Healthy Tuna Casserole
This Healthy Tuna Casserole is every bit as delicious as the original version. I've used brown rice instead of white rice and swapped the milk and cheese-based sauce for an easy to make and much healthier creamy cashew sauce. It tastes just like the casserole I remember loving as a kid.
When I was a kid, tuna casserole was my all-time favorite. My sister and I would've eaten it every day if mom would have made it every day. #MorePlease
My mom would smother a bunch of white rice in a cheese-heavy white sauce made with flour, butter, and milk. It was awesome.
I had a craving for old-school comfort food the other day, but I couldn't bring myself to make this the traditional way. I wanted tuna casserole, but I wanted it to be a healthy tuna casserole. The only problem is that I didn't want it to TASTE healthy, I just wanted it to BE healthy.
Cue the cashews ….
Cashews have this amazing ability to create a cream sauce that in every way mimics the real thing. Remember that Magic Mushroom Sauce I shared with you a while back? In this healthy tuna casserole recipe, I've used cashews in much the same way. That is, to create a delicious, dairy-free cream sauce.
By blending soaked cashews with a little garlic and adding tuna, I was able to create a healthy cream sauce to smother the rice in.
Healthy cashew sauce + tuna + brown rice = one delicious and healthy tuna casserole.
You know that feeling you get when you're in the kitchen and you want to try making whatever it is you're making 100 different ways? Ya, that feeling. That's how I started feeling when I was making this. Expect to see lots of tuna casserole variations popping up here on the blog soon. 🙂
Mix up your healthy tuna casserole:
- Use quinoa instead of brown rice.
- Or farro.
- Or some other fancy, ancient grain.
- Swap the tuna for some salmon.
- Get crazy and crumble up some leftover salmon from last night's dinner.
- Add some corn.
- Or some chopped carrots and onions.
- Throw in a handful of nuts. Why not?!
- Turn this into a noodle casserole.
- Add the tuna to some Magic Mushroom Sauce and use that to smother the rice. Yes, definitely do this!
The only thing I would not budge on is the croutons. My mom used to soak them in butter so that when they baked they'd get all buttery crispy and out of this world delicious. I've used olive oil instead of butter, which is a pretty good substitute. But … if you eat butter and aren't opposed to heaps of it, don't be afraid to add lots to the croutons. It makes them extra good.
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More Delicious Casserole Recipes:
- Healthy One Pan Chicken Potato Gratin
- Makeover Pumpkin Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Ribbon Casserole
- Sun-Dried Tomato + Feta Quinoa Casserole
- Healthy Vegan Green Bean Casserole
This Healthy Tuna Casserole recipe is made with brown rice and a super creamy dairy-free sauce. It's every bit as delicious as the original version. You and your family will LOVE it!
- 2 cup raw cashews**
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or very finely minced
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 2 cans of tuna, drained
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
- 2 cups fresh croutons, gluten-free if needed (I like to cut them from pieces of bread)
- 1/2 cup panko, or gluten-free bread crumbs
- Cook the brown rice in 3 cups of water until soft, about 40 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the casserole. Drain the cashews and place them in your food processor or blender with 2 1/4 cups of water, the sea salt and garlic. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Stir in the frozen peas and tuna.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to a small frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the panko and let it toast, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Place the large bread crumbs in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Once the rice is cooked, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and assemble the casserole. Begin my covering the bottom of a 9×11 inch casserole dish with a thin layer of the cashew cream sauce. Top with half the rice then half the remaining sauce. Repeat once more. Sprinkle the top with the toasted panko and then top with the croutons.
- Bake, uncovered, in your oven for 30-40 minutes, or until it is hot and bubbling and the croutons are toasted. Let the casserole sit for 5 minutes before serving.
* The cashew cream sauce is a lot runnier than a traditional cheese sauce before it is baked. Don't worry, it will thicken as the tuna casserole bakes.
**Soaked for 4-24 hours in cold water