Tuna noodle casserole is a tale as old as time. This old fashioned recipe has been a staple in my family for years. This pasta dish is a comforting quick and easy meal, and one that you can feel good about serving to your family!
If you love quick and easy pasta recipes you have to make my rose penne, or my super easy garlic shrimp fettuccine alfredo.
- shell pasta noodles
- cheddar cheese
- frozen spinach
- evaporated milk
- salt and pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
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I mentioned this above already but this recipe is extremely easy to make and just the perfect weeknight meal.
It takes about 15 minutes to put together and another 30 minutes to bake in the oven.
There are a couple of things to do before completing the steps below:
- Cook the pasta shells, as per the box instructions. Cook the noodles until al dante, strain, and run the noodles under cold water to stop the cooking. Set the cooked noodles aside.
- Defrost the frozen spinach. There are two ways you can go about doing this, the first would be letting it defrost at room temperature for 3-4 hours (who has time for that though? certainly not me). The second way is removing the frozen spinach from the packaging and defrosting it using the defrost setting on your microwave. Do this in stages, checking on the spinach periodically.
- Once the spinach is fully defrosted, you will need to drain off all of the excess water. Do this by placing the spinach in a fine mesh sieve and pressing on it with the back of a spoon. Continue pressing the spinach until all of the water is pressed out.
In a large oven safe skillet*, melt the butter and sauté the garlic and scallions for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cooked pasta shells and some of the cheese.
On top of the noodles, spread out the spinach and tuna.
In a small mixing bowl combine the eggs, evaporated milk, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth and then pour the mixture on top of the casserole. Spreading it around evenly while pouring.
Top with the remaining cheese, sprinkle the paprika on top and bake.
30 minutes later you will be greeted with a hot, bubbling, delicious tuna noodle casserole.
*If you do not have an oven safe skillet, you can use a traditional casserole dish. Sauté the butter, onions and garlic in a fry pan and transfer it to a large casserole dish, then carry on with the recipe as listed.
- Gluten Free - substitute regular pasta noodles for gluten free pasta noodles.
- Salmon or Chicken - substitute the canned tuna for canned salmon or canned chicken.
No. I would not recommend using regular milk instead of evaporated milk. The reason is most of the water is already removed from evaporated milk, making it extra creamy. And because the water is removed from evaporated milk it will not absorb into the noodles, making them soggy and overcooked.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
To reheat: Reheat in the oven, 350°F for 10 minutes or microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole
- 300 grams Medium Pasta Shells, uncooked approx. 3 ½ cups
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 2 Scallions diced
- 3-4 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 cans Flaked Light Tuna drained
- 300 grams Frozen Spinach approx. 1 ½ cups, defrosted and drained
- 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded and divided
- 13 ounces Evaporated Milk approx. 1 ⅔ cups
- 2 large Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½-¾ teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- Cook the pasta shells as per the package instructions. Cook until al dante, strain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- Defrost the spinach by either letting it sit at room temperature or defrost in the microwave using the defrost setting (see more detailed instructions above).
- After the spinach is fully defrosted, transfer it to a fine mesh sieve and press out all of the excess water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- In a large oven safe skillet* over medium heat, melt the butter. Sauté the garlic and scallions for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Remove from the heat. To the skillet add the cooked pasta shells and ½ cup of cheddar cheese, stir to combine.
- On top of the pasta, add the spinach in an even layer.
- On top of the spinach, add the tuna in an even layer, set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl add the evaporated milk, eggs, pepper and salt. Whisking to combine.
- Evenly pour the milk mixture overtop of the entire casserole.
- Top with remaining cheddar cheese and sprinkle the paprika on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the top is starting to brown. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
M. Leslie says
The old fashioned tuna noodle casserole was very easy to put together and tasted amazing. This recipe was the perfect comfort food for a dark chilly night!
Original Tuna Noodle Casserole does not contain spinach or cheese but rather Cream of Mushroom soup, peas and carrots or just peas. This is an adaptation not the original.