Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Where my casserole lovers at?! I grew up in the midwest where casseroles were a staple - we could literally work any ingredient into one!
One dish that my family often made was tuna noodle casserole, which I loved, and have only replicated once since going vegan in 2005. The last time I made it was probably 2013 and the vegan tuna I used back then came frozen from the asian store and had like 30 ingredients. I've been on the hunt for a new tuna replacement that had better ingredients and is also gluten-free (since I had to go gluten-free in 2016). And guess what? I found one! Tuno by Loma Linda!
I first learned of Loma Linda after being a fan of their sister company Neat Foods for many years. Both are on a mission to make plant-based foods affordable and delicious and I'm here for it! I tried their new, exciting Tuno at Natural Products Expo and recently got my hands on a few cans and have enjoyed experimenting with them.
Loma Linda Tuno is:
A sustainable plant-based seafood alternative that’s good for you & for the world
100% ocean safe, Non-GMO, & Gluten-Free
A protein-rich food, provides an excellent source of calcium and omega-3s without mercury
Affordable & tasty addition to meals with high nutritional value
Pure spring water freshness with up to three year shelf life
Ingredients: Water, non-gmo textured soy protein, yeast extract, maltodextrin, arabic gum, sunflower oil, natural flavor, sea salt, seaweed, potassium chloride.
As with any meat/animal alternative, Tuno is still a processed product that I believe should be eaten in moderation. I'm all about balance and I never ate fish or real burgers every single day, so I wouldn't do the same with this product. However, it's a healthier alternative that doesn't contain any mercury and is better for the planet!
For me, one of the most important issues that Loma Linda aims to relieve is overfishing. If you're not aware of what overfishing is, you can read more about it here.
"There has never been a more urgent time for seafood businesses and fishing nations to make a commitment to sustainability. The world’s oceans are in trouble, with marine life plummeting and the people who are dependent on the sea for income and food left increasingly vulnerable. Data shows populations of fish and other marine vertebrates, including marine mammals, reptiles and birds have halved since 1970." -Dermot O’Gorman CEO of WWF Australia
Everyone is eliminating straws to save the turtles, but what about all of the turtles that die as a byproduct of large fishing nets? Decreasing plastic use is huge and necessary, but there is so much more we need to be aware of.
We're at a crucial point where we need to make sure seafood is sustainable and by opting for a plant-based alternative, you are making a huge positive impact on the oceans, the planet and humanity.
So without further ado, here is my tasty tuna noodle casserole recipe featuring Tuno that you can make for all of your fish loving (and fish eating) friends!
This recipe can be broken down into a few simple steps:
Cook the noodles
Make the vegetable mix:
Add milk, broth and flour to thicken the vegetable mix:
Stir in the Tuno and rest of the ingredients and combine with noodles:
Top with breadcrumb mix and bake.
Serve and eat!
I'd love to hear your thoughts, feedback, etc. on this recipe so let me know in the comments below!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
3 cups noodles cooked according to package until al dente *
¼ c vegan butter or avocado oil
½ c yellow onion, small diced
½ c celery, small diced
16 oz (~2 cup) mushrooms, sliced
¼ c gluten-free flour, or regular flour if you can have it
1 cup non-dairy milk
2 cups vegan chick’n broth (I use 1 bouillon in 2 cups water)
2 cans plain Loma Linda Tuno in spring water
2 cups frozen peas
1 tsp kelp flakes * (optional)
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese
1 cup bread crumbs (make sure they're gluten-free if needed)
2 tsp avocado or olive oil + more for greasing the pan
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ c vegan parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly grease a 9x13 (3 quart) baking pan. I like to use avocado oil and a paper towel
Cook the noodles according to the package, until al dente - they will continue to cook in the oven!
Drain noodles, rinse with cold water, and add to prepared baking pan.
In a large pan, heat butter or avocado oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes
Add celery and mushrooms, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed, approx. 10 minutes
Season with a few pinches of salt & pepper, sprinkle with gluten-free flour and stir for 1 minute
Stir in milk and broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened approx. 3-5 minutes
Once thickened, stir in the peas, Loma Linda Tuno, kelp flakes, and cheddar cheese, then pour over the noodles, stirring to combine.
Combine bread crumbs, 2 tsp avocado or olive oil, smoked paprika and optional parmesan cheese in a bowl then sprinkle on top of the noodle mix.
Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until heated through and golden brown
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving
Egg noodles are commonly used, but I like to use fusilli or another shape that resembles an egg noodle if you can find it! I used these.
Kelp is an iodine rich sea vegetable that will enhance the natural "fishy" flavor of this dish. It's totally optional, but a great addition!
Want to see this recipe in action?
Loma Linda made it on Facebook Live which you can watch here!
This post is sponsored by Loma Linda. The recipe and everything I have said is my own!
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