Tuna Mornay

Learn how to make easy tuna mornay from scratch, including the white sauce. Made with budget-friendly ingredients like canned tuna and with the addition of nutritious spinach, this pasta bake recipe will quickly become a family favourite. 


Tuna mornay with penne pasta in a baking dish

Jump to: ℹ️ Overview | 🛒 Ingredients | 📷 How To Make | | 👩‍🍳 Recipe Tips | 🥗Serving Suggestions | 📝 Full Recipe Card | 🍽 More Hearty Pasta Recipes


What Is Tuna Mornay?

Tuna Mornay is a comforting, creamy casserole dish that’s especially popular in Australia. It’s an old school classic typically made with canned tuna mixed into a creamy white Mornay sauce usually made from butter, flour, and milk (basically, a béchamel sauce). Many people then add ingredients like cheese, onions, peas, corn, mustard or herbs for extra flavour (and colour). The mixture is then poured into a baking dish, topped with more cheese or breadcrumbs (I love using Pangrattato), and baked until bubbly and golden on top.

It is often served with rice or pasta but I like to make mine as a tuna mornay pasta bake, and mix everything together before baking. You can of course make tuna mornay without pasta, simply skip it from the recipe and you will get a low-carb version.

This dish is budget-friendly, hearty and simple, which explains why it’s a favourite for weeknight dinners. I am going to show you how to make it from scratch (no jarred white sauce!) and I guarantee you will be making it more than once.

Tuna mornay pasta in a baking dish

What You’ll Need

Here is what you’ll need for tuna mornay recipe. Find the full measurements in the recipe card below.

  • For the sauce – butter, garlic, flour (you can use gluten-free, regular or almond meal), and milk (can be regular, almond milk or lactose-free), salt and pepper.
  • Also for the sauce – grated cheese such as Gouda or Cheddar and baby spinach.
  • Canned tuna – I always try to use good quality, responsibly sourced canned tuna because it always tastes better and you have better cuts of the fish in the can.
  • Pasta – penne, fussili or rotini is suitable for this. Pasta can be omitted from the recipe or you can replace it with cauliflower or broccoli to make a low-carb version.
  • Pangrattato (Italian Breadcrumbs) – this is a topping of herby, garlicky breadcrumbs which adds lovely texture and extra flavour to the dish. I have a recipe for homemade pangrattato on the blog here. You can also make a simple version with Panko breadcrumbs or ground up stale bread toasted in olive oil with some garlic and dry herbs. For an even simple version, use plain breadcrumbs, garlic powder and dry herbs and mix those just before topping the casserole
Tuna mornay ingredients

How To Make Tuna Mornay

Find the full recipe and nutritional information below. Here are some handy step-by-step photos.

  • Cook the penne pasta al dente as per package instructions, then drain.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease a 6×8-inch baking dish.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sauté minced garlic until fragrant.
  • Add flour to the garlic, stirring to combine, and cook for 1 minute to remove the raw flour taste.
  • Gradually add milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps, until the sauce thickens and simmers.
how to make roux sauce for mornay
  • Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add shredded Gouda cheese, and stir until the cheese melts into a smooth sauce.
  • Combine the sauce with the drained tuna and cooked pasta, mixing well.
Making cheesy spinach sauce
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and top with half of the breadcrumbs (pangrattato). If using plain breadcrumbs, combine these with some garlic powder or minced garlic and dried herbs in a bowl, then sprinkle over the tuna pasta casserole.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and bake for 5-10 more minutes until golden and bubbly.
  • Let cool briefly, garnish with fresh herbs, and serve.
how to make tuna mornay bake
Close up tuna mornay casserole with spinach

Recipe Tips

  • You can use canned salmon instead of tuna in this recipe. If you don’t like fish, use sliced cooked chicken instead.
  • If you prefer not to use breadcrumbs, you can omit them from the recipe. The dish will still be delicious without the crispy breadcrumb topping. You can add extra cheese on top before baking.
  • Omit the pasta or replace it with diced cauliflower or broccoli for a low-carb version.

Serving Suggestions

This tuna mornay recipe is made with pasta so it’s a complete meal and can be served with a simple side salad or some garlic broccoli. If you make a tuna mornay without pasta, you can serve it with rice, quinoa or vegetables. This casserole dish is hearty and creamy so I recommend something refreshing and tangy for a side dish.

More Hearty Pasta Recipes

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Tuna mornay bake with spinach

Tuna Mornay

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4 servings
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Australia
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Calories: 407kcal
Whip up a simple, homemade Tuna Mornay, complete with a from-scratch sauce. Using budget-friendly staples like canned tuna and wholesome spinach, this pasta bake is poised to be a new family favourite.

Ingredients 

  • 150 gram penne pasta dry, about 5 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour all-purpose or almond flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese Gouda or Cheddar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 150 grams canned tuna drained
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs such as Pangrattato (see notes)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish, optional
  • More salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 6×8-inch -inch baking dish and set it aside.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the garlic, and stir well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute to cook off the raw flour taste.
  • Slowly pour in the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens and comes to a simmer.
  • Add fresh spinach leaves to the skillet and stir gently. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the shredded Gouda cheese until it melts and the sauce becomes smooth.
  • Add the drained tuna and cooked penne pasta to the skillet. Stir gently until everything is well coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish, spreading it out evenly.
  • If using ready-to-go pangrattato, sprinkle half of the mixture over the tuna and pasta mixture in the baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, then top with the remaining breadcrumbs and bake for 5-10 more minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
  • If using plain breadcrumbs, combine them with some minced garlic or garlic powder and a teaspoon of dry herbs in a bowl, then sprinkle this mixture over the casserole, then bake for 15-20 minutes.

Notes

Storage tips: Store leftover tuna mornay in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Do not freeze as neither the pasta nor the creamy sauce do well in the freezer. Reheat cold pasta in the oven or microwave.
Can I use canned salmon instead of tuna? Yes, canned salmon can be a delicious substitute for tuna in this recipe.
Pangrattato – to make your own, process 2 cups of stale bread slices in a food processor into breadcrumbs; cook in a skillet in some olive oil until toasted lightly; add herbs, garlic, salt and pepper and cook through for 2-3 more minutes until golden brown; finish with some grated Parmesan and chopped parsley, and stir through in a skillet for another minute or two.

Nutrition

Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 683mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1878IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 267mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Tuna, Comfort Food Recipes, Tuna Casserole, Tuna Pasta Bake, Tuna Mornay, Dinner
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Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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