Low Carb Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Low Carb Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Low Carb Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Most of us were served tuna noodle casserole as kids.  You know, the recipe with chunks of tuna smothered in a cream sauce spread over egg noodles or occasionally my mother used toast which became very soggy and disgusting.  Some tuna noodle casseroles call for a topping of french-fried onions.  It’s not exactly a nutritionist’s recommended dinner idea, but it’s quick and easy and very budget-friendly.  But my husband,who grew up with tuna noodle casserole, really likes it.  So what’s his dietitian-wife to do?  I found a way to reduce the empty carbohydrates by eliminating the noodles and added petite green peas for a healthy more fiber-rich carbohydrate option; that’s an easy fix.  Then I significantly reduced the calories by subbing out the heavy cream with a reduced-fat cream cheese/light mayo mixture that still provides enough creaminess to satisfy the old familiar craving. I kept the cheddar cheese, but use a reduced-fat (2%) variety which keeps it cheesy, calcium-rich and protein packed.

I like how fast this goes together, especially when you might be short on time.  Plus you probably have all these ingredients on hand, so go for it.  It’s a good alternative for our nutrition-conscious family dining since we’re all trying to reduce the empty carbohydrates.  The hubby is satisfied so that makes it worth the effort.  Serve with a plateful of steamed vegetables and even a side salad like my go-to Apple Carrot Salad with Poppyseed Dressing.

Low Carb Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 26 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

  • Low Carb Cheesy Tuna Casserole
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 Tbsp diced onion
  • 3 (6 ounce) cans tuna (drained and flaked)
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup frozen petite green peas
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat (2%) cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 11 x 7-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a small skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Place onions and celery in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the tuna, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, garlic powder and green peas. Mix to combine.
  3. Spoon the tuna mixture into your prepared 11 X 7-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.


  1. Linda says:

    Hi Karen, do you have the nutrition information for your recipes or did I miss it somewhere? Thanks!! BTW, this recipe looks great. Can’t wait to try!!

  2. jp says:

    Looks like the total carbs would be around 24 to 30g. give or take. You’re better off using regular cheeses, not the reduced fat if you’re looking for low carb.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for the comment Jeff. The reduced-fat cheese helps reduce the fat content, not the carb content as cheese does not contain very many carbs. The dish is very low in carb due to the absence of noodles typically found in a tuna casserole. Here is the nutrient facts per serving for this dish: 232 calories, 3.8 grams carb, 12 grams fat, 26.5 grams protein. Hope that helps!

  3. Anne says:

    This was good. I made a few minor modifications since we don’t like peas. I added mushrooms and zucchini.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anne: Thanks for your comment. So glad you tried the casserole and that it turned out well for you. I think your substitutions were brilliant. Sounds like adding vegetables you love work well with the tuna and cheesy sauce. I think carrots would be great too!

    • Karen says:

      You are right. Peas have carbs. But the total amount of peas in this dish is small which still makes it low carb. If you prefer to leave them out, that is A-OK. Serve it the way you feel comfortable eating it. Either way it’s a yummy dish that’s creamy and high in protein; that’s a win win.

  4. Trish says:

    Is this something I could put together the night before and then have hubby throw in the oven before I get home? Would it sit well in the frig basically?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Trish: yes you can make ahead and keep in the refrigerator before baking the next day. I would take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking to bring it to room temperature. Then bake as directed. Good planning!

  5. Jeremy says:

    I just made something similar to this, but I added cauliflower in place of my noodles. Turned out pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Paul: I haven’t tried to freeze this but give it a try. It might end up a little mushy when thawed and reheated, but will most likely taste just as good.

  6. Pam says:

    Made this last night, and I was surprised at how good this was. I added chopped yellow squash and mushrooms to the skillet to saute with the onions. ( I needed to use it up) It gave a nice flavor and texture to bite down on. Next time I will add slivered almonds and maybe a chopped boiled egg. Thanks for the recipe, I love and miss tuna casserole!!

    • Karen says:

      Oh Tuna Casserole! The memories of childhood . . . I love your additions and ideas for next time. It’s such a simple recipe with lots of room to make it your own. Thanks for your comment Pam.

  7. Elle says:

    I made this dish tonight and must have had three helpings! It was so delicious. It took no time at all. The only changes I made were I sauteed carrot with the celery and onion, and I used the tuna I had on hand which was lemon pepper packets. I love tuna casserole, but this is great for when I’m trying to watch my carbs!

    • Karen says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this Elle. It is such a throw back to my own tuna casserole memories but without the added carbs. I love your modifications.

  8. Mary Victoria says:

    Could I possibly use Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese? I just have some in the fridge that I need to get rid of.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary: I think you could use your Greek yogurt, but the results may be a little more liquid instead of creamy. The cream cheese keeps it thicker. Let me know how it turns out if you try it. Karen

    • Karen says:

      Yes, this is the kind of dish you should be eating at 3 weeks post – canned tuna, cheese, cooked vegetables, no noodles. I hope you’re doing well. Karen

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