Monday, August 22, 2011

Non-dairy Gourmet "Tuna" Noodle Casserole (with vegan option)

My favorite compliment from my husband, "Can you make this again?" began with my son running in from the park asking, "Can we have pasta and tuna and frozen corn?"

Yes, my children would have been satisfied with pasta covered in ketchup, tuna salad, and frozen, literally still frozen, corn.  But, ew, really?

Though sardines are usually more expensive than canned tuna, I've been trying to steer my family toward these healthier and more ecological little fishies.  I even found a brand I love.  I call them "sardines for beginners."  No heads, tails, spines or scales, and no fish breath.  My husband was the last hold out, preferring the the dry mercury laden giants often called "the hot dog of fish" (canned tuna).  But even he couldn't resist sardines smothered in this flavorful creamy sauce in a familiar, noodle casserole format. 

For school lunch, try it cold, for a one-dish, energy packed, lunch to-go!

The sauce is so fast and easy to make, you can begin the prep at the same time you start the pasta water.  And like all my "non-recipes" the ingredients are flexible.

Pasta
You will need about 3/4 lb of pasta (3/4 of a regular box of bag) to serve 5-6 people.  I cooked the whole box and kept some plain.
  1. Boil the pasta of your choice in salted water. 
  2. Add frozen peas, broccoli, or vegetable of your choice when the pasta is almost done.  
  3. Drain pasta and veggies; do not rinse. 

Sauce
  1. Prep about 8 mushrooms, 2 cloves of garlic, and half an onion. 
  2. Put in the bowl of a blender, food processor, or (preferably) a hand blender.  
  3. Add walnuts and/or pine nuts and about half a can of coconut "milk" (the white liquid made from ground coconut pulp) or about 3/4 cup of your favorite non-dairy liquid like soy milk or vegetable broth.  
  4. Add salt and pepper if you like.  I used a pinch of crushed red pepper and no additional salt.
  5. Blend until very smooth.
  6. Cook in a sauce pan or small pot to bring out the mushroom flavors and tone down the garlic. 
  7. When sauce is cooked, remove from heat and add two cans of sardines, crumbled. (Of course, you could use tuna, salmon, or any leftover fish or chicken.)
  8. Vegan option: Instead of sardines, add more nuts, beans, seitan, or protein of your choice.
  9. Add to about 3/4 of the pasta.  Add more pasta if sauce permits.
  10. Optionally, mix nutritional yeast into the sauce or sprinkle on top for a cheesy touch.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks, made it for lunch! Very good!

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  2. This sounds so yummy. I cannot wait to try it. I hope that you make it during my visit.

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  3. i recently discovered nuts trigger my asthma (guess i'm allergic) - how crucial are the nuts?

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  4. Nuts are not crucial. Just add more mushrooms.

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  5. I love sardines, but haven't eaten them in years...just don't ever think to buy them. I'm gonna add them to my shopping list!!! Thanks!

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