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

Several of the church cookbooks I own have some variant of a Tuna Cashew Casserole.  The proportions and details vary, but the key ingredients are the same:  cashews, canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, and fried chow mein noodles.  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 casserole I won’t recommend you make any of them.  They taste just fine, albeit a little bit on the salty side, but the problem is the texture.  In most versions 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 equivalent to eating a tuna-flavored bowl of soggy Cheerios, and there’s not enough crunch in the cashews or the celery to offset the flaccid noodles.  It’s just plain unpleasant.

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 (Various, 1960s-1970s)

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