When I think of a tuna noodle casserole I think of comfort food. As a kid tuna casserole meant a noodle dish with a heavy cream sauce, cheese, and tuna. In fact, you could barely taste the tuna because the sauce was so heavy.
As an adult I like the idea of tuna noodle casserole but I don't like the idea of a heavy sauce that weighs down the entire dish. So I went looking for a recipe that still had the tuna, the noodles, and a creamy but I wanted the sauce to be lightened up a bit. I also wanted a recipe that added some fresh veggies to the dish.
I found this Fresh Herb Tuna Noodle Casserole and it sounded pretty tasty. I starts with mushrooms, onions, and celery which are several fresh vegetables that would work well in this dish. Then it starts building a sauce of chicken stock, milk, Greek yogurt, and fresh herbs. Then the standard frozen peas and canned tuna are added.
The topping on this dish was one of the reasons I was excited about it. While the actual casserole is lightened up, the crunch on the top comes from Parmesan cheese mixed with crushed up potato chips. It's a surprising and delicious topping that adds just the right amount of crunch to the casserole.
The end result was a tasty casserole that is much lighter than the original. I think I might miss the heavy cream sauce except the fresh herbs add so much flavor that I really didn't miss it at all. I used chives, parsley, and rosemary, but next time I would definitely add the fresh dill as well. It gives the dish some color and packs a ton of flavor.
The crunchy potato cheese topping is so good and gives the casserole a much needed crunch. All in all this is still good comfort food and I will be making it again.
Fresh Herb Tuna Noodle Casserole
Lighten up the original tuna noodle casserole with a homemade cream sauce, plenty of fresh herbs, and a surprising potato cheese topping!
- 1 bag (12 oz) egg noodles
- 3 T. butter
- 1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
- ¼ c. flour
- ½ c. white wine
- 1 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 c. whole milk
- 1 c. loosely packed fresh herbs (dill, rosemary, parsley, and chives), chopped
- ½ c. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- ½ c. frozen peas
- 2 cans tuna (5-6oz), drained and flakes
- 1 ½ c. crushed potato chips
- 1 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 t. paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm.
- Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Add in the onions, celery, and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the flour to the skillet and stir to coat the vegetables. Stir in the wine and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the milk and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Add half of the chopped herbs, the Greek yogurt, the Dijon, and the peas to the sauce. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and add in the tuna and the noodles. Mix gently until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- In a medium bowl combine the potato chips and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over top of the casserole. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until top is browned.
- Remove from ovena nd sprinkle with remaining herbs.
Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, December 2019
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