Mock Tuna-Noodle Casserole

I think it's really interesting to try to recreate traditional dishes in a vegetarian way. I don't know if I've ever had tuna noodle casserole, it I have, it's been too long for me to remember. Dave was the chief taste tester on this recipe, in order to decide if he thought this tasted similar. The salty, chickpea cake takes the place of tuna in this make-over recipe.

Adapted from Vegetarian Times.

Mock Tuna
-½ cup flour
-1 tablespoon parmesan 
-¾ teaspoon sea salt
-¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-2 tablespoon olive oil
-2 teaspoon lemon juice
-½ cup chickpeas
-½ cup water
-2 tablespoon olive oil
-2 tablespoon butter
-2 cups coarsely chopped button mushrooms
-1 red onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-¼ cup all-purpose flour
-1¼ cups vegetable broth
-¾ cup low-fat milk
-4 oz. uncooked egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
-1 cup frozen peas
-½ cup grated Cheddar cheese, plus more for top of casserole, optional

To make the mock tuna, whisk together the flour, parmesan, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Stir in oil and lemon juice, then stir in 1/2 cup water until smooth. Add chickpeas, and coarsely mash.

Coat large non-stick skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Pour chickpea mixture into skillet, and spread to create a wide cake. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it, I burnt one side! Flip chickpea cake, cover pan, and cook 5 to 7 minutes more, or until lightly browned on both sides. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until mushrooms are softened. Stir in flour, and cook 30 seconds. Pour in vegetable broth and milk, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Put the cooked egg noodles into a large bowl. Break the mock tuna into small pieces, and add to bowl. Stir in mushroom mixture, peas, and 1/2 cup cheese.

Transfer to 2-quart baking dish, and top with more cheese.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until hot, bubbly, and starting to brown on top.

As someone who can't recall what tuna noodle casserole tastes like, I really enjoyed this recipe. The chickpea cake helped to mimic the tuna and added a nice salty element. The mushroom pieces also helped to add a nice meaty texture to the dish. The sauce was well seasoned and tasted great. The cheese added nice flavor as well. Dave thought that this had the creamy texture of tuna noodle casserole and he thought the pieces of chickpea cake were reminiscent of cooked tuna. 


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