YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Dinner Tonight! | The Lighter Side

Tuna Casserole That's Homey, Not Heavy


A tuna noodle casserole is the ultimate comfort food, in my book. But the downside of the homey, traditional casserole is its fat and calories. With cream of mushroom soup, half-and-half, tuna packed in oil, butter--it's loaded.

This reduced-fat version still has the flavor of those tuna noodle casseroles from childhood, but skips the soup and uses nonfat milk and nonfat half-and-half. The nonfat half-and-half, which can be used like regular half-and-half in most recipes, can be found in the dairy case at well-stocked supermarkets.

I like to use a small amount of butter for brushing the casserole, adding a bit in the cream sauce and toasting the bread crumbs. With all the fat that has been cut, a little butter is worth it.

Homey Tuna Noodle Casserole

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


2 tablespoons butter, divided

Nonstick cooking spray

1/4 cup minced onion

1 cup sliced celery

1/4 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup flour

1 cup nonfat milk

1 cup nonfat half-and-half

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 pound medium egg noodles

1 (12 1/2-ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained

1 cup fresh bread crumbs


Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-inch round baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.

Spray a saucepan with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion and celery and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour until blended. Gradually blend in a little milk and stir until the mixture looks smooth. Stir in the remaining milk and half-and-half. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the peas. Season with the salt and pepper.

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until they are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain.

Spread 1/3 of the drained noodles evenly across the baking dish. Arrange 1/2 of the drained tuna over the noodles, then pour 1/3 of the sauce over the top, spreading to the edges. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining noodles and sauce.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Add the bread crumbs and stir until the bread crumbs begin to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the bread crumbs over the top of the casserole.

Bake until the casserole is hot through the center, 30 to 35 minutes.


6 servings. Each serving: 285 calories; 560 mg sodium; 47 mg cholesterol; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 33 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 2.76 grams fiber.


Kitchen towel from Sur La Table.

Los Angeles Times Articles