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Playing Make-Ahead Meals: Lightened Up Tuna Noodle Casserole & Quick Salsa

This better-for-you version of tuna noodle casserole is made with lots of greens, whole wheat pasta + bread crumbs.

Pro tip: If you’re freezing this tuna noodle casserole, cool it to room temperature then wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the freezer. To reheat, remove the plastic wrap, cover with foil and bake in a 375°F oven and bake for 45 minutes or until warm in the center. Remove foil, sprinkle with topping and bake for an additional 10 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top.

For more healthy recipes that don't sacrifice flavor, try this Sheet Pan Parm Shrimp + Veggies or these BBQ Chicken and Corn Salad Lettuce Wraps.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound white button or cremini mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound whole wheat shell pasta
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 to 3 shallots or 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • 1 packed cup kale or spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1 3/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups store-bought crispy fried onions, divided
  • 2 5- to 6-ounce cans tuna in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs

Yield

Serves: 4-6

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once very hot, add mushrooms and cook until brown and almost all the moisture is gone, about 12-14 minutes.


While the mushrooms are cooking, cook pasta 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain and reserve.

Season mushrooms with salt and pepper then add onions and cook until slightly brown, about 1-2 minutes. Wilt in kale or spinach and wilt then sprinkle flour over the skillet and stir until combined. Deglaze the pan with white wine then add stock and milk. Stir to combine and bring to a bubble. Let the sauce reduce for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat.

Stir in 1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1 cup crispy fried onions and the tuna. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, toss to coat then transfer everything to a baking dish.*

In a small bowl, combine remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and crispy fried onions, parsley, lemon zest, and panko. Sprinkle over the top the casserole. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.