Canned Tuna Casserole Recipe: Cheap and Delicious Dinner Ideas

Think you know canned tuna? Think again! This canned tuna casserole recipe transforms simple ingredients into a delicious and cost-effective dinner that will have you stocking up on canned tuna like never before.


Prepare this scrumptious meal using the following straightforward ingredients:

  • 2 cans of Tuna in Brine, drained
  • 1 Onion, finely chopped
  • 5 Medium Potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) Hot Milk
  • 20 g (0.7 oz) Butter
  • 60 g (2 oz) Mozzarella Cheese, grated
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste


Prep and Cooking:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. Prepare Potatoes: Boil the sliced potatoes in salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Cook Onion: In a skillet, heat some olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent.
  4. Mix Tuna: In a bowl, combine the drained tuna with tomato paste. Add the cooked onions and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble and Bake:

  1. Layer the Casserole: In a greased baking dish, layer half of the boiled potatoes. Spread the tuna mixture over the potatoes, then top with the remaining potatoes.
  2. Prepare Milk Mixture: In a saucepan, warm the butter and hot milk until the butter is melted. Pour this mixture evenly over the layered casserole.
  3. Add Cheese and Bake: Sprinkle grated mozzarella cheese on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.


  1. Cool and Garnish: Let the casserole cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.

Nutrition Details

This canned tuna casserole not only offers a satisfying dinner but also provides several nutritional benefits that make it a worthwhile addition to your meal rotation:

  • Tuna: A lean source of high-quality protein, it’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health and cognitive function. Tuna is a good source of selenium, known for its antioxidant properties.
  • Potatoes: Provide a good amount of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure, and vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. They are also a source of fiber, especially with the skin on.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Contributes calcium for bone health but also adds saturated fats; using part-skim mozzarella can help reduce fat intake.
  • Tomato Paste: High in lycopene, an antioxidant with potential health benefits including reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Healthier Ingredient Substitutions

To make this tuna casserole healthier without sacrificing flavor, consider the following substitutions:

  • Reduce Sodium: Choose low-sodium canned tuna and tomato paste to decrease salt intake, which is beneficial for heart health.
  • Increase Fiber: Add a layer of mixed vegetables such as spinach, bell peppers, or zucchini between the potato and tuna layers to increase fiber and nutrient content.
  • Low-Fat Dairy Options: Substitute full-fat dairy products with low-fat or fat-free milk and cheese to reduce calorie intake while still providing calcium.

Serving Suggestions

Enhance the dining experience with these serving suggestions to make the meal more complete:

  • With a Side Salad: Serve the casserole with a side of mixed greens or a simple cucumber salad to add freshness and balance the hearty flavors of the casserole.
  • Whole Grains: Offer a side of whole-grain bread or a serving of brown rice to add fiber and provide a more filling meal.
  • Wine Pairing: A light white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or a Chardonnay, pairs beautifully with the flavors of the tuna and the richness of the casserole.

Seasonal Adaptations

Tailor this recipe to different seasons for freshness and variety:

  • Spring: Incorporate asparagus or fresh peas into the casserole for a springtime touch.
  • Summer: Add fresh herbs like basil or parsley for a brighter flavor profile.
  • Fall/Winter: Mix in root vegetables like carrots or parsnips for added heartiness and a seasonal twist.

This canned tuna casserole is a versatile and nutritious dish that can easily be adapted to fit a healthier lifestyle or accommodate different seasonal ingredients. By incorporating these suggestions, you can enjoy a balanced and delicious meal that makes the most of simple, affordable ingredients. Whether you’re feeding a family or looking for a satisfying solo dinner, this casserole is sure to impress with its ease of preparation and delightful flavors.

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