Lighten Up! with Tuna Casserole


A few days ago, I came home to a very nice surprise! Thank you to Cooking Light for the new cookbook, Lighten Up, America!, with over 150 recipes documenting Allison Fishman Task’s travel across America looking for the most authentic and local recipes. She lightened up these delicious recipes and gave them a healthy spin. The first recipe I chose to make was the American classic, Tuna Casserole.

Tuna Casserole

Tuna Casserole

Tuna Casserole


  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni or ziti
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat shredded cheddar or other cheese
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen petite green peas
  • 2 (5-ounce) cans solid white tuna in water, drained
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add onion, sauté 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle flour over onion mixture, stirring until blended; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a simmer; stir in cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Cook 1 minute or just until cheese melts. Stir in peas and tuna.
  4. Add pasta, tossing to coat. Pour pasta mixture into an 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle panko and parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

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