Tuna noodle casserole – you may know it as a cafeteria staple. But this is no ordinary tuna noodle casserole recipe. This one is packed with flavor and has an unexpected crunch!
Okay, no…not at all sexy.
BUT it is one my husband’s absolute favorite meals (I know…but he likes what he likes!). I frequently make him this for special occasions such as his birthday and even Valentine’s Day. Again — I KNOW. Not the most romantic dish you could dream up but the guy loves it.
One time we were having friends over. One of his good friends — a friend that knew his way around the kitchen well. Ben starts in with this story about my cooking (proud husband and so sweet!).
He says, “Rach makes this really gourmet dish…it’s one of my favorites…with tuna….what’s it called, Rach?”
I, hanging my head in shame, mutter under my breath, “Tuna noodle casserole?”
Clearly not indicative of my best work in the kitchen, but again…it’s the man’s favorite! And let’s be real. This is no ordinary cafeteria tuna noodle casserole.
What makes this tuna noodle casserole the best?
I typically use white albacore tuna (packed in water). We like the taste better, it is less fishy tasting. I also usually use whole wheat noodles and extra sharp cheddar. I do use canned cream of chicken soup. Quick, easy and gets the job done. My tuna noodle casserole has a secret ingredient — something I learned from my mom. Ready for it?
It might sound strange and out of place at first, but I include chopped water chestnuts in this recipe. They add terrific crunch and make it a little less heavy and blahhhhh. Some people opt for crushed potato chips on top of classic tuna noodle casserole, but I’m telling you, the water chestnuts are THE way to go. Try it and you’ll see for yourself.
You’ll become a believer and your loved ones will soon be calling tuna noodle casserole “gourmet.” Oh and course, you can’t forget the peas! Color, and vegetables. Win. Win.
Enjoy — I’m still embarrassed, but this really is one of our go-to meals — I make it over and over. It’s so easy to make!
- 12 ounces whole wheat wide noodles (similar to egg noodles in shape)
- 2 (10 3/4 ounce) cans cream of chicken soup
- 2 (5 ounce) cans of solid white tuna, drained
- 1 (5 ounce) can of sliced water chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 and 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cook noodles according to directions on package. When finished cooking, drain.
- In a very large bowl, mix together cooked pasta, cream of chicken soup, tuna, water chestnuts, peas, and 1 cup of the cheese. Mix until everything is combined.
- Spray a 9×13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread casserole mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown and heated through. If noodles are getting too crispy for your liking, cover with foil.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Looking for more easy casseroles like this tuna noodle casserole recipe? Try: Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken and Kale Casserole, Barley, Bulgar, and Vegetable Vegan Casserole, Bubble Up Pizza Casserole from Emily Bites, or Layered BBQ Chicken and Sweet Potato Enchilada Casserole from Ambitious Kitchen.