Dairy-Free Tuna Noodle Casserole

Ingredients
  • 8oz mushrooms
  • 12oz GF noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups soy-free vegenaise (or make your own)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 bag of frozen peas (thawed)
  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 1/4 cup GF breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 400°. Place mushrooms on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme. Stir to coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cook noodles al-dente. This is important since it will be baked later. Al forno.
  • In large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups vegenaise, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 bag of peas, 2 cans of tuna, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon parsley, basil, oregano, cumin, thyme, coriander, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
  • When mushrooms are finished roasting, add them to bowl. Add noodle after they are cooked and strained. Stir to combine. 
  • Transfer mixture to baking dish. Top with 1/4 cup GF breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup vegan parmesan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly. 

Little girl, you're in the middle of the ride

Have you ever opened a can of tuna and used the extracted metal as a lid to rid the can of water? It's a mundane task that feels like bullshit as it stands between hunger and eating. This is the middle.

Every time I strain tuna, I think of my mom: standing over the kitchen sink, in front of windows that faced south. Windows that let us see a sliver of the street and a little bit of the alley. The windows that left us wondering if that was a drug deal (it was) were the same windows that showed us hummingbirds and rose bushes. They let us see the world unfiltered, in all of its binary glory.

"Drink the water", she said. "Huh?", I said. Drink the water. Don't dump it down the drain. It just tastes like tuna. 

So, I drink the water. 

And I laugh when people make fun of me for it. Because, well, I can see how that might be weird. Actually, I admit that it's weird. 

I've thought about how to utilize this tuna water. I think if you mix it with pickle juice you could have liquid tuna salad. I know what you're thinking, "what are you even talking about?". Whatever. I'll make millions selling products to people with dysphagia and everyone else can suck it. Which you will literally be doing. Sucking down my liquid tuna salad at 90 years old, wondering why you didn't think of it. Or not. That's okay, too. ;)

If I come back to reality a little, I can admit that not everything is a good idea. A tuna noodle casserole sounds delicious until you remember it is just a bunch of butter, cream, and gluten. Did I just manifest another argument for liquid tuna salad? Hah! You thought I was off of that, didn't you?

Being weird is good, but knowing when to pull back is even better. I've thought about not drinking the tuna water, yet I've never ceased. It differentiates the mundane. It makes me laugh. That kitchen window taught me that the best and the worst don't make up the majority of life. There's a middle road. A commonplace task, or maybe even a thousand. That kitchen window taught me to find solitude in realism and it reminds me everyday to find joy in the middle. So, instead of liquid tuna salad, how about we try dairy-free, gluten-free tuna noodle casserole?

And don't forget to drink the water. 

Krizz Kaliko

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