Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What I Do With Dolphin-Free Tuna

My Grandpa Rocha (mom's dad) has in his life been a cattle farmer, ice cream delivery man, and now, a retired fisherman. By that, I mean that he now spends whole summers in Oregon fishing, and his frozen and home-canned fish is a hot commodity amongst family members, particularly his tuna. The reason for this is that it is the only tuna we can be 100% certain doesn't contain any baby dolphin parts mixed in with the fish.

Recently, my mom bequeathed to me one such coveted jar of tuna. Would I relegate this fish to an ordinary tuna sandwich? Nay, heaven forbid! I decided to make it into a delicious, tantalizing casserole.

I found a recipe on but it left a lot to be desired, both in nutrition and taste, according to come of the comments. First, I substituted whole grain pasta for the refined stuff. I cut out a lot of the butter, and added lots of spices and herbs for flavor (since some of the comments implied that it was on the bland side).

The result was pure Omega-3 nirvana. This is comfort food extraordinaire, and even if you substitute Bumblebee, you will be glad you made it. The homemade white sauce kicks the pants off anything from a box or can that you have ever tried.

Tuna Noodle Casserole From Scratch

1 T. olive oil
1 (8 oz) package uncooked medium egg noodles (preferably whole grain)
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
4 T. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
lemon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
2 (6 oz) cans tuna, drained and flaked
1 c. thawed frozen peas
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 T. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a medium baking dish with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add egg noodles, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.

Pour olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the onion, celery, parsley and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to medium-high, and mix in mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, and continue cooking 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and season with spices listed. Stir in tuna, peas, mushroom mixture, and cooked noodles. Transfer to the baking dish.

Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a small bowl, mix with bread crumbs and garlic powder, and sprinkle on top of the casserole.
Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned.


  1. Sounds tasty:) The unfortunate difficulty with Tuna isn't even dolphins anymore but simply that Tuna populations have gone down so much. They also have high levels of toxins in them from run off. But I still love to eat them:) Is that bad?

  2. Yeah, I was just joking about the dolphins. I'm a child of the 80's, what can I say? You're right about the tuna overfishing problem. Poor little fishies. I blame them, for being so cheap and so high in Omega-3s and therefore so popular amongst human predators. Haha

  3. I was like "Dolphins bits???"

    Haha. Great recipe. I love tuna.

  4. Maybe we should eat more Dolphin to help with the Tuna population...


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