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Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas

    A quick and easy kid-friendly pasta recipe, this Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas is sure to be a family favorite weeknight dinner!

    Spoonful of mac and cheese with tuna and peas.

    Sometimes you just need a good, comfort meal to please the kids and make your evening less stressful. My Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas keeps everyone feeling full and satisfied, while adding some healthier components to make sure everyone is getting the nutrients they need. Homemade stovetop mac and cheese is one the easiest and most versatile recipes you’ll ever learn. We love changing up our mac and cheese with various mix-ins like pureed winter squash, pumpkin or cauliflower, or like this recipe, peas!

    Ingredients

    • Pasta: Rotini or shells are my go-to for mac and cheese, and if you use whole-wheat pasta you increase the fiber and protein of the meal.
    • Butter: I use unsalted butter to watch the sodium levels, but use the butter you have!
    • Flour: Used with the butter to make a roux, it creates a base for the sauce.
    • Whole milk: Makes the cheese sauce extra creamy and thick.
    • Cheddar cheese: I use sharp cheddar cheese, because of its strong, pungent flavor, and because it’s a hit with the kids.
    • Green peas: A great source of vitamin C, zinc, and other antioxidants, when added to the cheesey pasta, you barely taste them, but get the added benefits
    • Tuna: An excellent source of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

    How to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas

    Adding cheese to pot

    Start your stovetop mac and cheese by bringing a salted pot of water to a boil, then cook your pasta according to package instructions.

    Melting butter in pot

    While the pasta is cooking, in another large pot melt your butter to start your roux.

    Adding flour to

    Then add in the flour, salt, and pepper and whisk until it is fully absorbed into the butter.

    Adding milk to pot

    Next add the milk and bring to a boil, continuing to whisk occassionally.

    Stirring cheese sauce

    Stir in the cheese until fully melted, then remove from heat.

    Pouring cheese sauce over noodles

    Pour the finished cheese sauce over the strained pasta.

    Adding tuna to pot

    Then add in the drained tuna fish.

    Adding peas to pot

    And your fresh or frozen peas. Stir until combined and warmed through.

    Stovetop mac and cheese with tuna and peas.

    Serve and enjoy your Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas!

    Easy Substitutions

    • Switch the tuna. Instead of tuna, use some shredded chicken or even some bacon to add that protein.
    • Mix up the cheese. Use a blend of many, or use your favorite! Doesn’t have to be cheddar.
    • Swap the veggie. Use whatever you have if you don’t have or like peas! Carrots, broccoli, or green beans.

    Frequently Asked QUestions:

    What can I add to mac and cheese?

    Vegetables like peas or broccoli; protein like chicken, bacon, or fish; and spices and herbs to up the flavor!

    Can I use frozen veggies in mac and cheese?

    Yes! Frozen peas, carrots, or even broccoli warm up nicely mixed into mac and cheese.H

    How long does leftover mac and cheese last?

    Kept in an airtight container in the fridge, leftovers should be good for up to 4 days.

    Stovetop mac and cheese with tuna and peas.

    More Kid-Friendly Dinners

    Eat It, like It, Share it!

    Did you try this recipe and like it? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.

    Liz enjoying stovetop mac and cheese with tuna and peas.

    Make a batch on Sunday and have dinner or lunch for the week, or whip it up quickly on a busy weeknight, but you’ll have a hit with the whole family with my Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas.

    Your fork is waiting.

    Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas 2

    Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Tuna and Peas

    4 stars average
    A quick and easy kid-friendly pasta recipe, this Stovetop Tuna Mac and Cheese is sure to be a family favorite weeknight dinner!
    COOK: 20 mins
    TOTAL: 20 mins
    Save
    Servings: 4

    Ingredients
     

    • 8 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta (or pasta of choice)
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 ½ cups whole milk
    • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
    • ½ cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
    • 1 can albacore tuna in olive oil (drained)

    Instructions
     

    • Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and prepare pasta according to package instructions.
    • While pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce in a medium saucepot by melting the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper and cook until flour dissolves into the butter, about 60 seconds, whisking frequently.
    • Pour in the milk and bring the mixture to a low boil, whisking occasionally.
    • Add in the shredded cheese and stir until melted; remove from heat.
    • Drain pasta and return to large pot. Pour in the cheese sauce and stir until pasta is evenly coated.
    • Stir the peas into the pasta as well as the tuna and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
    • Divide between four bowls to serve.

    Recipe Video


    Nutrition

    Calories: 541kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 31.5gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 13.7gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 793mgFiber: 6.8gSugar: 5.3g
    SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!
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    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

    12 Comments

    1. OMG, right?? When it comes to my kids, the MORE calories the better. Those scrawny little monsters need everything I can throw at them. And yes, you are totally right, when it’s quality ingredients I’m all for them having seconds, or 8ths! ;) This looks totally delicious, Liz!

    2. When we first got married my husband made something he called “tuna goop”, which had tuna, noodles, cream of mushroom soup, & topped with potato chips. It seems like this recipe could easily take the place of that one. We love mac & cheese, but I didn’t love “tuna goop”. I think I’ll have to try this (when I have a stove again).

        1. I’d probably have liked it better with the yogurt. If I ever get brave enough again to let him make it, I’ll suggest adding yogurt.

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