Increase your hand should you loveeeee mac and cheese.

As a child, my Dad would all the time make me macaroni and cheese made with sharp or white cheddar, plus LOTS and many pepper. If I had been fortunate, he would add peas (as a result of I cherished them greater than another veggie on the earth.)

Now that I’m into full-on #adulting, I LOVE when my mac and cheese is filled with something just a bit bit distinctive: truffle mac and cheese, vegan mac and cheese, mac and cheese with a Ritz cracker topping, mac and cheese with brussels, BUFFALO cauliflower mac, or perhaps a basic broccoli cheddar mac and cheese. Can mac and cheese be its personal meals group but?

I believed I’d convey you one other distinctive twist on mac and cheese that I’m completely in love with: Southwest tuna mac and cheese with spicy flavors and distinctive umami taste. Belief me, I do know that it sounds a bit of loopy, however I promise you it’s one of many BEST mac and cheese recipes you’ll ever make.

Components in tuna mac and cheese

Not solely is that this tuna mac and cheese filled with taste, but it surely additionally makes use of easy elements and pantry staples that you just may have already got on-hand. The additional protein makes this a scrumptious, wholesome tuna mac and cheese dinner!

  • Elbow macaroni: you should use gluten free, entire grain or common noodles. I actually love the chickpea pasta due to the additional fiber however entire grain is great, too.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: I like to make use of a block of cheddar as a result of it melts a lot simpler. I don’t suggest utilizing pre-shredded cheddar for this recipe however quite shred or dice it your self.
  • Flour: I used entire wheat pastry flour to assist make a wonderfully thick cheese sauce for the tuna mac and cheese. You can even use all function or gluten free all function flour!
  • Tuna: I AM IN LOVE with the tuna on this recipe. It provides an attention-grabbing savory umami taste that I can’t get sufficient of, to not point out tons of protein. You should utilize yellowfin or albacore tuna on this scrumptious recipe.
  • Taco seasoning: I made a decision to make use of a packet of natural taco seasoning to season the mac and cheese as a result of that’s what I had in my cabinet, nevertheless, my DIY taco seasoning is ideal for this recipe!
  • Black beans: these beans are one more reason I like this recipe. The fiber and protein within the beans assist to maintain you full and add a southwest aptitude to the recipe.
  • Milk: be at liberty to make use of any milk you’d like on this recipe (though I wouldn’t use skim). After I first made this recipe I selected to make use of unsweetened cashew milk as a result of it’s extremely creamy and provides superb taste to the mac and cheese.

Customise your tuna mac and cheese

This straightforward tuna mac and cheese is nice for customizing to your style preferences and what you may have available! Right here’s what I can suggest:

  • Go gluten free: merely use your favourite gluten free pasta form like this one, in addition to gluten free all function flour.
  • Attempt it dairy free: as an alternative of cheese you possibly can add my cashew cheese sauce for a dairy free choice.
  • Add some veggies: be at liberty to fold in veggies like peas (so nostalgic) mushrooms, chopped bell pepper, and even diced jalapeño.

stovetop tuna mac and cheese in a skillet

Can I make it vegetarian?

Certain! Merely omit the tuna and benefit from the protein that black beans present. Be at liberty so as to add an additional can of black beans should you’d like.

The way to make tuna mac and cheese on the stovetop

  1. Cook dinner the pasta. First boil the noodles till al dente, then drain them and set them apart.
  2. Make a slurry. Whereas the pasta is boiling, you’ll make a slurry (or a roux) by melting butter in a pot or skillet with garlic. Whisk within the flour and onion powder & stir till a paste varieties. Then slowly add within the milk, whisking away any lumps so it’s good and clean.
  3. Thicken the sauce. Improve the warmth and convey your combination to a boil, then cut back warmth and simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring sometimes, till the sauce thickens up much like a gravy
  4. Cheese it up. Subsequent, add within the cheese and taco seasoning and stir till utterly melted.
  5. Combine within the mac. Lastly fold in cooked noodles, black beans and drained tuna and blend till effectively mixed. 
  6. Broil & serve. High with the remainder of the cheese, then both combine it in or place your skillet beneath the broiler for 1-2 minutes till the cheese is bubbly and barely golden. High with contemporary herbs like parsley or cilantro and sizzling sauce should you’d like, and serve!

healthy tuna mac and cheese in a skillet with a wooden spoon

Storing suggestions

You possibly can retailer any leftover tuna macaroni and cheese within the fridge for as much as 4-5 days. Merely reheat within the microwave.

I do know you will love this filling consolation meals tuna mac and cheese. It’s great on a comfy night and nice for reheating too. I like to recommend topping it with sizzling sauce and cilantro!

Extra cozy dinners you’ll love

Get all of my dinner recipes right here!

For those who make this straightforward tuna mac and cheese recipe, you’ll want to go away a remark and price the recipe under letting me understand how you prefer it. You can even add a photograph and tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram! xo.

Stovetop Southwest Tuna Mac and Cheese

tuna mac and cheese in a skillet

A southwest impressed model of tuna mac and cheese with taco seasoning, black beans, yellowfin tuna and loads of cheese. This creamy, spicy tuna mac and cheese recipe comes collectively in simply half-hour and is filled with protein. Good for weeknight dinners, recreation day or anytime you may have a consolation meals craving!


  • 8
    elbow noodles (or no matter noodles you need)
  • 2
  • 1
    garlic, minced
  • 1/4
    entire wheat pastry flour (or sub common flour or GF all function flour)
  • ½
    onion powder
  • 1 1/2
    unsweetened cashew or almond milk
  • Salt and pepper, to style
  • 6
    sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese)
  • 1
    (1.1 ounce) packet taco seasoning (ideally natural)*
  • 1
    (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1
    (5 ounce) can yellowfin or albacore tuna, drained
  • 2
    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and reserved for the topping (or about ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese)
  • To garnish:
  • Chopped contemporary cilantro
  • Sizzling sauce, if desired


  1. First boil the noodles till al dente, in accordance with the instructions on the bundle. As soon as carried out cooking, drain and put aside.

  2. Whereas the noodles are boiling, make a slurry: In a big oven protected skillet or pot add butter and garlic. As soon as butter is melted, whisk within the flour and onion powder and prepare dinner for 30 seconds till a paste varieties. Slowly add in cashew milk, whisking away any lumps.

  3. Improve warmth and convey combination to a boil, then cut back warmth and simmer for 5-10 minutes stirring sometimes, till the sauce thickens up much like a gravy

  4. Subsequent add in 6 oz cheese and 1 packet of taco seasoning and stir till utterly melted. 

  5. Lastly fold in cooked noodles, black beans and drained tuna and blend till effectively mixed. 

  6. High with 2 ounces of shredded cheddar. At this level you possibly can both serve the mac and cheese and simply fold within the further cheddar you simply added, or take away from warmth and place beneath the broiler for 1-2 minutes or till cheese is bubbly and barely golden. Serves 6. High with cilantro and sizzling sauce if desired!

Recipe Notes

*To make your individual taco seasoning: use my go-to recipe right here!

To make dairy free: be at liberty to make use of my cashew cheese sauce as an alternative of creating the cheese sauce for this recipe.

See the complete publish for much more methods to customise this recipe.


Servings: 6 servings

Serving measurement: 1 serving

Energy: 425kcal

Fats: 19g

Saturated fats: 10.6g

Carbohydrates: 40.8g

Fiber: 6.6g

Sugar: 1.6g

Protein: 23.2g

This publish was initially revealed on October thirtieth, 2017, republished on April 1st, 2020, and republished on September twenty eighth, 2022.

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