I grew up in a busy family of five where money was pretty tight. As such, dinners in our house were kept on a budget, usually one-pot meals, and needed to be able to feed a family of five pretty easily. This meant we had a handful of standby dinners that usually appeared on a weekly or rotating basis: spaghetti, hamburger helper, meatloaf, stuffed shells, cavatini, and my personal favorite: tuna noodle casserole.
I don’t know what it is about egg noodles, cream of celery soup (my mom tried using cream of mushroom once but my dad wasn’t having any of it – he sniffed that out before he even took a bite), and canned tuna; but tuna noodle casserole night was one of my favorite dinner nights in our house. I haven’t had tuna casserole since moving out of my parent’s house for college in 2000, but for some reason lately I’ve been craving it.
Unfortunately, since I stopped eating grains/gluten after meeting my husband in 2011, tuna casserole is off the menu.
Fortunately, I have a slight pinterest addiction and one day I happened upon this beautiful “Paleo Tuna Casserole” post from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Tuna casserole made with spaghetti squash?! How did I not think of this on my own??
Welcome to the latest addition of Foodie Flattery: Paleo Tuna Noodle Casserole from Jay’s Baking Me Crazy. Gaah. So good. So worth it. It was so good in fact, that my eight-year old not only ate his entire portion without complaint, but ALSO told me that I should make it again. MAJOR. WIN.
I was a little skeptical about using coconut milk – not because of the potential taste, but because I was worried it wouldn’t get thick and the casserole would end up too soupy – but as it turns out I had nothing to worry about. Using arrowroot powder as a thickener and adding eggs to the casserole before baking was the perfect way to hold everything together and as I suspected, you couldn’t taste the coconut milk at all.
Bottom line, this casserole was everything I hoped it would be and more. One bite and I was transported back to my parent’s kitchen table, fighting with my sister over the gooey melted cheese my mom used as a topping for her own tuna casserole. In this version we used crushed chips as the topping, which was equally delicious.
Here’s the link again for the recipe I used – I omitted the mushrooms and used a bag of frozen peas and carrots instead (based on the way my mom used to make it – my dad abhors mushrooms). Next time I think we’ll use both – and I highly recommend using these sweet and spicy jalapeno potato chips to top your casserole. Yum.
*Note: To make this a Whole30 approved dinner, simply omit the chips. Trust me, it will still be comfort food delicious.