clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Tuna Casserole

Lightened-Up Tuna Casserole

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 19 reviews
  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x


This lightened-up tuna casserole recipe is tossed with a creamy garlic-herb sauce, lots of veggies, tender egg noodles and a crispy Panko topping.


  • 1/4 cup toasted Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups plain milk
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 3 (5-ounce) cans tuna, drained
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • optional garnishes: chopped fresh parsley or fresh thyme, lemon slices


  1. Heat water for noodles. Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Toast the breadcrumbs.* Heat the breadcrumbs in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the bottom layer of the breadcrumbs begin to turn golden, give the pan a good stir (or a good shake) to toss. Continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes, tossing regularly, until the breadcrumbs are more or less evenly golden. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a clean bowl and set aside. Wipe down the pan with a clean cloth and return it to the heat.
  3. Sauté veggies. Add butter and cook until melted. Add mushrooms, carrots, onions and sauté for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are browned. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add flour and sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently so that it is well combined.
  4. Make the sauce. Add the stock and stir to combine. Add the milk, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, peas and stir to combine. Continue cooking until the sauce nearly reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Meanwhile…
  5. Cook the noodles. Around the same time that you add the stock to the sauce, add the noodles to the boiling water and cook until just barely al dente. Use a spider strainer to drain and transfer the noodles directly to the mushroom sauce. (Or if your sauté pan is not large enough to hold everything, you can drain the noodles completely and then combine the noodles and sauce in the stockpot that you used to cook the noodles.)
  6. Mix the casserole. Add the veggie sauce mixture to the noodles, along with the tuna and cheddar cheese. Toss gently until combined and the cheese has melted.
  7. Serve. Serve the pasta warm, sprinkled with toasted breadcrumbs, a pinch of herbs, and garnished with a lemon wedge for squeezing. Enjoy!


Toasting the breadcrumbs: If you would like to save time, you can toast the breadcrumbs in a separate sauté pan while the veggies sauté. Or if you prefer, you can toast the breadcrumbs on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F until golden.

Recipe edit: This recipe was updated in 2022. It originally called for baking the casserole (pasta topped with untoasted breadcrumbs) at 400°F for 18-20 minutes, which you are still welcome to do. But I never liked how that method tends to overcook the pasta, so I prefer to skip the baking and just serve the freshly-cooked pasta topped with toasted breadcrumbs.