Tuna-&-Tomato Mac & Cheese

Tuna-&-Tomato Mac & Cheese

10 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2011

Tuna mac & cheese takes a trip to the Southwest with spicy tomato and festive blue tortilla chips on top. Canned tomatoes with green chiles and ancho chile powder add a peppery kick, but if you like, you can keep it mellow by using a 14-ounce can of drained petite diced tomatoes and mild chili powder.

Ingredients 1 serving

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  • 8 ounces (about 3 cups) whole-wheat rotini pasta
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk, divided
  • ½ cup grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup grated pepper Jack cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ancho chile powder (see Notes)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1½ cups reduced-fat cottage cheese, preferably low-sodium
  • 1 5- to 6-ounce can chunk light tuna (see Notes), drained and flaked
  • 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles (see Notes), drained
  • ¼ cup crumbled tortilla chips, preferably blue corn


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk flour and 2 tablespoons milk in a small bowl. Heat the remaining milk in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat until steaming.
  4. Gradually whisk a few tablespoons of the hot milk into the milk-flour mixture, then whisk this mixture back into the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in Cheddar, pepper Jack, chile powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Puree cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until very smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Stir into the sauce in the skillet. Add tuna and the pasta; stir well to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle drained tomatoes evenly over the top.
  6. Bake until hot and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Top with crumbled tortilla chips.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 5 (transfer to a baking dish, if desired, before topping with tomatoes), cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Bake at 450°F until hot and bubbling, about 35 minutes.
  • Notes: Ancho chile powder, made from dried poblano peppers, has a mild, sweet spicy flavor. Look for it in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets.
  • Chunk light tuna, like all fish and shellfish, contains some mercury. According to the FDA and EPA, women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children should limit their consumption to 12 ounces a week of fish with lower mercury, including canned “light” tuna. Consumption of albacore tuna (which is labeled “white”) should be limited to no more than 6 ounces a week. And, if you're looking for an environmentally sustainable canned tuna option, check the label—tuna that was caught by troll or pole-and-line is considered the best choice, according to Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program. Or look for the blue Certified Sustainable Seafood label from the Marine Stewardship Council.
  • We like to use flavorful Rotel brand diced tomatoes with green chiles—original or mild—in place of regular diced tomatoes in Southwest-inspired dishes. Find them near other diced tomatoes and/or in the Mexican-food section at most supermarkets.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1½ cups
  • Per serving: 442 calories; 11 g fat(6 g sat); 6 g fiber; 55 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 46 mcg folate; 39 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 749 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C; 375 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 725 mg sodium; 380 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Calcium (38% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 reduced-fat milk, ½ vegetable, 1½ medium fat meat

Reviews 10

January 21, 2018
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By: Deborah J Bell
Definitely need to fix the 1 serving bug. It's either 4 or 6, but I don't get the same results with either 4 or 6 servings. I'm seeing a lot of recipes with "1 serving" and it makes the site much harder to use.
April 16, 2017
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By: terridigby
Excellent! I wouldn't change a thing. Even my son (who doesn't like tuna or cottage cheese) loved it! But...1 serving? More like 3-4.
February 10, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
Quick and Easy Didn't have the tomatoes with chiles so just used drained tomatoes. But since I was short of milk, I ended up using the drained juice in the sauce and it added a nice color to the sauce. I used only chili powder. I only had cheddar cheese so doubled to make up for the other cheese. Next time I would save some of the cheese to sprinkle on top with the tomatoes I would make again and try variations. Pros: easily adapted
October 17, 2014
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By: EatingWell User
This recipe was great, however I did add some sauteed onion, garlic, red bell pepper and corn. I used a dash of regular chili powder and crushed red peppers. Also I didn't blend the cottage cheese, seemed pointless. It was delish, even my 2 yr old gobbled it up.
August 09, 2011
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By: an3k9
Simple Comfort Food I loved this dish. I used chipotle pepper powder and pepper jack cheese because I love spicy food. It was quick and filling without being overly greasy. I will definitely make this again! Pros: Great use of canned tuna, loved the cottage cheese swap
July 10, 2011
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By: jackie.rosenberger
Just spicy enough I made this with canned chicken (which I accidentally opened instead of the tuna) and it was great! The cottage cheese blends with the other cheeses perfectly to make a very smooth sauce. It was just spicy enough without being too spicy. Next time I might omit the salt, since there's plenty already with all the cheese and the canned meat. This recipe makes a lowly can of chunk chicken into a pretty decent dinner. Pros: easy, tasty
April 26, 2011
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By: cathlinberreth01
kids compared it to tuna helper (they eat that at their dads) I used the ground ancho pepper instead of "ground ancho chile powder" and it wasn't spicy enough. Substituting regular chile powder may have given in the zip it needed. It wasn't bad by any means, and my lower rating may be due to not using what it called for. Pros: easy Cons: I couldn't find acho chile powder-only ground ancho pepper
April 13, 2011
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By: Jessica Icard
Fantastic! I used Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Tomatoes with the Chiles. I omitted the adobo stuff, since I can never find it. The sauce was delicious, and everything came together wonderfully. The flavor of the tuna was not overwhelming, and the creaminess of the cheesey sauce just added to it. It was kind of like tuna noodle casserole, but with a little bit of a kick. It was even better the next day! Pros: Tasty, rather quick
March 10, 2011
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By: jenniferdent145
Delicious! Is this really only 11g of fat per serving? It tasted much more decadent and sinful. Delicious. I used Dreamfield's low carb pasta instead of whole wheat and I forgot the blue tortilla chips, but it tasted great without them. I will be making this again. Pros: Easy to make, very tasty
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