With its creamy blend of tuna, vegetables and noodles, it's easy to see why tuna casserole is a family favourite in many homes. But if you're looking for something different, just a few changes here and there and this classic becomes a whole new dish.
To make it a little healthier, we've used whole-wheat pasta and taken out the preservative-filled can of soup, then have given it a spicy kick with chilies and jalapenos. Another nice perk is that most of the ingredients are items you probably already have in your kitchen, which means whipping up this tasty casserole is a snap.
Approximately 3/4 of a (375-gram) box of whole-wheat rotini pasta (about 4 cups when cooked)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2-1/2 cups milk
2 celery stalks, finely sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable stock
2 cans of drained, water-packed tuna (opt for a dolphin-friendly brand)
1 (127-gram) can of green chilies
2 tablespoons chopped, pickled jalapenos
1 cup frozen or canned corn, thawed and drained
A generous handful of cilantro, chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, or use a blend of cheddar and pepper jack for extra spice
Salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions until almost al dente. Strain, and set it aside.
In a small skillet, cook the onions, celery and vegetable stock over medium heat, until the liquid has cooked down and the vegetables are tender. Add more vegetable stock if needed.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook for about 3 minutes while stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk, and continue to cook, stirring often until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, add the tuna, cooked vegetables, chilies, jalapenos, corn, cilantro and pasta. Sprinkle in the chili powder, and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the creamy béchamel sauce over the tuna mixture, and stir to combine.
Pour into a casserole dish. Sprinkle with the cheese, and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through and the cheese is lightly browned and melted.
Serve with a green salad or sliced avocados on the side.
Garnish with a sprig of cilantro.
Note: This casserole makes a tasty dish even when deconstructed. Simply chill the tuna mixture from step 5, then add it to a plate of leafy greens and top it off with a few slices of avocado, a spoonful of salsa and a drizzle of ranch dressing for a quick and yummy meal.