Tuna Casserole is one of America’s most divisive meals; some love the idea of recapturing treasured childhood moments spent digging into this comforting dish, while others wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. I think there are enough folks in the first camp to provide me a steady stream of requests for a health-minded adaptation over the years, so here we are.
Initially, I couldn’t fathom why people were asking me to recreate Tuna Casserole – the dish I grew up with was made with egg noodles, and pasta is a no-go on the Paleo diet (well…I’m okay with rice pasta, but I digress). Turns out there is a segment of the population that feels a true Tuna Casserole is made with potatoes instead of noodles; once I got word of this concept, throwing the rest of the casserole together was cake.
As with a couple other recipes this month (see: exhibit 1 and exhibit 2), I was approached by Sharp to create dishes using their Convection Microwave, and this casserole seemed like a good fit; the microwave’s convection oven function worked like a charm. One advantage I discovered while making this dish in the microwave was that I could soften the onion in the microwave itself instead of dirtying an extra pan; I used the bottom roasting element to act as a conventional stovetop, then switched it to the convection oven setting and baked the rest of the dish. If you don’t own the microwave (yet?), I’ve provided conventional stovetop and oven instructions below.
I’ve also teamed up with Sharp to give away one of the microwaves that I’ve been using during these cooking adventures. See the bottom of this post for directions on how to enter.
To easily slice the potatoes, I used a mandoline slicer and knocked it out in like a minute.
Lately, we’ve been using Safe Catch canned tuna, which I first heard about while attending Paleo f(x) this past spring. They test every single fish for mercury, and they are caught from sustainably managed stocks. Their limits for mercury are 10x more strict than the FDA regulations, and their Elite tuna is the only canned tuna that meets the low mercury criteria as determined by Consumer Reports, making it safe for children and expecting mothers. Finally, they raw-pack their tuna without any additives or water, and cook the tuna in the can; the juice in the can comes right from the fish, and is super tasty (also: drives my cat bonkers).
Tuna Casserole - Paleo, Primal, Gluten Free, Whole30-friendly
4 tbsp butter (ghee okay)
1/2 onion, diced
2 tbsp rice flour (coconut flour okay)
1 cup heavy cream (coconut milk okay)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, more to taste
2 cans (5oz each) tuna, drained
4 russet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Sharp Convection Microwave instructions:
1. Preheat the convection oven to 275F to warm up the inside of the microwave. In a casserole dish, add the butter and diced onion. Press the “Roast” button twice on the microwave to activate the bottom heating element, then set it for 8 minutes. Roast until the onion is softened, opening the microwave door and stirring every 2 minutes, about 8 minutes altogether. Stir in the rice flour and return to the microwave; roast again until the flour is light brown and toasted, again opening the door and stirring every 2 minutes, about 4 minutes total.
2. Set the microwave to convection, and preheat to 350F. As the microwave heats, carefully remove the casserole dish and stir in the cream, broth, salt, and pepper, then gently stir in the tuna, potatoes, and half of the parsley. Cover tightly with heavy duty tin foil and bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Uncover the casserole dish and return to the oven; bake until the potatoes are soft and the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and taste for salt and pepper; add more if needed. Stir in the remaining parsley and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Conventional oven instructions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350F. In a saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes, then stir in the rice flour. Sauté until light brown and toasted, about 2 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the cream, broth, salt, and pepper; simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes, then taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
2. Stir in the tuna, potatoes and parsley, then transfer to a casserole dish. Cover tightly with heavy duty tin foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover the casserole dish and return to the oven; bake until the potatoes are soft and the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir in the remaining parsley; let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Kyla Andrew, who won the giveaway! The giveaway is now closed.
To enter the giveaway for this microwave ($300 value), simply leave a comment below letting me know which microwave recipe you liked best: this Tuna Casserole, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, or Braised Country Style BBQ Ribs. I will randomly choose a winner on Tuesday, July 14th at 9pm EST. Please be sure to use a valid email address when leaving a comment (in the “email address” field, not the comment itself), as that is how I will contact you. Giveaway limited to continental US residents only, and good luck!
Note: I was paid by Sharp to try their product and develop recipes for it. All opinions expressed are my own.