I don’t know about you guys, but the last few weeks of quarantine, I’ve found myself not just leaning on comfort food, but on my comfort foods of 10 years ago…many of which were also subsequently my comfort foods of 30 years ago (i.e. childhood).
I don’t have many cookbooks on MV except for my own, so I’ve been cracking open the one I co-wrote 10 years ago, and a lot of the recipes I posted on my old site (BGSK) from that era.
When I first started cooking in my small, starter apartment kitchen I was always trying to recreate my mother’s dishes. Since she was an OG health nut, many of them were healthy by nature and included quinoa, millet, and other obscure ingredients long before they were commonplace on regular grocery shelves.
But the other half were gluten and dairy bombs that really have no place on my site today. So I’ve been trying to update them for myself, and now that I’ve had a few weeks to mentally spiral, I’ve mustered the gusto to break out my DSLR and update them for you too.
First up is actually my dad’s all-time favorite comfort food: tuna noodle casserole. It also happens to be one of my husband’s favorite comfort foods, though I am only learning this now thanks to our pantry purging.
This easy tuna noodle casserole recipe uses a from scratch gluten-free béchamel (instead of the gloppy ole can of cream of mushroom soup), but is no less pantry friendly. I used white rice flour and a can of full-fat coconut milk, but you can substitute any gluten-free flour you have lying around (AP, chickpea, coconut, etc.) and any non-dairy milk (though coconut is by far the creamiest). I promise the end flavor doesn’t have any traces of coconut.
If you’re low on fresh ingredients you can skip the cremini mushrooms and scallions, though they really are what up the healthy factor and make the casserole taste so bright and complex. Parsley or dill would also work well as herb garnishes.
Lastly, gluten-free egg noodles are a hard thing to find, so I used my favorite brown rice fusilli. For more on my favorite GF pasta shapes and brands, click here. I can also see this tasting fabulous as a quick deconstructed version with spaghetti and toasted breadcrumbs! Just skip the baking / casserole instructions.
Please let me know if you have any more swap questions in the comments! What comfort food would you like me to lighten up next?
With health and hedonism,
Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole From Scratch
This healthy tuna noodle casserole recipe is made with a from scratch gluten-free, dairy-free bechamel sauce. Read the post for ideas on how you can swap in other pantry ingredients - it works with pretty much any dairy-free milk (or regular milk) and gluten-free flour.
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter
- 1 medium shallot thinly sliced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms stems removed and thinly sliced
- 4 scallions white and green parts separated thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons white rice flour
- One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 5 ounces wild tuna packed in olive oil see note
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 12 ounces gluten-free fusilli
- 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs or panko
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
In a large cast iron pan or casserole dish, melt 1 tablespoon of ghee or butter over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, the white parts of the scallions, and the tamari, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and cook until all the liquid has nearly been absorbed by the vegetables, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and scrape the mushroom mixture into a bowl. Set aside.
Add the remaining ghee or butter to the pan and melt it over low heat. Whisk in the flour then pour in the coconut milk. Whisk or stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps. Turn the heat back up to medium and simmer the sauce until is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, stirring continuously, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
In the meantime, cook the pasta according to package directions until just shy of al dente (about 8 minutes, versus the 12 my box called for). Drain in a colander.
Off the heat, add the mushroom mixture, green parts of the scallions, tuna, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes to the béchamel. Stir until combined. Gently fold in the pasta until fully distributed. Top with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until bubbling and browned. Serve immediately.
- Casserole can be made a few days in advance (up until the crumb topping step) and kept covered in the fridge.
- When you open the tuna can, push the lid down over the sink to drain out the oil. Then add tuna as outlined below.