Tuna Noodle Casserole made with gluten-free pasta noodles, a rich and creamy sauce, and a crispy topping for an amazingly filling and nourishing meal.
Tuna Noodle Casserole was my second favorite meal growing up (the first being lasagna). It has always been one of those meals I can power through and just eat bottomless bowlfuls.
Perfectly tender carby noodles swaddled in a creamy well-seasoned sauce with plenty of chunks of tuna and a nice portion of cheese? What more could we want in a casserole??
Maybe bacon. You can totally add bacon!
This tuna noodle casserole recipe is a bit different from the classic. I make it using gluten-free noodles, and I make the sauce with full-fat canned coconut milk instead of regular cow’s milk or cream.
The end result is still that incredibly comforting, satisfying casserole that can feed a crowd and make your belly beam with joy.
If you don’t do noodles of any kind, you can always visit my Tuna and Rice Casserole – it’s a low-FODMAP recipe for those who have sensitive GI tracts, and it’s just as cozy!
Let’s dive right into the details!
Ingredients for Tuna Noodle Casserole:
Pasta: One of the most important components to tuna noodle casserole are the noodles! I use Gluten-Free Spiral Noodles made with brown rice, but you can use macaroni noodles, or penne noodles as well. Choose your favorite gluten-free or regular noodle!
Veggies: Onion, garlic, mushrooms, peas. This combination of veggies provides amazing flavor for the casserole! It sort of mimics that iconic cream of mushroom soup flavor, but is so fresh and great for you!
Sauce: Chicken broth, coconut milk, rice vinegar, gluten-free flour. This combination makes the sauce silky-smooth, thick and flavorful with a little tang! Be sure to use full-fat canned coconut milk (not the coconut milk that comes in a carton next to all the other non-dairy milks!) If you do dairy, you can replace the coconut milk with regular milk or half & half.
Tuna: Canned tuna makes tuna noodle casserole extra easy to prepare and also packs it with protein. I use Yellowfin Tuna in Olive Oil and I don’t drain it before adding it to the sauce. This helps give the casserole a great deal of flavor and richness. For lower fat, and/or if you prefer less tuna flavor, use tuna packed in water and drain it before adding to the sauce.
Cheese: Cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese. The cheese helps make the casserole extra casserole-esque! It binds everything together and makes it nice and gooey and inviting. Play with your favorite cheeses! You can use gouda, gruyere, goat cheese, feta, etc!
A Note About Dairy:
Many people who are sensitive to dairy (like me) can tolerate certain types of cheeses (or all cheese) while staying away from fresh dairy, like milk, cream, butter, etc. For this reason, I use full-fat canned coconut milk for the sauce in this creamy casserole.
I promise, you can’t taste the coconut milk. It just comes off as creamy, not at all coconutty. The rice vinegar gives the sauce a little tang, and between the onion, garlic, mushrooms, tuna, and cheese, the subtle flavor of coconut is entirely masked.
If you tolerate dairy well, you can easily replace the coconut milk with half & half or heavy cream! On the flipside, if you are entirely dairy-free, you can replace the grated cheese with your favorite vegan grated cheese.
How to Make Tuna Noodle Casserole:
Cook the noodles according to package instructions (I used brown rice pasta noodles and the directions said to cook for 12 minutes – I cooked for 10 to leave the noodles al dente).
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue sautéing another 2 minutes.
Add the Italian seasoning, chicken broth and coconut milk and bring to a full boil. Add the flour and whisk well until all of the clumps are out. Continue cooking at a boil, whisking occasionally, until sauce is very thick. Add the sea salt, peas, tuna, and cheese and stir well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Transfer the noodles to a large (13” x 9”) casserole dish, followed by the creamy sauce. Stir everything together until well incorporated.
In a small bowl, stir together the almond flour and avocado oil. Sprinkle this mixture over the casserole.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until casserole is bubbling.
Serve and enjoy!
Cook the pasta noodles a couple minutes less than recommended to make sure they are nice and al dente. This ensures the noodles don’t break apart easily when they’re stirred into the sauce.
If you love the tuna flavor, get tuna in oil and don’t drain it before adding to the sauce mixture. Don’t drain, put the whole can into the sauce.
- Replace coconut milk with whole milk or half & half
- Use your favorite noodles.
- Add extra cheese to make the casserole even more comforting
- Replace the almond flour topping with gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Add 4 slices thick-cut bacon (cooked and chopped)
More Casserole Recipes:
- Mediterranean Breakfast Casserole
- Healthy Green Bean Casserole
- Creamy Cauliflower Casserole
- Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Casserole
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- 12 ounces gluten-free noodles
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 10 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth, low-sodium recommended
- 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
- 3 Tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, or cider vinegar or 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 1 cup peas, canned or frozen
- 3 (5-oz) cans tuna in olive oil, undrained
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, or more to taste*
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions (I used brown rice pasta noodles and the directions said to cook for 12 minutes - I cooked for 10 to leave the noodles al dente).
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and continue sautéing another 2 minutes.
- Add the Italian seasoning, chicken broth, coconut milk, and rice vinegar and bring to a full boil. Add the flour and whisk well until all of the clumps are out. Continue cooking at a boil, whisking occasionally, until sauce is very thick. Add the sea salt, peas, tuna, and cheese and stir well.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Transfer the noodles to a large (13” x 9”) casserole dish, followed by the creamy sauce. Stir everything together until well incorporated.
- In a small bowl, stir together the almond flour and avocado oil. Sprinkle this mixture over the casserole and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until casserole is bubbling.
- Serve and enjoy!
*substitute cheddar cheese for any type of grated cheese you love. Mozzarella, jack cheese, colby jack cheese, gruyere, and gouda are all great options.
Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1 of 6
Amount Per Serving Calories 597Total Fat 23gUnsaturated Fat 0gCarbohydrates 73gFiber 6gSugar 3gProtein 22g
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