Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
This Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole is a gluten free and dairy free version of old fashioned tuna noodle casserole! Just like mom used to make, except without the canned cream of mushroom soup. It’s made with a delicious homemade dairy free cream of mushroom soup, gluten free pasta, and finished with a grain free pork panko topping. Comfort food at it’s finest!
One of my favorite dishes that I grew up loving is Tuna Casserole – otherwise known as Tuna Tetrazzini or Homemade Tuna Helper. Typically it is made with pasta, a creamy sauce, peas, tuna, and topped with crackers or breadcrumbs. This healthy tuna bake has all the flavors of the version you grew up loving, except it’s made with better-for-you ingredients!
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What Makes This Tuna Noodle Casserole Healthy?
Instead of using regular pasta, this casserole is made with gluten free 100% brown rice noodles. In addition, there is no cow’s milk dairy included. Traditional tuna casserole is made with canned cream of mushroom soup, which is often loaded with gluten, dairy, soy, MSG, and other additives. This recipe uses a simple homemade cream of mushroom soup made with coconut milk, cashews, and chicken broth. It does take a little more work, but I can promise you it is worth it and won’t leave you feeling sluggish!
Ingredients Needed To Make Gluten Free Tuna Casserole
See the recipe card below for full ingredient list & quantities – this is just an overview!
Tuna – I like to use Wild Planet or Safe Catch brands. I can usually find one of the two in bulk at Costco. You want to look for tuna that is just packed with water and/or salt.
Gluten Free Pasta – Any shape will work for this recipe. I used Jovial Foods Gluten Free Shells, which are made from brown rice. Jovial is my favorite gluten free pasta brand. The taste and texture is so similar to regular pasta! It is sold at most grocery stories and also online on Thrive market.
Mushrooms – Cremini or regular white sliced mushrooms will work fine.
Frozen or canned peas
Ghee or vegan butter – Ghee is clarified butter where the milk solids have been removed. If you have an allergy to dairy, vegan butter is a great alternative.
Sherry – This adds a lot of flavor to the cream of mushroom soup. You can buy cooking sherry at most grocery stores.
Chicken broth – I love using Kettle & Fire brand because it tastes delicious and is made with clean ingredients. Code MARY will get you 20% off their website!
Coconut milk – Look for full-fat canned. You want to use the thick, white part.
Raw, unsalted cashews – You can find these on Amazon, Thrive Market, or at Trader Joe’s.
Pork Panko – I love this as a breadcrumb alternative. If you don’t have it or can’t find it, you can substitute crushed up potato chips or gluten free crackers!
How To Make Dairy Free Tuna Noodle Casserole
(See recipe card for full instructions!)
1. Preheat your oven and grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
2. Cook the gluten free pasta 3-4 minutes less than the package recommends. It will finish cooking in the oven.
3. Heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until softened.
4. Add in the sherry. Stir. Add in the chicken broth and spices. Let it simmer while you make the cashew cream.
5. Add the cashew cream ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend for 1 minute or until very creamy. Pour it into the pan and stir over medium heat. It should thicken after 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the peas and drained tuna into the pan and stir.
7. Combine the tuna mixture with the pasta and transfer to the casserole dish. Top with pork Panko or the crushed crackers / chips and bake for 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Can you make tuna noodle casserole nut free? Yes, to make this nut free, simply omit the cashew cream. Instead, stir in 1 cup of coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the pan. Bring to a boil, then add a slurry made from 1 tbsp arrowroot powder + 2 tbsp water to the pan. Stir over medium heat until thickened. It won’t have quite the same consistency as the original version, but will still be delicious!
Is Tuna Noodle Casserole Keto? No, this casserole is not Keto since it uses rice pasta. To make a low carb version, simply sub in 12 oz of veggie noodles like hearts of palm or zoodles!
How to freeze lightened up tuna noodle casserole: Simply bake per the directions then cool completely. Cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking.
How long does gluten free tuna casserole last in the fridge? Up to 3 days!
If you try this Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole, be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations! If you try it and love it, the best way to say thanks is to leave a 5-star rating and review below!
Other Gluten Free Dairy Free Pasta Recipes:
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Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
- 12 oz gluten free pasta , I used 1 box Jovial Foods GF shells
- 1 tbsp ghee, or vegan butter
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
- ½ onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp sherry
- 1 ¼ cup chicken broth, can sub veggie broth
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 3 cans tuna, drained and broken up using a fork
- 1 cup peas, thawed if previously frozen
- ½ cup Pork Panko, or crushed up potato chips or gluten free crackers
- 9x13 inch casserole dish
- 12 inch skillet
- Preheat your oven to 375 and lightly grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook gluten free pasta 3-4 minutes less than the package calls for. For example, for the Jovial shells I cooked them for 8 minutes instead of 12. They will finish cooking in the oven!
- Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Sauté for 5-7 minutes until softened and the mushrooms have sweat off some of their liquid.
- Pour in the sherry and stir.
- Add in the chicken broth, thyme and salt. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Let it simmer while you make the cashew cream.
- Add the coconut milk, cashews, water, lemon juice (or ACV), and salt to a high powered blender. Blend on high for 1 minute or until the mixture is very smooth and creamy.
- Pour the cashew cream into the pan and stir while cooking over medium heat. It should bubble and thicken after 1-2 minutes.
- Add the peas and the drained tuna to the pan and stir.
- Add the drained pasta to the pan and mix everything together. This can also be done right in the casserole dish!
- Add the mixture to the casserole dish and top with Pork Panko (or crushed up chips or crackers).
- Bake for 25 minutes until the sides are bubbling. Serve and enjoy!