Canned cream of something soup gets replaced with a rich and velvety-smooth dairy-free cream sauce in this budget-friendly and oh, so comforting Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole. It’s a healthier throwback to the casseroles you grew up with and great for anytime you need a hearty, filling meal the whole family will enjoy.
This post was created in partnership with Bumble Bee Seafoods.
Pantry Staples For the Win
Few things are as satisfying as being able to make something out of seemingly nothing, especially when you’ve got a hungry family to feed. In other words, making an incredible meal from scratch using a handful of ingredients from the pantry always feels like a victory and we’re here to help with this Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe. This is a great recipe for nights you want comfort food AND something nourishing with bonus veggies and protein.
It’s just like you remember, only better.
Budget-Friendly Protein That’s Ready When You Are
Since 1899, The Bumble Bee Seafood Company has been on a mission to show the world that there’s a Better Way to Seafood. For as long as we can remember, Bumble Bee® tuna has always been on our pantry shelves. Just like our parents did, we’re relying on the same quality and ingredients to feed our own families.
Tuna is incredibly budget-friendly and shelf-stable so you can always keep a supply on hand. And when it comes to nutrition, ounce for ounce tuna is lower in calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than even the leanest cuts of beef and chicken. So it’s a naturally healthy—and sustainable—choice and it’s so easy to incorporate it into everyday meals like this Lemon-Dill Tuna Pasta Salad or these Tuna Melt Quesadillas.
You can read more about the initiatives and commitments The Bumble Bee Seafood Company is undertaking to improve the health of our oceans here.
This post contains affiliate links that will not change your price but will share some commission.
Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole Ingredients
- Pasta of choice – Use gluten-free, if needed. Any shape will work
- Canned tuna – Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water or Bumble Bee Chunk White Albacore in Water, drained
- Mushrooms – White button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms are the most common mushrooms you’ll find in the grocery store but feel free to mix it up with more exotic types like shiitake, chantarelle, porcini, etc.
- Onion – Yellow onions are milder than white or red onions but use what you have on hand or substitute a shallot if you please
- Frozen peas – Every freezer should have a bag or two of frozen peas. Not only are they delicious but they make great ice packs too
- Olive oil – We love the flavor of olive oil but avocado oil or another neutral-tasting oil will also work
- Panko breadcrumbs – Use gluten-free panko if needed. May also substitute regular bread crumbs, panko, or finely crushed crackers
- Raw cashews – These are the base of the dairy-free cream sauce
- Nutritional yeast – This gives the cream sauce a tangy cheese-like flavor
- Garlic – May substitute ¾ teaspoon garlic powder for the fresh garlic in the recipe
- Lemon juice
- Plain, unsweetened almond milk – May substitute plain, unsweetened cashew, coconut, or flax milk
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh parsley
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How to Make a Dairy-Free Cream Sauce
Step 1: Place the cashews in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. Place a lid or plate over the bowl and allow the cashew to soak for up to 30 minutes.
Step 2: Drain the cashews and place them in a blender or food processor along with the nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, and non-dairy milk of choice.
Step 3: Blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
How to Make Dairy-Free Tuna Noodle Casserole
Step 1: Get the cashews soaking then set them aside while you make the pasta and chop the vegetables.
Step 2: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package until al dente.
Step 3: While the pasta cooks, place a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and cook the mushrooms and onions until they just start to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant before removing from the heat.
Step 4: Make the Dairy-Free Cream Sauce. Add the tuna, drained pasta, frozen peas, and cream sauce to the skillet with the vegetables. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake uncovered in a preheated 375℉ oven until the sauce is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
How to Reheat Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
Stovetop: Place the desired portion of healthy tuna casserole in a skillet with a lid. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the skillet with the lid and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
Toaster Oven or Oven: Place the desired portion of healthy tuna casserole in a baking dish. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake at 350℉ for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
Microwave: Place tuna noodle casserole on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Heat on high for 1-2 minutes or until heated through, stirring halfway through cooking time.
Serving Suggestions for Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
Serve with a side salad or steamed or roasted veggie of choice.
Other Casseroles You Might Like
- 5-Ingredient Baked Ziti
- Creamy Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- Broccoli Cauliflower Cheddar Chicken Casserole
- Healthy Taco Hotdish
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta of choice (use gluten-free, if needed)
- 3 (5-ounce) cans Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water or Bumble Bee Chunk White Albacore in Water, drained
- 8 ounces mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs (use gluten-free, if needed)
- Optional: fresh parsley, chopped
For the Cream Sauce:
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 6 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups plain, unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tsp. salt + more to taste
- Pinch of black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375℉.
- Place the cashews in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Put a lid, a plate, or a pan over the bowl and set aside to soak*
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente, adding the frozen peas to the cooking water when 1 minute of cooking time remains. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, place a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and when the oil just starts to shimmer, add onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-8 minutes or until onions are soft.
- Add the drained pasta, peas, and tuna to the skillet with the vegetables.
- Make the cream sauce by adding soaked and drained cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, lemon juice, almond milk, and salt to the container/jar of a high-powered blender. Place lid on the blender and blend until smooth very smooth (about 1 minute), stopping to scrape down the sides of the container as needed.
- Pour the cream sauce over the pasta-veggie-tuna mixture and gently stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Sprinkle panko crumbs over the top of the pasta mixture and bake for 15 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.
*Cashews will blend best if you let them soak for 30 minutes if you’re not using a high-powered blender
- Serving Size: ~ 1 ¼ cups
- Calories: 425
- Sugar: 9g
- Sodium: 480mg
- Fat: 17g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 45g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 28g
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This post was made possible by our friends at Bumble Bee Seafoods. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.
Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!
About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.