One reason I love living in Michigan is that the sun is out until 9PM in the middle of July. I keep reminding myself of this fact when it gets dark at 5PM in January. Needless to say, during these cold and dark Winter evenings, nothing warms up our house like a cozy casserole. My Tuna Noodle Casserole is inspired by my mother’s recipe with a few Liz’s Lemon Bowl twists. One aspect I didn’t change is the addition of plain yogurt. My mom always incorporates yogurt into her casseroles for added tanginess and extra creaminess. This easy addition also adds calcium and richness without a lot of fat and calories. That being said, I had a few ideas on how I could make this healthier version even tastier and more nutritious. Here is a full breakdown of the changes I made:
Swap Cream of Mushroom Soup (hello modified food starch!) with sauteed mushrooms, plain yogurt, and fat-free milk.
Trade the standard shredded mozzarella cheese with lower-calorie, more flavorful Parmesan cheese.
For a bit of umami, I added a teaspoon of low-sodium soy sauce.
Instead of using enriched egg noodles, I used whole wheat wide noodles for added protein, fiber, and nutrients without added saturated fat and cholesterol.
In lieu of French’s Fried Onions or bread crumbs I used whole-grain panko. Since panko is made without the crust, is lower in calorie than standard bread crumbs and much flakier and crispier.
What’s not to love? Your fork is waiting.
Creamy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 8 oz whole wheat wide noodles
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- 1 large onion diced
- 8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms or white button
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 c green peas
- 1.25 c chunk light tuna
- 1 c plain fat free yogurt
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce low sodium
- ⅓ c fat free milk
- ¼ c parmesan cheese plus 1 tbs
- ¼ c whole grain panko bread crumbs italian style
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook noodles according to package instructions and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium-high heat and melt butter.
- Saute onions and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes adding salt and pepper to release juices.
- Stir in frozen peas and continue cooking for 2 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.
- Pour onion and mushroom mixture into a large bowl and stir in noodles, tuna, yogurt, garlic, soy sauce, milk and ¼ c parmesan cheese.
- Add extra pepper to taste – I added quite a bit.
- In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 tbs of parmesan cheese with the panko bread crumbs and olive oil.
- Pour tuna noodle mixture into a casserole pan and sprinkle on bread crumbs.
- Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes or until mixture is bubbly.
- Finish with 2 minutes under the broiler to toast bread crumbs and melt cheese.