Mom's "Tuna" Noodle Casserole
Here's a vegan version of an old-fashioned family favorite straight from the 1950s. Pack a leftover portion of this casserole as part of a brown-bag lunch—it's just as tasty at room temperature. Baked tofu does an awesome job standing in for tuna.
12 ounces ribbon-style noodles (see Notes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 medium stalks celery, diced
1 cup sliced white or crimini mushrooms (optional)
2 cups rice milk or soy milk
1/4 cup unbleached white flour
1 (10 to 12-ounce) package baked tofu, finely diced (see Notes)
2 to 3 scallions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wheat germ for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Cook the noodles in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente, then drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the celery dice and sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until they are wilted, about 5 minutes longer.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups of the milk into the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Combine the remaining milk with the flour in a small bowl and stir until the flour is smoothly dissolved. Slowly pour into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Simmer gently until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the noodles, celery-mushroom mixture, sauce, tofu, and scallions. Mix gently but thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper and toss again.
- Transfer the mixture to an oiled, wide shallow casserole dish. Sprinkle generously with wheat germ.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and beginning to get crusty. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then cut into squares to serve.
Makes 6 servings.
- You can use any sort of ribbon noodle (try a nutritious variety like quinoa or spelt ribbons) or use fettuccine or pappardelle, broken into thirds.
- Look for baked tofu in natural foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets.
Recipe provided courtesy of Nava Atlas; www.vegkitchen.com.