Tuna Pasta Bake is the ultimate budget friendly weeknight dinner. Creamy, cheesy, packed with veggies (and let me show you how to do that super cheap!), this recipe is designed for busy families, and fussy kids. For a filling family dinner, you can look past this one. Dinner on the table, in under 1 hour with this delicious Tuna Pasta Casserole!
Why you're going to love this recipe
This Tuna Pasta Bake is such a classic dinner, and do you know why? It's the ultimate budget-friendly family meal!
- cheap ingredients
- easy to make
- make your own sauce (cheaper than a jar and tastes better!)
- prep up till baking and then refrigerate until the evening and bake just in time for dinner
- full of veggies
- cheesy top (I mean, hold me back!)
- makes 6 serves
- great the next day for lunch
What goes into the recipe
- Tuna- grab the big tin!
- pasta- rigatoni works well, or penne
- milk- full fat
- butter- salted is good!
- plain flour- this is for making a roux and so important!
- veggies- peas, corn, carrots and zucchini. Want to make this cheaper? Buy a frozen veggie medley and use that
- cheese- I use a cheddar
How to make this recipe
- First cook the pasta, but for 2 minutes less than the pack suggests.
- chop the veggies and parsley
- heat a sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter
- add the flour and stir quickly to make a roux
- add a small amount of milk and stir until it comes together, continue until all the milk is gone
- Add ⅔ of the cheese and stir well
- Add the veggies, parsley, tuna and cheese sauce to the cooked pasta and mix well. Top with the extra cheese.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes with the lid on and 15 minutes without it.
Expert Tips and FAQs
The first thing we need to talk about is budget meals! To make this meal cheaper you can:
- use frozen veggies instead of fresh, a vegetable medley will work well
- buy a block of cheese instead of grated
- use UHT milk instead of fresh
- buy no-name pasta! It doesn't matter for this dish
This tuna pasta bake will keep for 3 days in the fridge and can also be frozen. Being a pasta casserole it is also ideal for getting it ready up to baking and freezing. Then you can top with cheese and bake before eating.
I like a hollow dried pasta, like rigatoni, or penne. But whatever type of pasta noodle is your favourite will work. Farfalle is also a good option, or conchiglie.
Yes! This tuna pasta bake works well with a variety of veggies, like cauliflower florets, broccoli, beans, you name it! Swap one, or swap them all. To make this meal for budget friendly (and it's already pretty cheap!) you can use a frozen vegetable medley instead of the fresh veggies.
Yes! I often make a double batch and freeze the second one for crazy weeknights. Freeze before the cheese goes on, then defrost in the fridge, top with cheese and bake.
More budget weeknight meals
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Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe
- 425 grams tuna
- 500 grams rigatoni
- 70 grams butter
- 70 grams plain flour
- 700 mls milk
- 2 carrots
- 1 zucchini
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 10 grams chopped parsley
- 250 grams cheddar cheese grated
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius fanforced. (355F)
- Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the packet suggested cook time.
- Add the butter to a large sauce pan over medium heat.
- When it is melted, add the flour and stir quickly to form a roux.
- Slowly start adding the milk and stir it all in before adding any more. Continue until all the milk is mixed in.
- Add ⅔ of the cheese to the post and melt through.
- Add the cheese sauce, veggies, parsley and tuna to the cooked and drained pasta.
- Stir well. Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes with a lid on and then 15 without the lid.
- serve Hot.