This Easy Tuna Bake with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta is a healthy, versatile dish, equally delicious with pasta, potatoes, rice or fresh, crusty bread – make a big batch and enjoy more than once with your favourite side dish!
I don’t often use tinned food but in this easy tuna bake recipe it makes perfect sense to use tinned tuna rather than fresh. This is a quick and easy dinner recipe so convenience is key. Besides, mixing fresh tuna with other ingredients simply wouldn’t do it justice. This Easy Tuna Bake with Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta recipe uses both the fish and the brine (spring water) so nothing is wasted.
Easy tuna bake without pasta
My original intention was to create an easy and healthy tuna and pasta bake recipe but I didn’t have a big enough dish that would fit all the ingredients including the pasta. So this baked tuna casserole is made without the pasta. As it turns out this dish can be enjoyed on its own (I had a generous helping right after taking the photos :0). The chunks of squash and tuna coated in rich (but not heavy!) sauce make a fairly satisfying meal.
The advantage of not adding pasta into this tuna casserole is that it is super flexible. You could serve it with either pasta, quinoa, rice or couscous (if you prefer not to have it on its own).
This butternut squash casserole recipe with tuna is big enough to feed a family of 4 twice! (especially if you have it with pasta). And it tastes just as delicious the next day. This is convenience food at its best!
Start with the tomato sauce
The sauce is very uncomplicated and won’t take more than 10 minutes to make. Start by frying the onion and garlic with the bay leaf. Then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, season and cook for about 7 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and puree the mixture. Once the sauce is ready fold in the spinach, add the water from the tuna and set aside.
Prepping the butternut squash
The butternut squash needs to be fried briefly before adding into the casserole. I often roast butternut squash (see my easy butternut squash chili) but for this recipe I decided to go for a quicker preparation method. Simply season and fry the squash cubes in a little oil over a fairy high heat for a few minutes until lightly browned. Stir frequently to ensure it browns evenly.
Then transfer the butternut squash into your casserole dish and add the rest of the ingredients (see below).
How to assemble the tuna bake
This final step is very quick and easy to do. Once you’ve fried the butternut squash and pureed the tomato sauce you are ready to put all the ingredients together.
To assemble the casserole place the squash in your oven dish and scatter over the tuna. Pour in the tomato sauce, scatter the feta over the top and bake for 50 minutes.
You might also like this Brussels Sprouts Bulgur Wheat Tuna Salad.
- 1 medium butternut squash peeled, cubed
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 x 160 g tinned tuna, including the water
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach chopped (100 g)
- 120 g feta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt plenty of pepper
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 F/ 190 C/ gas mark 5.
In a medium saucepan heat up 2 tablespoons of oil, add the bay leaf, garlic and onion and saute on a low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, season, cover and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree the sauce (don't forget to take the bay leaf out first). Stir in the spinach and water from the tuna.
In a large pan heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and fry the squash cubes on a high heat for about 6-7 minutes stirring often until they are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and place in a medium/large baking dish (at least 6 cm deep). Spread the tuna over the squash, pour the sauce over the whole thing, top with crumbled feta and bake for 50 minutes.
To serve garnish with parsley and enjoy with pasta, quinoa, couscous or simply on its own.
Serve with your favourite side dish
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