This Whole30 tuna zoodle casserole is a rich, creamy, healthy take on the American classic. With zoodle ribbons, a cashew “béchamel,” golden brown sautéed mushrooms, and savory chunk tuna, you’ll want to add this Whole30 tuna zoodle casserole to your Whole30 dinner recipe rotation ASAP. Comes together easily with a high-speed blender and a great spiralizer.
If there’s one dish that instantly takes me back to my childhood, it’s tuna noodle casserole. Hands down.
It wasn’t a dish I loved back then. In fact, it was the one on the rotation that I turned my nose up at. Was it the slightly insufficient sauce? The broiled edges of the noodles that didn’t end up covered with cheese? The tuna? Whatever it was, I wasn’t into it.
And then as I became an adult, I started craving it for some reason: the creamy béchamel sauce stirred into fresh noodles, a can of tuna and a nod to my grandmother’s Depression era recipe, topping it all off with some orange cheese and blasting it under the broiler for a couple minutes.
But since we don’t eat erm, a) béchamel, b) wheat noodles, or c) orange cheese, I had to rethink things a bit.
I used my family’s classic dish as the inspiration for this Whole30 tuna zoodle casserole, keeping the sauce rich and creamy and inspired lightly by French classics, tossing it all with egg noodle-inspired zoodles and a couple cans of tuna. I skipped the cheese, of course, and stirred in sautéed mushrooms with a bit of garlic instead for a bit of flavor. And damndamndamn.
Creamy and savory and filling and light and such a welcome change from the typical Whole30 dinner recipes we throw on our meal plan, loaded with avocados and sweet potatoes and so, so much bacon. Instead, this Whole30 tuna zoodle casserole was comforting but didn’t leave me with that comfort-food sludge hanging around after.
And what keeps the zoodles from getting soggy? I used the salting method to essentially “cook” the zoodles while I prepped the rest of the meal, heavily salting them and letting them weep out all their waters, squeezing them dry before tossing them with the rest of the ingredients. What results is a zoodle that tastes more like a cooked noodle, rather than a crisp, raw veggie spiral. You don’t have to worry about the Whole30 tuna zoodle casserole descending into chaos over time, since the heavy water content from the zucchini is already taken care of!
You’ll want to use lots of salt for this process, too, but don’t worry: the salt is essentially washed off of the zucchini with the water it produces. Literal zucchini tears, y’all. It’s a thing.
You’ll love this Whole30 tuna zoodle casserole because it’s rich and creamy and flavorful but surprisingly straightforward: it only uses a few ingredients and a few simple processes. The result is an elegant take on a classic American dish that you’ll want to put on your Whole30 meal plan ASAP.
Whole30 Tuna Zoodle Casserole (Paleo, Dairy-Free)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Prepare your zoodles: Chop zoodles into about 1 1/2" ribbons - a very rough chop of the whole batch of zoodles is OK. Evenly spread your prepared zucchini noodles (zoodles) on two paper towel-lined baking sheets. Heavily sprinkle them with salt and let them rest for about 20-30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Once the zoodles have rested for 20-30 minutes, layer another paper towel on top of the zoodles and roll them up. Squeeze out all the excess water as best you can; discard the water. Unroll and discard the paper towels; zoodles are now prepared.
- Sauté the mushrooms: in a large skillet, heat ghee over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms and sauté until golden, stirring occasionally but not too often. When mushrooms are golden brown, stir in garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat.
- Make your creamy sauce: in a high-speed blender, blend cashews, water, nutritional yeast, and a couple big pinches of salt. Blend on high speed until completely smooth. Add up to 1/4 more water as necessary to blend to completely smooth consistency.
- Pour sauce over sautéed mushrooms and stir to combine well. Add prepared zucchini noodles and drained tuna to sauce and combine well. Transfer to baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.