This vegan “tuna”-noodle casserole is a plant-based version of the classic old-fashioned casserole, taking it straight from the 1950s into the present. It’s an even better, fish-free rendition of a cozy, family-friendly dish.
There isn’t one standard recipe — some use canned soups, others use flour-thickened sauces. Here we’ll dispense with both of those options and instead, use a creamy base made with white beans.
The few steps involved with this recipe can be accomplished in the time it takes to heat up the water for the pasta and cook it. Pack leftover portions of this casserole for brown-bag lunches — it’s just as tasty at room temperature as it is served warm.
Tuna is problematic on many levels, including insane levels of bycatch and exploitative working conditions. See lots of good reasons to avoid seafood in Plant-Based Seafood Alternatives You Need to Try.
For the plant-based “tuna”: There are several brands on the market, including Good Catch Fish-Free Tuna, Tofu Fysh, and Loma Linda “Tuno.” But truth be told, I prefer to use baked tofu (Nasoya, Soyboy) for its more neutral flavor.
Recipe adapted from Plant-Powered Protein: 125 Recipes for Using Today’s Amazing Meat Alternatives ©2020 by Nava Atlas. Reprinted by permission. Photographs by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 8 to 10 ounces pasta, any short shape (shells and twists work well)
- 15-ounce can cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup plain plant-based milk
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegan butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium stalks celery, diced
- 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups vegan cheese shreds, preferably cheddar-style
- 4 to 6 ounces plant-based tuna, or finely diced baked tofu (about half a package)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Fine breadcrumbs and paprika for topping
- Preheat the oven to 375º F.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, combine the beans, plant-based milk, and seasoning blend in a food processor or blender. Process until very smooth.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and celery and sauté over medium heat until golden and just beginning to brown lightly.
- Pour the pureed beans into the pan along with the cooked pasta, peas, vegan cheese, and plant-based tuna. Stir together, then season with salt and pepper and stir again. If your pan threatens to spill over, do this step in a mixing bowl.
- Transfer the mixture to an oiled 1 1/2 quart round or rectangular casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then dig in.
If you enjoy this veganized tuna classic, you might also enjoy …