Tastier and easier than that retro Tuna Noodle Casserole you may have grown up with (or not!). We have a vegan version too!
I did not grow up with Tuna Noodle Casserole in our home. I guess my mother did not like it, or my dad! She loved egg noodles though, and usually served them straight up with a little butter and salt and pepper. Buttered noodles, yum! Simple. Delicious. Still one of my favorite quick comforts, and nothing is easier.
Let’s make it lighter
But I do remember having the traditional casserole at my girlfriend Mary’s house and I loved it. Her mother baked it with crumbled potato chips on top, the absolute best part. Mary’s mom could make a dinner for six just grabbing cans and boxes from her massive pantry, and in minutes everyone was fed. I don’t remember most of what she made, but I do remember the potato chip topped tuna noodle casserole.
I thought it might be fun to take this retro dish and put a slightly different spin on it, keeping, of course, the homey quality of the original, but ditching the processed canned soup. By doing so, it made this dish both lighter and much more flavorful overall.
As simple as supper can be
I kept it really simple, much easier than the original, just some nice jarred tuna, the oil it was packed in (about 4 tbsp.), some fresh mushrooms and onions, and, of course, the peas, in this case some thawed frozen with beautiful green color. The noodle water both deglazed the pan and thickened the sauce. I used jarred tuna filets here, but you could also use canned in oil tuna of choice. Use whatever egg noodle you love. This one was actually made with just egg whites and was as tasty as those with whole eggs.
This is a great weeknight supper, a pantry meal packed with flavor, quick too! It’s done in the time it takes to cook the noodles, much faster than the original casserole, not as heavy, and much tastier!
Noodles with Tuna and Peas
- 8 oz. wide egg noodles
- 1 jar tuna filets in olive oil (190 g. or 6.7 oz.), or 2 cans
- 8 oz. crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
Add the noodles to a rapidly boiling pot of salted water and cook according to package directions, it will vary by brand.
While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high and add all the oil from the jarred tuna. Add the mushrooms and onion and sauté until the mushrooms have browned and the onions are soft and starting to brown as well. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or until fragrant.
Deglaze the pan with a half cup or so of the noodle water, scraping up all the fond, there should be quite a bit and that means flavor. Add the peas, and set aside for a moment or two until the noodles are cooked.
With a spider or slotted spoon, add the noodles and the tuna to the pan and mix everything together well. Season with salt and pepper, and taste. Add a little more noodle water to adjust the consistency if necessary.
Turn out onto a platter and serve! Top with a bit of fresh parsley if you like, or some crumbled potato chips if that brings back a memory or two! Four to six servings depending on appetite, more as a side.
Simply omit the tuna, use olive oil rather than the tuna oil, and increase the mushrooms to a pound. There are many delicious vegan noodles on the market.
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