Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole made with low calorie and dairy free with gluten free pasta for a healthy, high protein tuna casserole meal! Low Calorie + Gluten Free
Tuna casserole is a classic American meal and this version is lightened up with nutrient dense ingredients that your hormones will love and balanced the right way for weight loss.
Fun fact... before my 80 pound weight loss, I hated tuna. I could never be in the same room as tuna when someone was eating it. Funny things happen when you lose weight. Like you no longer crave McDonald's and suddenly want to eat tuna. Go figure!
What Makes This Tuna Casserole Healthier?
There are a million tuna casserole recipes on the Internet and Pinterest, but most of them are not the healthiest recipes. Even if they say the word HEALTHY and here's a few reasons why...
- Low Calorie - Calories are not everything, but they do matter for weight management. Most tuna casserole recipes (even one's that say they are healthy on the internet) have upwards of 500 calories per serving. This one has about 300 calories and what makes up calories is MOST important - nutrient dense foods.
- High Fiber - Fiber is an important carbohydrate that balances hormones and aids in weight loss - I talk about this in my free weight loss class. This recipe gets MORE fiber from the chickpea pasta and added vegetables.
- High Protein - Protein shuts down hunger and balances blood sugar. This recipe has the right amount of protein for a healthy recipe. Tuna is a lean source of protein, but also the chickpea pasta is high in protein and one of the reasons why I love using it.
- Nutrient Dense - Lots of veggies are added to this dish to increase the volume to promote fullness and veggies are naturally high in nutrients and low in calories.
- Gluten Free - This recipe uses all gluten free ingredients.
- Dairy Free - This recipe contains no dairy.
Ingredients For Low Calorie Tuna Casserole
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Tuna, canned
- Chickpea pasta
- Vegetable Broth, low sodium
- Gluten Free Oat Flour
- Nutritional Yeast (optional)
How To Make A Lighten Up Tuna Casserole
Making tuna casserole is very simple. If you are short on time, I recommend chopping the veggies and cooking up to the point of baking to make things a bit easier.
Here's how to make this lighter tuna casserole!
Step one - Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Once the pasta is finished, drain and set aside.
Step two - Cook the onions and celery with the olive oil in a large skillet until translucent. Whisk the flour and broth in with the veggies then add the mushrooms and cook a few minutes.
Step three - Stir the tuna, peas, nutritional yeast and pasta in with the skillet ingredients. Transfer to a casserole dish.
Step four - Bake the tuna casserole in the oven then remove, add dried parsley and serve!
How To Store Leftover Tuna Casserole
Leftover tuna casserole is tastiest in my opinion!
Store leftover in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 5 days. Reheat the tuna casserole in the oven at 350 F for 20 minutes or in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on a microwave safe dish.
Can You Freeze Tuna Noodle Casserole?
There's two ways you can free tuna casserole. You can either make it ahead of time or freeze leftovers.
To freeze leftovers from oven-baked tuna casserole, place leftovers in a freezer bag or container and store in the freezer up to 30 days. To cook, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat.
To make tuna casserole ahead of time and freeze, prepare everything up to the point of baking. Transfer to a freezer bag or freezer safe container. When ready to cook, defrost the prepared casserole overnight in the refrigerator then bake according to the instructions in a casserole dish.
Substitutions For Healthy Tuna Casserole
Here's the substitutions I recommend for tuna casserole if you need them. Please remember that substitutions will change the nutritional details you see in the recipe.
- Mushrooms - You can omit them if you don't enjoy them.
- Vegetable Broth - Any broth will work.
- Gluten Free Oat Flour - Regular gluten free flour, almond flour or whole wheat flour will work as substitutes. I don't recommend white flour as it is highly processed. Coconut flour will not work.
- Chickpea Pasta - Any pasta will work as a substitute, however, the chickpea pasta is higher fiber and higher protein. I recommend a plant-based substitution such as edamame pasta, lentil pasta etc. to keep the protein and fiber as high. Whole wheat and white pastas will not yield an equivalent amount.
- Tuna - Substitute with canned chicken breast or salmon.
- Nutritional Yeast - Substitute low fat cheddar cheese if dairy works for you, or omit.
- Peas - They can be omitted.
Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 4 ounces chickpea rotini
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 cup white onion diced
- 1 tablespoon Gluten Free Oat Flour
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup mushrooms sliced
- 10 ounces canned tuna in water
- 1/2 cup peas
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to package instructions. Drain in a collander and set aside.
- Bring a large skillet to medium heat with the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onions, celery and salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are translucent.
- Whisk the flour and broth into the skillet with the vegetables. Whisk until the flour is combined. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes then add the tuna, peas, nutritional yeast and pasta to the skillet. Stir to combine.
- Transfer the contents from skillet to a 13.5-inch x 8.25-inch rectangular casserole dish.
- Bake in the oven 25 minutes then remove, add the dried parsley on top and serve!