Macaroni and Cheese with Tuna and Peas (Gluten-Free and Real Food Style)

Homemade Gluten-Free Macaroni & Cheese

I grew up in the land of the hotdish. I didn’t realize until I left my home state of Minnesota for college that most of the rest of the country called them casseroles.

Whichever way you cut it, they are a one pot dish – baked or not – that usually involves the main protein and starch of the meal. My Grandmother served them up in her farmhouse kitchen to the many children and grandchildren she fed.

I never liked boxed macaroni and cheese growing up, but for some reason the kind my mother made with tuna and peas mixed in now feels a bit like comfort food. I’ve updated the recipe here to use gluten-free pasta and a cheese “sauce” that is really only two of my favorite ingredients – raw cheese and grass-fed butter.


These days I’ve got my own little army to feed on our off-grid homestead. This quick dish is perfect for our family right now – it’s quick for those days when the baby’s a little more needy, and it involves some of my favorite spring ingredients. Just don’t skimp on the nutrient density found in the grass-fed butter and cheese and wild-caught tuna.

The Players

The How-To

  1. Place pasta in a medium dutch oven along with the lemon zest. Boil according to package directions. Drain.
  2. Add the butter, garlic, and cheese and place pot over low heat. Heat, stirring very gently, just until the butter and cheese begin melting together.
  3. Stir in the peas, tuna, and spring onions and cook just until the peas are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Makes a perfect lunch served with lacto-fermented carrot sticks.


  1. MamaCassi says

    i’ve always been terrified of the casserole, until i started reheated foods w/out a microwave and discovered one dish foods are awesome. would love to try this for my small army of 5 little people. it looks delicious and i want my 2 pickier girls to eat more fish!

    plus, it’s ingredients (except for peas) that i always keep on hand. quick, healthful, and uses ingredients i have, SCORE!


  2. Brad Frost says

    I love eating dishes like this, but aren’t you concerned about the mercury and other heavy metals that end up in tuna and other fish? With Fukushima, we get radioactive isotopes added to that list.

  3. Brittany says

    Thank you for clarifying “hotdish!” My husband’s family is all from MN. Hotdish has brought me much confusion. I wasn’t sure if it was a specific kind of casserole, a certain family recipe or what. My husband moved from MN when he was only five, so he wasn’t totally sure either. But now I understand! :)

  4. Thomas Eugene says

    I love your recipe, Channeling Dr Seuss I see. LOL I have made that dish many times. I like your version. Keep up the good work we need more like you.

  5. Tiffany says

    Thank you for bringing back my comfort food memories. My mother always made this with the left over Ham instead of Tuna. Then during my college days this dish became a mainstay of my early college days. Of course it was made with boxed Macaroni and Cheese and canned Tuna and frozen peas. Thank you for posting this updated, Gluten Free version.

  6. says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I had given up on tuna because so much of it has soy and other stuff in it and I’m thankful for the resource!

  7. Megan says

    I’d like to make this with rice instead of pasta. Any idea off-hand how much rice would be equivalent to the 12 oz of pasta in this recipe? Thanks!

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