.
To Reheat: When you’re ready to eat, let your casserole thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, warm it up in the oven, or pop it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until it is heated through!
Tuna Noodle Casserole Recipe: Common Questions
The most common reason why your casserole might turn out dry is using the wrong-sized baking dish. For the best results, double-check that it 9×13. Also, be sure to thoroughly toss the noodles in oil! If they look dry, add a little more or a splash of non-dairy milk or broth.
Yes, be sure to cook your noodles according to the package instructions, and drain them completely before adding them to the casserole dish.
If your ingredients aren’t binding together, add an extra dollop of hummus to help thicken the dish up.
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Do you have questions, feedback, or tips about this recipe? Leave a comment below with any questions or feedback you’d like to share!