As a kid growing up in Southern California, I didn’t eat many casseroles. When my mom departed the Midwest for Los Angeles, she left a whole bunch of dishes behind along with her winter coats. So, funnily enough, things like casseroles, meatloafs and stews were somewhat scarce in my childhood and, therefore, always a treat.
One of my all-time favorites was and still is Tuna Noodle Casserole. Now, lots of people don’t get the appeal of this gooey suspension of canned tuna, canned cream-of-soups and pasta, but for me, it’s all about the crunchy, buttery breadcrumb topping that hides the warm, comforting surprise underneath.
Coming off a long winter of cold-weather overindulgence, I thought I would lighten up this old-time favorite in anticipation of Spring with one of my veggie go-tos, Zoodles! If you don’t know what Zoodles are and haven’t gotten yourself a Spiralizer (or Zoodler as I call them) yet, hop on over to Chef Hans’ blog on the the OXO Handheld Spiralizer: A Small Yet Useful Kitchen Tool. If you’re already hip to the joys of the zoodle, read on!
Tuna Zoodle Casserole
4 small small or 2 large zucchini spiralized
2 cups homemade Cream of Celery Soup (I didn’t have any canned but had a ton of celery wilting in the fridge so made my own) or 1 can Condensed Cream of Celery Soup
1 can tuna in water. (I like Albacore chunks.)
A pinch of seasoning salt
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs (I always use Panko because I love the extra crunch, but regular breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs will work just as well.)
1 Tablespoon butter, olive or grapeseed oil plus a little melted butter or oil for drizzling on your breadcrumbs
This recipe comes together really quickly so is fantastic for a fast lunch or light supper. I was only cooking for two today, but you can double this recipe to feed four or feed two with leftovers for lunch the next day!
1. Gather all of your ingredients and make your zoodles.
2. Melt some butter in a large frying pan and saute zoodles until they are just beginning to wilt and release some water. I like to add a little seasoning salt at this point to help the zoodles release all their water. Once zoodles have wilted, drain as much liquid as you can from the pan.
3. Add Cream of Celery Soup and stir to coat zoodles. Fold tuna into mixture, breaking up any large chunks but leaving nice, whole pieces.
4. Transfer zoodles to a small baking dish or individual oven-safe dishes. Top with breadcrumbs, drizzle with melted butter or oil and pop into a 450 degree oven until breadcrumbs are golden and casserole is bubbly. Enjoy!
Want to start your own recipe Spring clean? Join us for tomorrow's Eating Away the Winter Weight at the Merchandise Mart or Keto Kraze Sunday 3/31 at Lincoln Square.