Tu-No Casserole (Vegan Tuna Casserole)

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes one (9 × 13-inch) casserole
  • Print/save recipe

This hearty casserole calls for garbanzo beans instead of tuna, and mushrooms instead of the traditional can of salt-heavy Cream of Mushroom Soup. Perfect for “comfort food” night. There’s a no-nut option, as well.

By Cathy Fisher,


For the Sauce:

  • 2½ cups unsweetened, unflavored plant milk
  • ½ cup unsalted cashews (2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kelp granules or kelp powder (optional, for a light seafood flavor)

For the Base:

  • 1½ cups uncooked elbow or small-shell pasta
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 2½ cups)
  • 8 medium cremini or white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups green peas (frozen and thawed, or canned)
  • 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or two 15-ounce cans, drained)


  • Place the plant milk, cashews, granulated onion, pepper, and kelp (if using) into a blender and set aside (so the cashews can soften).
  • Cook the pasta in a soup pot according to the instructions on the package; drain and place the pasta back into the soup pot, off of the heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Add the onions and mushrooms to a skillet on high heat, stirring and cooking for 3 to 5 minutes until softened and lightly browned, adding a little water only as needed to prevent sticking. Add this mixture, as well as the peas, to the pot of cooked pasta.
  • Place the garbanzo beans into a food processor and pulse just until the beans are broken down (but not mushy). If you don’t have a food processor, mash the beans with a potato masher. Add to the soup pot.
  • Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Add to the soup pot and stir.
  • Spoon into a 9 × 13-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.
  • Note: For a lower-fat, nut-free casserole, replace the cashews with 1½ cups cooked cannellini beans (or one 15-ounce can, drained).

Comments (27)

(5 from 13 votes)

Recipe Rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This is a really simple recipe to help veganise a favorite dish like tuna casserole, but I would recommend adding spices. Since the "cream soup" is just plant milk, cashews, pepper, minced onion, and kelp, it doesn't have the salt content a can of soup normally would, and there are no seasonings in the rest of the recipe. I added garlic powder, which helped, but it was still kind of bland. I would recommend at least a tablespoon of salt to the final mixture. and perhaps more black pepper. Also, this recipe doesn't have any kind of topping, such as bread crumbs, on the final product. My mom always made tuna casserole with fried onions on top, so that's what I would recommend. That will also help remedy the blandness of the recipe. Finally, I would increase the pasta amount by about 1/2 cup. I used mini shells, and I barely noticed they were there because the ratio of pasta to the amount of garbanzo beans was a bit unbalanced.


Forget about tuna flavor, make it into a "chicken " casserole and add poultry seasoning to the sauce, or "herbs 'd province". It's delicious with added seasonings and homemade panko bread crumbs on top. I added salt to the sauce. It's not a dish I cook often, but more for potlucks, so I splurge on the flavor.


I’ve made this recipe (as written) numerous times over the years, as it is one of my favorites, and fairly simple to make with few ingredients. Normally I add salt to my serving as I’m ready to eat. Tonight I varied it only slightly: salted the pasta water, added 1/2 tsp. salt to the onion-mushroom mixture, as it was cooking, and 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning to the milk-cashew sauce. I don’t always have kelp granules, so I tore up about 1/4 nori sheet and added that to the blender. With those slight modifications, and using chickpeas that were not low sodium, the seasoning is perfect for my palate. I’ve never tried using white beans instead of cashews, and I always use unsweetened plain almond milk & 100% whole wheat elbow macaroni. I think this might be the best tasting so far, so I wanted to share my variations and be able to keep track of what I did so I can make it the same way next time! :)


I made this dish tonight, I didn’t add any fish substitutes etc. on reading thru the comments i ended up doing what a couple others had said, I added 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and garlics powder to the sauce before blending it. I served it over a combination of brown rice and farro. Sprinkled with salt before eating. I felt it tasted alright. Didn’t taste bland to me.


As with other reviews, I agree that this is very bland even with some of the add ins suggested. I loved tuna casserole and had high hopes but alas I won't make this again.


I don't like mushrooms. What could I use instead?

Megan Edwards

Hi Emily, Mushrooms add a savory umami flavor and meaty texture to replace the tuna, so the dish may be lacking without them. But you could try using shredded jackfruit instead to achieve a similar texture. We also have a full round up of casseroles so you can find one without mushrooms: https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/vegan-menus-collections/vegan-casserole-cold-nights/

Lisa Picklesimer

Gotta have olives in tuna noodle casserole!

Lisa Picklesimer

Also I used dulse for the fishy briny flavor.


Like others have commented, it feels like it's missing something. I added celery seed (helped a lot), Old Bay seasoning (should have added more), and I ground up two little sheets of seaweed snack (not enough). I also put Panko breadcrumbs on the top (a good addition). Bottom line, it's kind of bland. Texturally it's OK, it's just missing a major flavor bump somewhere. I halved the recipe and I'm glad I did.


My 18 month old toddlers love this! It makes quite a bit, so I’m able to portion it out and pull some out of the freezer on busy evenings. Thanks for the recipe!


Great recipe, but needed some modifications. I added some Old Bay seasoning and some nutritional yeast to the sauce as suggested by another reviewer, and that really makes it. I also modified the noodle-to-chickpea ratio -- I thought the noodle amount was a bit sparse (at least in my mind from childhood memories of the casserole classic). I also added a bread crumb topping using a couple slices of Dave's Killer Bread. Delicious! This recipe is a wonderful jumping off point that just needs a couple tweaks.


I haven’t tried this, but someone said something was lacking, try some celery seed


Just made this. It's okay - kind of bland (tho maybe that's my salt-liking tongue speaking) ... and I'm not sure I liked the texture with the chickpeas (although maybe blended in with the sauce to make them smoother? ). I'll make it again though, playing around with ingredients, because I would love to have a creamy casserole like this for comfort-food days :)


The textures are all there for a perfect "tu-no" casserole, but found this super bland in flavor. Added nutritional yeast and salt to my dish when serving, but would definitely opt for loads more seasoning/flavor if I make this one again! Would even add a packet of onion soup mix instead of the onion granules in the sauce next time, would add the rich & hearty flavor that in my opinion is lacking from this dish! Would also make ahead to let all the flavors blend, hopefully more flavours come out as this one rests! :)

Jennifer Bennett

Do you drain the chick peas or leave the aquqfaba fluid in when you pulse them in the food processor?

Lee Miller

The instructions on the ingredient list says to drain the chickpeas.


I can't wait to try this recipe. Just wondering if a box of soft silken tofu can be used instead of nuts?


This was good but was lacking something, I just can't put my finger on it. It was enough for some leftovers for later in the week & put a batch in the freezer. I have so many recipes to try don't think I will make this again.

Beth S

If anyone is expecting this to taste like tuna, you will be sadly disappointed. Maybe it would have more of that "from the sea" flavor with a lot more kelp, but that would be too much iodine to consume. Like everyone else, I feel it needs more flavor, but it has a good feel. I would try again with some of the suggested seasonings.


I minced a sheet of nori and cooked it with the onions and mushrooms. I also added a crumb topping made with ground almonds and nutritional yeast. Delicious!


The blog gives nutritional information which is not included here, but should be.


Great recipe! Added 1/4 c nutritional yeast and 1 t old bay seasonsing. Didn't need salt then. Was very good! Thank you!


Oh and added 2 Tbs dulse flakes instead of seaweed etc. Very good.


Very good— does need a little salt added tho


It tasted like tuna casserole, but it wasn’t as fishy. I used seaweed instead of kelp, i also added salt and pepper. very nice.


I was nervous to try this because I don’t “love” chickpeas. Surprisingly, you don’t notice them!!! It oddly had the texture and flavor of the unhealthy version I loved as a child. I did add 1c of nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes. My kids loved it!!

About the Author

Headshot of Cathy Fisher

About the Author

Cathy Fisher

Cathy Fisher is the creator of StraightUpFood.com, a website offering free recipes and information on eating a whole-food, plant-based diet free of salt, oil, and sugar. She is also a cooking instructor, teaching classes at TrueNorth Health Center and the McDougall Program, both in Santa Rosa, CA. Cathy began eating a plant-based diet in 1999, and in 2016 published her first cookbook, Straight Up Food: Delicious and Easy Plant-based Cooking Without Salt, Oil or Sugar. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
See More from this Author

Free Download

Free 5-day meal plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.

Placeholder image

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

By providing your email address, you consent to receive newsletter emails from Forks Over Knives. We value your privacy and will keep your email address safe. You may unsubscribe from our emails at any time.