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This stovetop tuna noodle casserole is a healthier take on a comfort food classic. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be made paleo and AIP.

Tuna pasta in two bowls

 

Healthier Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole

Tuna noodle casserole is a comfort food classic. It’s made with egg noodles, canned tuna, a creamy sauce like a cream of mushroom soup, frozen peas, and breadcrumbs. Typically it’s baked in the oven but it can also be made on the stovetop in a pot or skillet. It’s a hearty dish but isn’t necessarily the healthiest dish.

This stovetop tuna noodle casserole is a healthier take on the classic made with broccoli, gluten-free pasta, and a homemade creamy sauce. No canned soup in sight! This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be made paleo and AIP-friendly.

The Ingredients for the Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole

  • Canned tuna. I like using Safe Catch tuna for a lower mercury option.
  • Coconut milk, broth & arrowroot starch. Rather than using a dairy-based sauce or a creamy canned soup, this simple mixture makes the sauce for the casserole as well as the cooking liquid for the pasta.
  • Broccoli
  • Nutritional yeast. This makes this recipe taste cheesy!
  • Gluten-free (or cassava) pasta. Rather than using a veggie noodle-like zoodles, this recipe uses real pasta! The pasta pictures are Jovial gluten-free shells, but you can just as easily use cassava elbows to make it paleo and AIP.

How to make Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole

  1. Prep the sauce: Using a large bowl, stir the coconut milk, broth, and arrowroot.
  2. Cook the vegetables: Use a large, deep pot heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes or until lightly translucent. Add the broccoli and saute for another 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly soft and bright green.
  3. Add the tuna: Drain the canned tuna and add to the pot. Using a wooden spoon to crumble the tuna into small chunks.
  4. Cook the pasta: Pour in the broth mixture and pasta. Stir well to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, bringing the pot to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is reduced. See notes in the pasta needs more time to cook to your liking.

Tuna pasta on a spoon

Can you make this recipe coconut free?

The coconut milk is the dairy substitute in this recipe and I haven’t tried to use something other than coconut in this recipe.

Can you use tapioca starch as a thickener other than arrowroot starch?

I haven’t tried it myself, but you likely can!

What if you want to add some crunch?

If you want something like breadcrumbs on top, you can try adding gluten-free bread crumbs, or crumbled crackers, or crumbled plantain chips!

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Healthier Stovetop Tuna Noodle Casserole (Gluten & Dairy Free, Paleo)


  • Author: Michelle
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This stovetop tuna noodle casserole is a healthier take on a comfort food classic. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and can be made paleo and AIP.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk (I use this)
  • 2 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 2 5oz cans of tuna
  • 2 cups gluten-free shell pasta (Jovial rice pasta for gluten-free, or jovial cassava pasta for paleo/AIP)
  • 12 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Using a large bowl, stir the coconut milk, broth, and arrowroot. Set aside.
  2. Use a large, deep pot heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes or until lightly translucent. Add the broccoli and saute for another 3-4 minutes or until the broccoli is lightly soft and bright green. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the canned tuna and add to the pot. Using a wooden spoon to crumble the tuna into small chunks.
  4. Pour in the broth mixture and pasta. Stir well to combine. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, bringing the pot to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the pasta is cooked. When the pasta is just about done, stir the pot continuously for 1 minute to allow the sauce to reduce. See notes in the pasta needs more time to cook to your liking.
  5. Stir in nutritional yeast to taste and serve topped with parsley.

Notes

If the pasta needs more time to cook to your liking, add about 1/4 cup of broth and simmer for 2-3 more minutes until the pasta reaches your desired doneness.

All nutritional information are estimations and will vary. Estimations do not include optional ingredients.

  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 475
  • Fat: 28.1g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.6g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Protein: 25g

Keywords: tuna noodle casserole, tuna pasta