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Lightened up tuna noodle casserole recipe

Tuna noodle casserole might remind you of a classic homemade dish from your childhood, but this version has extra veggies and much less saturated fat. I adapted this recipe from one on, and you’d never miss the extra 20 grams of fat. I made these basic swaps:

  • Skim milk instead of whole milk
  • Reduced fat cheese instead of regular cheese (and less cheese overall)
  • Plain yogurt instead of sour cream
  • Basic tuna packed in water instead of imported tuna packed in oil (saves calories and fat, as well as about eight dollars per can!)


  • 6 oz. (dry) egg noodles
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • ¼ red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/16 tsp. (a pinch) of ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1¾ cups skim milk
  • ¼ cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 6-oz. can chunk light tuna, drained
  • ½ cup reduced fat Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 3 tbsp. Panko breadcrumbs


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8 x 8-inch square or 9-inch round baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Spray a medium saucepan with cooking spray. Sauté onion and peppers for 4-5 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Add garlic and sauté one additional minute, until fragrant.  Reserve vegetables and return pan to stove.
  4. Heat olive oil and butter in the same saucepan over medium heat. When oil is hot and butter foams, add in flour and paprika, nutmeg, thyme, and pepper, stirring until flour is well incorporated. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly add milk, stirring well to make sure no lumps of flour remain. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low. Stir until mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard, and add reserved vegetables to mixture.
  5. Once the water is boiling, add egg noodles and cook until they are slightly tender and still white in the middle, about 3 minutes. Drain.
  6. Stir prepared egg noodles into vegetable-and-milk mixture. Flake tuna into mixture, and stir gently. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  7. Top tuna and noodle mixture with half of the shredded cheese, then sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and add remaining cheese on top.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Approximate nutrition information, per serving: 270 calories, 11 grams fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 15.5 grams protein. Makes 4 servings.