Explore our delightful Vegan Tuna Casserole recipe, a healthy and sustainable twist on the classic tuna casserole. Perfect for a family dinner or to impress guests at any gathering, this vegan casserole is so delicious that it’s sure to become a fast favorite among all health-conscious food lovers.
I love experimenting with food and veganizing meat recipes is kind of my specialty. 🙂 Of course the result won’t be identical to the meat-based recipe, but with a bit of creativity you can actually get pretty close, in terms of texture and taste, to the original recipe.
Today I decided to take my Faux tuna recipe to the next level, by making this vegan tuna casserole recipe. This is an easy pasta casserole with lots of added protein from the chickpeas and peas. It’s very nourishing and comforting, making it an ideal recipe for when you crave a vegan cheesy pasta casserole.
If you liked this creative vegan tuna recipe, also check out my vegan salmon recipe and be amazed! 🙂 Looking for more pasta casseroles? Check out these recipes:
- Greek Pasta Casserole – Vegan Pastitsio
- Vegan Stuffed Pasta Casserole
- Veggie Baked Gnocchi Casserole
- Cozy Vegan Casserole Recipes That Are Incredibly Delicious!
The History and Origin of the Classic Tuna Casserole
Tuna casserole is a dish that found its roots in American cuisine, becoming especially popular in the post-World War II period with the increased availability of canned goods such as canned tuna. It’s essentially a comfort food, often made with tuna, pasta, sometimes vegetables and a creamy sauce, baked until golden and crispy on the surface. The simplicity and speed of preparation, together with the low cost and relative nutritional value, have made tuna casserole a popular choice for family meals.
In recent years, as the interest in plant-based nutrition has increased, this has led to an evolution of many traditional recipes to vegan alternatives, including tuna casserole. The vegan version of this dish replaces tuna with plant-based alternatives such as chickpeas or special vegan products that mimic the texture and taste of tuna. These ingredients are combined with pasta (sometimes gluten-free versions) and a creamy plant-based sauce, such as one made from cashews or soy milk, thus maintaining the classic comfort essence of the original recipe.
This transition to a vegan version of tuna casserole not only offers a healthy and sustainable alternative, but also opens the door to a culinary universe rich in creativity and innovation, demonstrating how culinary traditions can evolve in line with the values and ecological consciousness of our times .
Tips and tricks to imitate the flavor of fish in vegan dishes
The choice of chickpeas as a substitute for tuna in this recipe is an inspired one, and the reasons are many, especially when it comes to its texture and versatility. Chickpeas have a firm and slightly stringy texture that, when properly prepared, can mimic the consistency of tuna quite well. Chickpeas also have the ability to absorb the flavors with which they are cooked, allowing them to blend harmoniously with the other ingredients in the casserole. This versatility makes chickpeas a great base for many vegan dishes looking to replace meat or fish.
Adding fried Nori flakes to the recipe is another clever trick. Nori seaweed is known for its umami taste and distinctive sea flavor reminiscent of fish and seafood. By including algae, the casserole gets a touch of marine flavor, without using animal products. This adds a level of authenticity to the recipe, mimicking the taste of tuna in a subtle but effective manner.
As for the use of flaxseed oil, it is a very suitable choice to add another dimension to the flavor reminiscent of fish. Flaxseed oil is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, similar to fish, and brings a unique taste that matches well with the desired marine flavor profile. In addition to its aromatic profile, flaxseed oil also brings nutritional benefits, being healthy and suitable for a vegan diet.
By combining these ingredients – chickpeas for texture and versatility, Nori flakes for the taste of the sea, and flax oil for its unique flavor and nutritional benefits – we get a vegan faux tuna casserole recipe that not only mimics the original in a creative way, but also provides a rich and satisfying dining experience in its own right.
Vegan Tuna Casserole
For vegan tuna:
- 1 can chickpeas drained
- ½ stalk celery finely chopped
- 1 green onion finely chopped
- ½ red onion chopped
- 30 g vegan mayonnaise
- 50 g Nori seaweed flakes can be found as a snack at Asian stores
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil it has a "fishy" taste and smell
- 40 ml water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper
For the casserole:
- 250 g fusilli pasta cooked according to the instructions on the package; you can use GF if you want
- 1 cup peas frozen
- 300 ml condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup cashew milk
- 1 cup vegan cheddar cheese grated
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs use GF if needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper
Prepare the "tuna":
- In a bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork. Don’t puree it, you want it flaky and slightly chunky in texture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add finely chopped celery, red onion, green onion and Nori flakes.
- In a blender, combine vegan mayonnaise, water, vinegar, flaxseed oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add this sauce to the chickpea mash and mix well.
- Place the fake tuna mixture in a bowl, cover and set aside.
For the casserole:
- Heat the oven to 180 C (356F).
- Put the cooked pasta in a bowl, add the peas, the vegan tuna, the canned mushroom soup, milk and grated cheddar. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the mixture to a casserole greased with oil.
- In a small bowl, mix the Panko breadcrumbs and olive oil and sprinkle over the pasta mixture.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until it browns on top and forms a crispy layer.