vegan tuna noodle casserole in a baking dish with wooden spoon landscape photo

This Vegan Tempeh Tuna Casserole is lightened up, easy to prepare and incredibly delicious. Made with tempeh, dairy free cheese, mushrooms, peas and gluten free pasta. It’s the perfect healthy comfort food!

healthy tuna noodle casserole in a bowl with breadcrumbs and a fork

Winter is comfort food season!!

And nothing is more comforting then a good ol’ hearty bowl of creamy cheesy pasta.

This vegan version of the classic american dish is kinda the whole package: it’s budget friendly, high protein, easy and quick to prepare, meal prep friendly and it’s pretty darn healthy.

Yes, friends healthy comfort food is possible!!

ingredients for vegan tempeh chickpea tuna noodle casserole in a bowl with breadcrumbs and a fork

Ingredients You Need for Vegan Tuna Noodle Casserole

What I love about this vegan tuna noodle casserole is that is uses mostly (if not all) pantry staple items! We’re basically taking the classic tuna noodle casserole and veganizing it by using tempeh instead of tuna and vegan cheese instead of parmesan cheese. If you wanted to make a soy free version or you don’t have access to tempeh, this recipe also works really well with chickpeas!

I also like to add in a good amount of vegetables like mushrooms and peas to bulk it up just a bit. Feel free to play around with the vegetables you add- I’ve also used corn and spinach and it’s delishh!

To keep this recipe gluten free, I used both gluten free bread crumbs and gluten free pasta but you can obviously use the non-gluten free version of both.

And lastly, to give this vegan tuna casserole some more flavour, we’re adding onions, garlic, nutritional yeast salt and pepper. You can also add in some other seasonings like thyme, mustard powder and smoked paprika for more flavour! I also really like to add miso paste because I find it adds a salty-umami flavour but it doesn’t break this recipe if you don’t have it.

step by step how to make vegan tempeh chickpea tuna noodle casserole

How to Make Vegan Tuna Noodle Casserole

The nice thing about this Vegan Tempeh “Tuna” Casserole is that it’s actually pretty easy & quick to put together:

  1. If using vegan butter, mix it in with the bread crumbs. At this time, have the pasta cooking to save time!
  2. Crumble the tempeh (or mash the chickpeas) until it resembles something like flaked tuna.
  3. Fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms until lightly browned in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the seasonings and tapioca starch and cook for another minute. Then add in the cashew milk, miso paste and nutritional yeast. Continue to stir until there are no more lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer until thickened.
  5. Melt in the vegan cheese and stir in the tempeh and frozen peas. If you find it too thick here, add in 1-2 tbsp more of cashew milk to thin it out.
  6. Mix in the noodles until everything is well covered. (If your sauce pan is too small like mine, pour the cheese mixture into the pot you used to cook the pasta).
  7. Transfer everything into a 8×8 inch baking tray.
  8. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned!
healthy dairy free gluten free tuna noodle casserole in a baking dish with breadcrumbs

The result?! CREAMY. Savory. And SO full of flavour. Seriously, I can small the leftovers in the fridge right now. It’s so good, you’ll be excited to be eating meal prep!

healthy tuna noodle casserole in a baking dish with breadcrumbs and a wooden spoon

How to Store Vegan Tempeh Tuna Casserole

  • Leftovers: can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, place in a toaster oven safe dish and bake for 3-4 minutes until heated and tops are crispy. Alternatively, microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through.
  • To Make Ahead or Freeze: Cook the onions, garlic, mushrooms and cheese sauce as directed. Let it cool until room temperature and add an extra 1/3 cup of milk. Mix the sauce with peas, tempeh and pasta. Transfer into a baking dish and cover. Place in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze. If frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight. Top with bread crumbs and then bake as instructed. Add 3-5 extra minutes as needed.

Helpful Equipment to Make this Recipe

vegan tuna noodle casserole in a bowl with breadcrumbs and a fork

More Delicious Vegan Bakes to Try!

close up of vegan gluten free tuna noodle casserole in a bowl with mushrooms and peas

If you recreate this Tempeh “Tuna” Noodle Casserole recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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Vegan Tempeh “Tuna” Casserole


  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

This Vegan Tempeh Tuna Casserole is lightened up, easy to prepare and incredibly delicious. Made with tempeh, dairy free cheese, mushrooms, peas and gluten free pasta. It’s the perfect healthy comfort food!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Topping:

Casserole: 

  • 8 oz gluten free pasta (224g // any shape, I used curly elbows)
  • 8 oz tempeh (224g // or 1 cup chickpeas for soy free)
  • 1 small onion, diced (100g)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped (112g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper (optional seasonings: 1 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp mustard powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch (14g // or gluten free all purpose flour)
  • 1 1/2 cup cashew milk (375ml // or any non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tbsp miso paste, optional (20g)
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (16g)
  • 1 cup vegan meltable cheese (112g // I used daiya shredded cheddar)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas (120g)

Instructions

  1. Pre your heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Crumble tempeh with your hands until pieces are broken up. If using chickpeas, lightly mash with a fork or potato masher. Mix the vegan butter and bread crumbs in a small bowl.  
  2. Cook the noodles util ad dente following the directions on the package. Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot or skillet over medium high heat, fry the onions, garlic and mushrooms until lightly browned (5 minutes) in vegan butter or water. Add in the salt, pepper, optional seasonings and tapioca starch and cook for 1 minute. 
  4. Slowly pour in the milk while still stirring. Add in the miso paste and nutritional yeast and continue to whisk until smooth and there are no lumps of starch or miso paste. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 3 minutes or until thickened. 
  5. Add in the vegan cheese and stir until fully melted. Add in the mashed tempeh and peas and stir to combine. If your pot is large enough, add in the pasta and mix until everything is well coated. Or if your sauce pan is too small, pour the cheese sauce mix into the pasta pot and stir until everything is well coated in the sauce. 
  6. Transfer to a 8×8 inch baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of the casserole and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tops are slightly golden brown. 
  7. Serve immediately. Top with scallions and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. Store cooled leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Notes

Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer).

  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 532
  • Sugar: 6.2g
  • Sodium: 949mg
  • Fat: 17.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 70.5g
  • Fiber: 8.6g
  • Protein: 25.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0

Keywords: vegan tuna noodle casserole, gluten free casseroles

SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓

healthy vegan tempeh tuna noodle casserole in a bowl with breadcrumbs and a fork pinterest image

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Konnichiwa

About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.


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3 Comments

  1. Made this yesterday, added some extra veggies and used different mushrooms but otherwise I sticked to the recipe. It tastes great but I don’t quite know how this is supposed to resemble tuna but that wasn’t really important to me anyways.

  2. this one is a childhood fave for sure

    i would add some lemon juice in there for that tang and some old bay because it makes everything better

    also seasoned breadcrumbs would level this up