Classic tuna casserole

Tuck into this tasty tuna casserole for a easy and comforting throwback to a childhood classic! This version has a delicious sauce mixed through it and the best crunchy topping. Lemon zest brings a nice burst of freshness to what is otherwise quite a heavy dish, while the cheddar and parmesan create the perfect golden cheesy top. You can sprinkle over a little fresh parsley when serving if you like, otherwise it’s perfect as it is!


  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 225g pasta (try shells, penne, or spiral)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 225g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 340g tinned tuna, drained and flaked
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 190C. Butter a medium baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, drain and set aside.

Ad. Article continues below.

2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Stir in onion, celery, and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, until tender. Increase heat to medium-high, and mix in mushrooms. Continue to cook and stir for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

3. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan, and whisk in flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in tuna, peas, mushroom mixture, and cooked pasta. Transfer to the baking dish.

4. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small bowl, mix with bread crumbs and lemon zest, and sprinkle over the casserole. Top with cheeses. Bake 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Sprinkle with parsley when serving (optional) for a fresh finish.


If you’d like to see more recipes from Starts at 60, click here. And if you have a recipe you’d like to share with the Starts at 60 community – we’d love to share it! Submit them to us by completing the form below.

Submit your article here