Australian/ Baking/ Dinner/ Recipes

Easy Weeknight Tuna Mornay

12/05/2022

A classic weeknight casserole recipe the whole family will LOVE. This cheesy tuna mornay is made with our no-fail bechamel white sauce to make it even easier.

Spoonful of tuna mornay showing the creamy pasta sauce.

Why We Love This

Made with everyday ingredients, this classic tuna mornay recipe is super easy and 100% satisfying. The ultimate comfort food dish!

Like zucchini slice or curried sausages, this is one of those treasured recipes we both grew up eating. 

Anyone can make this cheesy tuna casserole pasta at home, and the whole family will LOVE it! The combo of pasta, creamy sauce and cheesy topping makes it especially good for young kids and fussy eaters.

Tuna mornay is freezable and make-ahead friendly, perfect for potlucks, picnics or parties. 

Related: Pasta al Forno / Chicken Pasta Bake / Creamy Sausage Pasta

Bowl of tuna mornay with serving fork.

What is Tuna Mornay? 

Tuna mornay is a type of white sauce based pasta bake or casserole made with canned tuna, pasta, and veggies such as peas and corn. 

This is a go-to weeknight dinner dish in many households throughout Australia. It is pure comfort food – especially when Mum makes it!

We use our creamy no-fail bechamel sauce method (the same one we use in our Greek moussaka veggie bake) as the base for the tuna mornay to make it even easier. 

While the tuna mornay itself is amazing, the bubbly, golden browned cheese and breadcrumb topping is arguably the best part!

What You’ll Need

  • Tuna – Simple canned tuna is the go-to for this recipe. Tuna in oil will have more flavour, but you can use brine or springwater tuna as well. Generally we recommend avoiding flavoured tuna cans as they can clash with the creamy, cheesy sauce, but if you find a complementary flavour you like – go for it. You can also sub with canned salmon or leftover roast chicken / rotisserie chicken. 
  • Pasta – We love using penne or fusilli spiral pasta in tuna mornay. Sub with any short style pasta you have on hand. 
  • Veggies – A simple brown, white or yellow onion is all you’ll need to slice, then throw in some frozen peas and corn, or a mix of peas, corn and carrots. You can also use canned veggies if you prefer. 
  • Shredded Cheese – Tasty / cheddar cheese is a great choice because it has a good sharp flavour without being too stringy like mozzarella. Add a little grated parmesan for even more bite if you like. 
  • Easy Béchamel White Sauce – Sarah’s got a knack when it comes to whipping up a quick and easy béchamel sauce. Our version is fast and easy to make, unlike traditional bechamel recipes. All you need is butter, all purpose flour, milk, shredded cheese and parmesan. Follow the steps in the recipe card below, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and you’re good to go!
Ingredients laid out to make tuna mornay.

How to make Recipe:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 360°F.
  2. Cook pasta for 1 minute less than the packet directions. Drain and add to the bottom of a large baking dish.
  3. Pop the butterflour and milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Keep whisking until butter has completely melted and the sauce has started to thicken. Whisking will avoid any lumps forming, so you have a super smooth white sauce base!
  4. Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the peas and corn and stir through. Add in the tuna and break up into pieces with the whisk. You can make it as chunky or small as you like.
  5. Add in the tasty cheese, parmesan, chicken stock, nutmeg and optional salt and pepper. Keep whisking until everything is well combined. Allow to heat through for a minute or two, then switch off the heat.
  1. Pour the sauce mix over the pasta and mix it all together in the baking dish.
  2. Flatten out the top with the back of a spoon.
  3. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake for around 15-20 mins or until golden brown.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Baking Dish – A large, shallow baking dish works best to ensure you maximise your crispy cheesy topping! 
  • Storage – Leftover tuna mornay will last 2-3 days in the fridge, or freeze for 2-3 months. Always store leftovers in an airtight container. 
  • Stuffing Mix – This is the secret sauce for this recipe! Either make your own seasoned stuffing mix or buy one. The seasoning in the breadcrumbs adds a whole new level of deliciousness in every bite.

FAQs

What’s the difference between tuna bake and tuna mornay?

Both dishes can be quite similar, but the main difference is that the ingredients for tuna mornay are mixed into a bechamel white sauce, while tuna bakes don’t use bechamel and have less emphasis on the sauce.

Can I make tuna mornay in advance?

Yep, you can. Once you’ve added the cheese and breadcrumb topping (but before baking), you can cover and pop in the fridge until you’re ready to cook the next day. Allow enough time for the pasta to come up to temperature on the kitchen benchtop (around an hour or so) before you bake it to ensure it cooks through in the middle.

What else should I serve with it?

You can serve tuna mornay as a standalone dish, but it’s even better with garlic bread. Add a refreshing side salad like wafu salad or fennel & orange salad to balance out the cheese and pasta. Use up any leftovers as a toasted sandwich filling to amp it up the next day.

Variations

  • Alternate Topping – Add a layer of mashed potato then top with the cheese and breadcrumbs for an extra delicious topping, similar to a shepherd’s pie or cottage pie. Try sprinkling crushed potato chips / crisps over the topping for even more crunch! 
  • More Veggies – Add steamed or baked broccoli, spinach, kale, pumpkin or sweet potato into the mornay mix before baking. 
  • Add Spice – Stir a little cayenne, tabasco or shichimi togarashi through the white sauce for a subtle spicy zing. 
  • Cooking Method – This is a great dish to cook in a Remoska Tria. You can make the white sauce in the pot, add the tuna and cooked pasta, top with cheese and breadcrumbs and finish it off with the baking lid!
Large scoop of tuna mornay in baking dish.

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★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

Big spoonful of creamy tuna mornay.

Easy Weeknight Tuna Mornay

A classic weeknight recipe the whole family will LOVE. This cheesy tuna mornay is made with our no-fail bechamel white sauce to make it even easier.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Australian
Servings: 6 People
Calories: 648kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 425 g tuna sustainable or line caught is best – we use Sirena Italian style in Olive Oil
  • 1 cup corn frozen or canned
  • 1 cup peas frozen or canned
  • 250 g pasta penne or spiral

For the white sauce base

For the topping

  • cup breadcrumbs 50 g / 1.76 oz panko or our fave – seasoned stuffing mix.
  • 1-2 cups cheese grated tasty or shredded pizza cheese mix

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 360°F.
  • Cook pasta for 1 minute less than the packet directions. Drain and add to the bottom of a large baking dish.
    250 g pasta
  • Pop the butter, flour and milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Keep whisking until butter has completely melted and the sauce has started to thicken (around 3 minutes). Whisking will avoid any lumps forming, so you have a super smooth white sauce base!
    100 g butter, 50 g plain flour / all purpose flour, 3 cups milk
  • Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the peas and corn and stir through. Add in the tuna and break up into pieces with the whisk. You can make it as chunky or small as you like.
    1/3 cup parmesan, 1/2 cup cheese, 2 tsp chicken stock, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, Salt and pepper
  • Add in the tasty cheese, parmesan, chicken stock, nutmeg and optional salt and pepper. Keep whisking until everything is well combined. Allow to heat through for a minute or two, then switch off the heat.
    425 g tuna, 1 cup corn, 1 cup peas
  • Pour the sauce mix over the pasta and mix it all together in the baking dish.
  • Flatten out the top with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Bake for around 15-20 mins or until golden brown.
    ⅓ cup breadcrumbs, 1-2 cups cheese

Video

YouTube video

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Weeknight Tuna Mornay
Amount per Serving
Calories
648
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
31
g
48
%
Saturated Fat
 
18
g
113
%
Trans Fat
 
1
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Cholesterol
 
108
mg
36
%
Sodium
 
633
mg
28
%
Potassium
 
569
mg
16
%
Carbohydrates
 
57
g
19
%
Fiber
 
4
g
17
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Protein
 
36
g
72
%
Vitamin A
 
1234
IU
25
%
Vitamin C
 
11
mg
13
%
Calcium
 
460
mg
46
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Easy Weeknight Tuna Mornay

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Paul
    23/09/2022 at 6:30 pm

    4 stars
    The tuna in olive oil didn’t appeal to me so swapped it for tuna in brine which works just as well

    • Reply
      Wandercooks
      24/09/2022 at 5:13 pm

      Hey Paul, that’s a completely personal choice with the tuna. We love the flavour of tuna in olive oil, but we have already mentioned in the post you can use brine or fresh water if you prefer. 🙂

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