Dad’s Tuna Casserole

This is THE ultimate comfort meal at my house and has actually been requested by more than a few house guests... there's a secret ingredient so see below!
This is THE ultimate comfort meal at my house and has actually been requested by more than a few house guests… there’s a secret ingredient so see below!

Nothing is more popular at my house than Dad’s Tuna Casserole. This is THE go-to comfort food at my place. Over the years house guests have requested it, new boyfriends have been tested by whether or not they liked it. This is definitely a fave and as such it has largely escaped being put up on the hoist for a modernization to make it lighter and more modern. In my defense, I will point out that in my version I have always stir fried about 3 pounds of veggies into this dish… it’s packed with fibre and good nutrition… a Veteran Move all by itself!

I have been making this dish since the mid-80’s. I vaguely remember that the first iteration was based on a recipe taken from a Robert Crumb cookbook. At the time, stir frying a selection of veggies was a departure for a tuna casserole. The fact that you could choose whatever you had in the crisper and not rely on a set collection was also different for the day. Over the years I’ve probably settled on a basic selection but I really do use it to close out on bits and bites left at the time.

Key to this venerable casserole’s popularity is a secret ingredient. While it’s true I choose cheese that is especially ‘melty’ and I have replaced elbow macaroni with a casserole pasta that is better designed to hold the sauce, the Veteran Move is Golden Mushroom soup thoroughly mixed in to the stir fry. It really makes this dish stand out. Mushroom soup is no stranger to tuna casserole. Over the years I’ve tried flavoured soups like onion mushroom, garlic mushroom, even wild mushroom but the tried and true is Golden Mushroom also known as Beef Mushroom. It can be a little tricky to find but it’s well worth the effort… believe me go find some and try it!

Choose your favourite pasta, then stir fry your favourite veggies, spice with garlic, salt, pepper and oregano, add tuna, cheese AND the secret ingredient...
INGREDIENTS
1 lb (500 gm) pasta: Rotini/Fusili/Penne
1 medium yellow onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
½ green and red peppers, chopped
1 medium carrot sliced into thin rounds
2 stalks celery chopped
1 cup broccoli florets
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
6 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 can Golden Mushroom soup
¼ cup water
3 or 4 tins white tuna in water (drained and rinsed)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
While pasta cooks stir fry veggies in vegetable oil (olive oil preferred) med hi heat: 8ish mins
While pasta cooks stir fry veggies in vegetable oil (olive oil preferred) med hi heat: 8ish mins
Start with 1 tbsp oil then add onion for two minutes, then garlic for 30 seconds… follow by celery, peppers, carrots and broccoli for 3 minutes... 
then the rest of the spices, stir well then add mushrooms for 3 minutes...
Start with 1 tbsp oil then add onion for two minutes, then garlic for 30 seconds…
follow by celery, peppers, carrots and broccoli for 3 minutes…
then the rest of the spices, stir well then add mushrooms for 3 minutes…
stir fry until veggies are starting to cook but not yet soft
While veggies are cooking, prepare a large casserole dish greasing it with olive oil or butter
While veggies are cooking, prepare a large casserole dish greasing it with olive oil or butter
Empty mushroom soup into a two cup measuring cup or similar sized bowl
Empty mushroom soup into a two cup measuring cup or similar sized bowl
Add 1/4 cup water to soup and stir well. This stretches the soup by making it easier to thoroughly mix with the veggies
Add 1/4 cup water to soup and stir well. This stretches the soup by making it easier to thoroughly mix with the veggies
I typically add three tins of white tuna packed in water. I open each tin, drain and rinse each before adding it to the casserole
I typically add three tins of white tuna packed in water. I open each tin, drain and rinse each before adding it to the casserole
Thoroughly stir soup mix into veggies...
Thoroughly stir soup mix into veggies…
... add shredded cheddar and thoroughly mix it in...
… add shredded cheddar and thoroughly mix it in…
break up tuna and add to the mixture...
break up tuna and add to the mixture…
...finish by stirring in partially cooked pasta...
…finish by stirring in partially cooked pasta…
Add the mixture to your prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan....and bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes until the sides are visibly bubbling
Add the mixture to your prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan….
… and bake uncovered for about 30-40 minutes until the sides are visibly bubbling
Let casserole sit for five minutes before serving
Let casserole sit for five minutes before serving

2 thoughts on “Dad’s Tuna Casserole

  1. Hey Joe,

    Your blog is amazing. The pictures are helpful and really well done. Great instructions and suggestions. The recipes have been so easy to follow. I am not a tuna casserole fan at all but your pictures even make it look good. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

    Sarah

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