But this is a test of character. You know you should cook. You know that there will be many more situations like this, and that caving in to a McBurger every time will just leave you greasy, sad, and alone. So here’s what you do: take twenty minutes to whip up this tuna casserole on the stovetop. Hell, if you cut up your cauliflower during your weekly veggie prep, it might take more like ten minutes. And you get a healthy, delicious home-cooked meal! And that’s why you’re here, right?
The breakthrough for me here was the cream sauce. Most of the similar recipes out there use canned cream of mushroom soup glop, which has all (read: ALL) of the additives and artificial junks that we’re trying to avoid by cooking from scratch in the first place. Others use a cream reduction, or a flour-based roux to thicken up a cream reduction, or some other reducing-based approach that takes ages and if you turn the stove on any higher you WILL burn the cream. But this recipe just uses some heavy cream (ideally creme fraiche, which you can make by just dumping a little buttermilk into a jar of cream, but regular ol’ cream should work fine, too) mixed with an egg and some cornstarch. This makes for a simple, creamy sauce that thickens the instant it’s heated.
Okay, the cornstarch is not technically Paleo, but it’s such a small amount that I really don’t think it’s a big deal. Also, there’s gluten-free pasta in this recipe. I’ve been introducing grains back into my diet to an extent, because since I started regular intensive workouts, I ran out of gas REAL FAST, and discovered that I probably wasn’t getting enough carbs. I don’t make carbs the main part of my diet by any means, and I avoid refined grains as much as possible, but I am eating some, and I have felt better for it. I’ll write a more detailed post on this in the future. You can still try this recipe sans pasta, I bet the cauliflower will more than make up for it taste-wise.
So yeah, boil up some pasta, sauté some cauliflower, dump in sauce and tuna and parsley and peas, stir. Done. You’re not cooking any meat or browning any onions or anything, so this stuff gets on the table lightning-fast. And it tastes pretty damn good, because if it didn’t, what would be the point?
- 3/4 cup gluten-free short pasta (I used Aldi's corn fusilli)
- 1 head cauliflower, broken down and sliced sliced into thin pasta-like pieces
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 5-oz cans tuna, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- a handful of fresh parsley leaves
- salt and pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and throw in your pasta. Set a timer for ten minutes. Once it goes off, bite into a piece of pasta to see if it's tender yet. If not, keep it going and test again every two minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a big skillet over medium-high heat. While it's melting, nuke the cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl just until it's not crunchy anymore, about three minutes. Then sauté the cauliflower in the butter until it starts to brown a little. Remove from heat.
- Combine creme fraiche or cream, egg, cornstarch, and one tablespoon of the lemon juice in a bowl. Make it a pretty big bowl, because you want to whip up that shiznit with a whisk until it's all nice and smooth.
- Your pasta should be done by now. Drain it if you haven't already, return it to the pot over low heat, add the cauliflower, and pour in your cream concoction, stirring to coat all the noodles and cauliflower bits. When it's thickened a bit, remove from heat and gently fold in the tuna peas, parsley, remaining lemon juice, and as much cracked black pepper as you can handle. Salt to taste.
- Some bread crumbs or potato chips crushed up over the top would give this a nice crunch.