The final recipe in our budget friendly dinners series is a beauty! This healthy tuna casserole recipe is tasty AND easy on the wallet.
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We're wrapping up our budget friendly dinners series today with a protein packed family favorite! This healthy tuna casserole recipe was a big hit with our subscribers. One thing we heard again and again? “I wasn't sure I'd like tuna casserole but we loved it!”
So if you haven't had tuna casserole, or haven't had it since you were a kid, I urge you to give it try. I mean just look at that melty cheese offset by those bright, beautiful tomatoes. What's not to love?!
Originally featured on our Super Fast meal plans, this is a quick one to put together too. You start by cooking the rice. (I love my rice cooker for this!) Next, you slice a large tomato. While preheating the oven, you mix chicken broth, eggs, avocado mayo, a bit of dijon, salt, pepper and shredded jack cheese. You'll then combine the mixture with 3 cans of tuna in a 9×9 baking dish. Top the casserole with more cheese followed by the tomato slices. Pop it in the oven for 20-25 minutes and you have a delicious, cheesy, super satisfying meal!
I love to serve this casserole with a simple green salad, a veggie side like green beans or broccoli, or whatever fresh fruit is in season!
Make sure to scroll down for meal prep instructions if you'd like to prep ahead for a busy weeknight.
And if you missed our other budget friendly dinners, definitely check those out:
You can also check out my 10 Tips for Frugal Meal Planning!
Healthy Tuna Casserole Recipe
- 1 large tomato
- 2 eggs, omega-3
- ~2 cups shredded jack cheese
- 2 cups white rice
- 8 oz chicken broth
- 1/4 cup avocado mayonnaise
- 1 T dijon mustard
- 3 (5-oz) cans of tuna
- Add 2 cups rice and 4 cups water to a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer ~20 mins or until liquid is absorbed.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Slice 1 tomato.
- In a medium bowl whisk together 8oz chicken broth, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup mayo, 1T dijon, 1/4 tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper and 1 cup jack cheese.
- In a 9x9 casserole, combine the broth mixture w/ 4 cups cooked rice and 3 cans drained tuna.
- Sprinkle ~1 cup cheese over top and layer tomato slices over cheese.
- Bake for 20-25 mins or until liquid has evaporated & cheese is turning golden brown.
How to Make this Tuna Rice Casserole Recipe Even More Budget Friendly
With tuna and rice as the main ingredients, it's hard to beat this tuna rice casserole recipe budget-wise. Still, there are always little things you can do to cut the costs of a recipe and they really add up over time! Here are a few budget tips for ya:
- Buy in Bulk: With something like rice that you know you're going to use again and again, it pays to buy in bulk. I've recently gotten into Costco (you can hear my Costco favorites here, here and here!) and love buying our bulk staples there.
- Shred Your Own Cheese: Shredding your own cheese is not only less expensive than buying pre-shredded, it's tastier too. This is especially true for dishes like this tuna rice casserole where you're melting the cheese. Why? Pre-shredded cheese is coated in additives which prevents the cheese from melting quite as well. (That said, if you need to get dinner ready FAST, this recipe totally works with pre-shredded cheese too!)
- Source Wisely: For items like avocado mayo, I'm a huge fan of Thrive Market (<< affiliate link). It's tough to beat their deals on artisan and health-conscious products.
- Make Your Own Broth: While you wouldn't want to stop to make homemade broth every time you need a cup, it freezes beautifully. I love making my own bone broth every week or so using kitchen scraps I would otherwise throw away. It's nutritious, basically free and SO tasty! Listen to my simple method here.
Can You Meal Prep this Healthy Tuna Casserole Recipe?
Yes! While this healthy tuna casserole recipe comes together quickly, I do recommend a bit of meal prep if you want to serve it on a weeknight.
Primarily, I like to make the rice ahead of time. If you plan to make the dish in the next day or so, you can also slice the tomato as part of your meal prep if you like.
Often, just a bit of meal prep like this makes all the different on weekday evenings.
Is tuna casserole healthy?
This one is! The ingredients are simple with no condensed soups like you often find in classic tuna casserole recipes. The recipe also offers a nice mix of protein, fats and carbs. You can further up the nutritional content by serving with a simple salad or other healthy side!
Here are some of the nutritional highlights you'll get from this recipe:
Tuna (Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Omega-3s, Vitamin D, Iron, Potassium, Selenium, Iodine)
Due to its Vitamin B12 and iron content, eating tuna may help prevent anemia. It also contains significant Omega-3s, making it good for eye health, heart health and possible cancer prevention. Tuna is an excellent source of lean protein.
Although it does offer significant nutritional benefits, you do need to limit how much tuna you consume, due to its mercury content. For that reason, I personally love the Safe Catch brand (<< affiliate link) of canned tuna. They actually test each fish for mercury content before canning!
Omega-3 Eggs (B Vitamins, Vitamin A, Folate, Selenium, Omega-3s)
First of all, choosing eggs is probably one of the most confusing parts of grocery shopping.
There are SO many choices and labels. Many of the labels are not clearly defined, making it even more confusing, especially when you're trying to balance a grocery budget with choosing nutritious foods.
Something to keep in mind though is that omega-3 eggs offer up to 5 times as much omega-3 in contrast to conventional eggs. In addition, they have almost 40% less of the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid. As a result, I think Omega-3 eggs are worth it if you can swing it in your grocery budget. Similarly, pastured eggs offer far superior nutritional content to conventional eggs. Higher in vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3, they're certainly a better choice than conventional if available to you.
Tomatoes (Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin K, Folate, Lycopene)
Tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant, lycopene. Lycopene is believed to be the reason that tomatoes are linked to lower rates of certain types of cancers. Eating tomatoes along with a source of fat, like the pork in this recipe, significantly increases how much lycopene your body absorbs.
Avocado Oil (Oleic Acid, Lutein, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Antioxidants)
This recipe calls for avocado mayo, the main ingredient of which is avocado oil. Avocado oil provides substantial amounts of oleic acid, a quite healthy type of fatty acid believed to be very good for your heart. In addition, avocado oil's Vitamin A and Vitamin E make it good for your skin. Its lutein content supports good eye health. Finally, extracts from avocado oil may help combat arthritis.
If you're new to avocado mayo, my favorite brans is Primal Kitchen. (<< affiliate link) In addition to avocado oil, the other ingredients are organic eggs, organic vinegar, salt and rosemary extract. These are all things I feel good about eating!
I want more simple canned tuna recipes!
If you're looking for more simple canned tuna recipes, I have another good one for you!
My Tuna Salad with Grapes makes an excellent packed lunch or light dinner on a warm evening. Budget friendly tuna is the star but it's also packed with produce for a healthy, balanced meal.
This page contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of Prep Dish!