Weeknight bliss... one pot, stovetop tuna noodle casserole. We made this recipe gluten-free and dairy-free but loaded it with flavor. The whole family is going to love it!
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I have to note that all the one-pot pasta recipes I have seen all said they didn't work with gluten-free pasta. And maybe those specific recipes did not, or maybe it is that gluten-free pasta has come a long way since they were published. Either way, I am so glad I tried to figure out a gluten-free tuna noodle recipe stovetop style.
You are going to love this tuna noodle recipe, it has so many wonderful things going for it!
- Free from both gluten and dairy
- Ready in under 30 minutes making it an easy weeknight recipe
- Crunchy topping that is so satisfying
- One pot and made on the stovetop, no need to heat up the oven
- Uses pantry staples
- No canned cream of mushroom soup
Recipe Ingredients & Substitutions
- Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs- GF breadcrumbs are one of those things I always have on hand, as I don't have the patience to make them from scratch for simple recipes like this one. If you don't have breadcrumbs on hand good substitutes include toasted slivered almonds, crushed up tortilla or potato chips, or crushed up rice crackers. The crunch the breadcrumbs give this recipe is extremely important to the overall texture so don't skip out on this step!
- Gluten-Free Pasta- This recipe is specifically for gluten-free rice-based pasta.If you are not eating gluten-free regular wheat flour pasta will work. For a one-pot pasta recipe, you need dried pasta.
- Regardless of what type of pasta you choose the pasta needs to be either small shapes like elbow or penne or long thin shapes like spaghetti. The cook time should be no more than 10 minutes.
- Legume and plant-based veggie kinds of pasta are great, but they don't work in this recipe. These pasta alternatives generate too much foam and give the sauce an unpleasant texture.
- Canned Tuna- Any tuna canned in water is fine. Just be aware if salt has already been added. You can also substitute with skinless boneless sardines, just like in our lemon & artichoke zoodle recipe, these two fishes are easily interchangeable.
- Mayonnaise- In lieu of canned cream of mushroom soup we are sauteing our own fresh veggies and stirring in mayonnaise at the end. If you are not avoiding dairy, greek yogurt makes a lovely substitute.
- Dijon Mustard- We went light on the dijon, just a little background flavor. If you don't have dijon mustard a brown or grainy mustard works. You can also substitute 1 teaspoon of dry mustard plus 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar.
- Fresh & Frozen Veggies- We use fresh onions, celery, and mushrooms in this recipe. I typically use a brown, or chestnut, mushroom in this recipe. Any button, cremini, or baby Bella works the same. You can even get fancy and do a wild mushroom blend for an adult version of this comfort food classic. We used frozen peas in this recipe because fresh peas are hard to find year-round. You can substitute fresh for frozen using the same instructions. No need to precook. You could also use frozen french green beans as a substitute.
- Herbs & Spices- This recipe calls for a small bit of dried thyme, a lot of dried dill, and fresh parsley to add some brightness at the end. The use of dried versus fresh is really about availability. Feel free to substitute with fresh thyme and dill. I suggest the leaves from one sprig of thyme and 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill.
Adding a Cheesy Topping (optional)
I wanted to make this recipe dairy-free and I wasn't thrilled with the taste compatibility with the dairy-free shredded cheeses I had available. If you wanted to add a cheesy topping (dairy-free or regular) to your tuna noodle casserole we have two options.
Option 1: Add the cheese between steps 6 and 7 in the recipe. Sprinkle the cheese on, let it melt, then scoop into bowls and top with the breadcrumbs and parsley. Mixing the breadcrumbs with the cheese resulted in them losing their crunch- too much steam.
Option 2: Mix the shredded cheese and the breadcrumbs and pop under the broiler until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs have crisped up, 3-4 minutes.
How To Make One-Pot Tuna Noodle
- Toast the Breadcrumbs- we get this out of the way first. Move the toasted breadcrumbs to a plate and wipe out the pan. Alternately, you could toast in another pan while the pasta is cooking to save yourself 5 minutes, but then it isn't a one-pot meal. Your call.
- Cook the Veggies- We like to keep it simple, saute the onion and celery, give the garlic a quick hit of heat and then add the mushrooms. Depending on the freshness of your mushrooms they may release a lot of water. That is OK, just cook down until the water is evaporated and then deglaze the pan with white wine or chicken stock.
- Stir in the Pasta & Water- At this point stir in your pasta and HOT water. You can microwave it, turn your faucet on the hottest setting, or boil it separately. We keep the hot water temp pretty high in our house so I use straight from the tap. Start with 4 cups of water, add more as needed. Pasta that has a quick cook time, under 6 minutes will require closer to 4 cups while pasta at the top of the 10 minute range will take closer to 5. If you put in too much just boil it down.
- Stir in Remaining Ingredients- At the end stir in the remaining ingredients and heat until just warmed through.
- Garnish- Top your tune noodle "casserole" with chopped parsley and the breadcrumbs. You can even add green onions or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
Stovetop gluten-free tuna noodle leftovers can be stored, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat on the stove with a ¼ cup of water.
Stovetop Tuna Noodle
One-Pot Tuna Noodle
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz mushrooms, diced
- ¼ cup white wine or sub chicken stock
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried dill
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 1½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 8 oz gluten-free penne*
- 4-5 cups hot water
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 4.5oz cans of tuna in water, drained
- 1 cup peas
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- parsley, finely chopped for garnish
- In a wide pan over medium heat add breadcrumbs, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt. Toast 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer breadcrumbs to a plate and wipe out pan.
- Return the pan to the heat, add olive oil, celery, and onion. Saute for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic, saute an additional 30 seconds.
- Add mushrooms, saute until they begin to release their water, about 5 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add the dijon, salt, pepper, dried dill, and dried thyme.
- Once the wine has evaporated, stir in the dried penne pasta and add 5 cups HOT water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered until water has evaporated and penne is done**.
- Stir in lemon juice, tuna, peas, and mayo. Simmer on low until heated through.
- To serve, scoop into bowls and sprinkle on breadcrumb topping. Garnish with fresh parsley.