Do you have childhood memories of tuna casserole? Most Baby Boomers were served a chopstick tuna casserole in the 1960s—this simple, old-fashioned tuna casserole gets its name from the chow mein noodles that give body to the dish, and are also sprinkled on top to provide crunch.
Onions and celery are the vegetables in the casserole, and there aren't any other specifically Asian ingredients or flavors. Some moms would include canned water chestnuts for more crunch and Chinese influence. A common variation was to use potato chips instead of the chow mein noodles. Of course, then it wouldn't be called chopstick tuna casserole. But either choice will provide the crunch on top for texture.
You can enjoy this as a simple comfort food supper served with a green salad. Or, think of taking it as a '60s throwback dish to a potluck.
- 1 can (10 1/2 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups chow mein noodles, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- Dash of pepper
- 1 can (6 1/2 to 7 ounces) tuna (drained and flaked)
- 1 cup sliced celery
- Heat the oven to 375 F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
- In a large bowl combine the soup and water.
- Add 1 cup of chow mein noodles, finely chopped onion, pepper, tuna, and celery; toss lightly.
- Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup chow mein noodles over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes and serve hot.
More Recipes and Tips
Leftover tuna casserole can be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave or in the oven.
The noodles on top will become a bit soggy, so you might want to add some fresh noodles if you crave their crispness when you reheat it. You can also freeze portions to save for future quick meals, with the same caveat about the topping becoming soggy when you reheat it later.
If you like this retro recipe, you may want to give a couple others a try. Crock pot chicken chow mein may not be like the authentic Chinese dish but has more of the essence of chow mein with a variety of vegetables, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, ginger, and soy sauce. Another classic recipe you may remember from the 60s that includes tuna, condensed soup, and chow mein noodles is creamy tuna a la king. Serve this rich dish over toast points, biscuits, or pastry shells.