Tuna Cashew Casserole (Various, 1960s-1970s)

Tuna Cashew Casserole is an odd amalgam of cashews, canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, and fried chow mein noodles.  I’ve seen at least half a dozen variants of this recipe spread across different church cookbooks.  The proportions and details vary but the key ingredients are the same.  There’s usually a crunchy vegetable in there as well, usually celery but some times bean sprouts or water chestnuts if we’re aiming for an ‘authentic’ Asian version.

Unless you have happy memories of this dish I won’t recommend you make any of them.  This recipe nearly cut my food blogging career short.  One bite and my spouse gagged and spit it out, something that’s only happened twice in our twenty-odd year marriage.  It’s not the taste, it’s the presentation. Tuna Cashew Casserole tastes just fine, albeit a little bit on the salty side, but has the texture of a soggy bowl of Cheerios.  In most versions, including the version below, the fried chow mein noodles are the binding starch and soak up the moisture from the cream of mushroom soup during a 30-45 minute cook.   The end result is a flaccid, mealy mess.   Rice, tater tots, or egg noodles would be a better starch to work with.

The version below comes from Adventures in Food under the name Chinese Cashew Casserole.  Closely related variants can be found in Our Favorite Recipes and others.

Tuna Cashew Casserole

 

Tuna Cashew Casserole (Various, 1960s-1970s)

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 40 min
  • Ready in: 50 min
  • For: 8 servings
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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, reserving 2/3 can of chow mein noodles. Add ingredients to large 13 x 9 baking pan. Sprinkle remaining chow mein noodles on top.
  2. Bake at 325 F for 35-40 minutes

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