Tuna and Noodles with Homemade Mushroom Sauce

“A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it really know what goes in it.” ~~ Anonymous

Linguini with tuna and mushroom sauce

Linguini with tuna and mushroom sauce

If you grew up in the mid-West you know about Tuna Noodle Casserole. The dish was often served on Fridays when we Catholics couldn’t eat meat. I’d never made it, but since coming back to Ohio I wanted to give it a go. I knew it contained noodles (often homemade), Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup, canned tuna, and sometimes peas. When I looked for a mushroom soup I could consider buying all I found organic was Amy’s brand which is very expensive. Amazon sells 12 cans for $48 and some change. On my local Kroger store shelf one can was close to $5. I bought it once. Not only was I not happy with the price, the texture was all wrong and I didn’t like some of the ingredients. I wanted to avoid flour and dairy.

I like the texture and taste of organic coconut milk, which sells for about $2.50 per can for full-fat on-line at Vitacost. I decided I’d try to make the soup/sauce myself. You’ll want the full-fat coconut milk for its taste, smooth texture, and good-fat nutrition. When the sauce is done it has the creamy light tan color of cream of mushroom soup.

Mushroom sauce/soup

Mushroom sauce/soup

For this recipe you will also need fresh crimini mushrooms, and ground shitake mushrooms. You can buy dried mushrooms and other Asian ingredients at neighborhood Asian stores. I bought an 8-ounce bag of dried shitakes for $7.99. Prep for the dried ‘shrooms takes about 10 minutes. To prep: place about 6 of the shitakes in your blender jar, grind a minute or 2 until all the mushrooms are finely ground. Do not open the lid right away as there will be mushroom dust in the air. I grind enough to fill a 16-ounce repurposed jar. Dried and ground the mushrooms store well.

Since I didn’t have noodles on hand and didn’t want to make them. I decided to use linguini noodles. They worked fine. If you start the pasta water boiling when you start cooking the mushroom and onions, everything will be ready at the same time.

Linguini with Mushroom Sauce and Tuna

Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4, enough for 2 people for 2 meals
Serve with a big tossed salad, hopefully from your garden
½ pound linguini
1 tablespoon coconut oil
¾ pound crimini mushrooms, finely diced
2 tablespoons ground shitake mushrooms (see above)
1 medium sized onion (about 2 inches), finely diced
1 14-ounce can organic full-fat coconut milk
1 6-ounce can wild-caught oil-packed tuna
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese, optional
Finely diced parsley or chives for garnish


  1. Fill your pasta pot with water, add about a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the linguini to the pot and boil until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a separate pot big enough to hold the sauce and the drained pasta. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté until soft and transparent. Pour in the coconut milk scraping the sides of the can because the oil will be semi-solid (depending on the temperature of your kitchen) and will stick to the sides. Bring to a boil, lower and simmer until reduced by about one-third. Taste for seasoning after the reduction. Add salt and pepper if you like.
  3. Stir in the cooked pasta and the can of tuna.
  4. Sprinkle each dish with optional parmesan cheese.
  5. Garnish with something green, like finely chopped parsley or chives.

Author:Sharon Reese

Lacto-ovo vegetarian for over four decades.

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