Do you know what I love about zucchini noodles? Just about everything! They mimic the texture of pasta, they qualify as a serving of vegetables, and they’re super inexpensive at the grocery store! This tuna zucchini noodle bake makes a perfect quick and easy weeknight meal that also packs in the nutrition.
If you’re wondering about baking tuna fish, read on to learn why we love combining tuna with our favorite pasta dishes. When everything gets baked together, the tuna, tomato sauce, and milk come together to make a deliciously savory sauce. And, did we mention it was topped off with a cheesy layer? There’s nothing to hate about that!
Pre-Spiralized Zoodles Or Spiralize Yourself?
Before we get into the tuna fish debate, let’s take a look at the noodles themselves. These days, most grocery stores carry pre-spiralized zoodles. They can be found in the frozen section or packaged in cellophane containers in the produce section. It’s completely convenient to buy these already zoodled noodles, so should you?
First of all, you will certainly pay for convenience. A zucchini costs much less (and yields more noodles) than the zoodled variety. Granted, you’ll have to pay for a spiralizer if you want to do it yourself (we like this $30 model, or this handheld $15 model if you’re short on storage space).
On the other hand, you’ll get fresher noodles when you spiralize yourself. Zucchini has a high water content, and it starts to dry out as soon as it’s cut. It will also begin to lose nutrition, so your body will absorb more nutrients when they’re fresher.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to you. If buying pre-spiralized zoodles is the best way for you to put a home cooked meal on the dinner table, then go for it! If you have a spiralizer and a few extra minutes, then I would recommend spiralizing yourself.
Tuna Fish In a Pasta Dish?
I grew up eating tuna salad straight out of the can. It was an easy (and inexpensive) way for my mother to make lunch for us kids. We almost never ate it for dinner – it was always reserved for white bread sandwiches (or, eaten on lettuce by my mom).
Tuna has gotten a bad wrap over the years for poor fishing practices and high-mercury content. These days, though, doctors and nutritionists agree we should be eating more seafood. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, and both the USDA and American Heart Association recommend at least two to three servings of fish a week.
Canned tuna fish can be healthy – you just need to look for a few important things. Buying light tuna (which is lower in mercury) that is line- or pole-caught is a good start. Then, make sure the can itself is free of BPA-linings. Finally, look for water-packed tuna (which has less calories than the oil-packed kinds).
You might be surprised at how delicious tuna is in a pasta dish. We really think it adds a lot of savory flavor to the casserole, deepening the other flavors. Let us know if you agree after you give it a try – we’d love to know what you think!
Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 167 | Total Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 472mg | Carbohydrates: 0g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 18g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 3
- 4 medium zucchini, cut into noodles with a spiralizer
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 (6 ounce) cans water-packed flaked tuna, drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated fat-free parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Spread the spiralized zucchini in an even layer in the casserole dish. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil, Once hot, add the onion and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the tuna and tomato paste, cook for about 1 more minute. Stir in the diced tomatoes, milk, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir in the parmesan until melted.
- Pour the tuna mix over the zucchini noodles. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Looking for more faux-noodle dishes? We love our vegetable spiralizer and have all kinds of recipes for zoodles or spaghetti squash noodles. Find them on our Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram page. Better yet – subscribe to the newsletter to get them delivered to you!