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Tuna Butternut Squash Casserole (Whole30, Paleo)

Growing up I loved tuna, my dad hated the smell, so at home I could only eat it when he was out of town. That did happen to be a lot. Back in elementary school I also packed it in my lunch and had to ask the principal to open my can. Pouches didn’t exist yet, and the pull tab cans were hard for a 5th grader; I did feel bad when he spilled it on himself a couple of times.

At home I often paired tuna with the famous Kraft Mac and Cheese, so this recipe is inspired by that creamy comfort food taste except this one has no grains, no dairy, and is loaded with healthy fats and veggies. The possibilities are endless with this dish, it could easily be made with shredded chicken too. I’ve also made it before with cheese, so if dairy is ok for you go for it! If you do add a creamy cheese, you can probably decrease the mayo to 1/2 cup. The healthy mayo used in this recipe is from Thrive Market and is the Primal Kitchen brand which is Whole 30 approved. I also got the Plantain Chips and Safe Catch tuna there. Use one of the links above and get 20% off your first 3 orders. You also get a free 30 day trial.

This month 10% generated from affiliate links will be going to the ministry She Has a Name out of Columbus, Ohio. Human trafficking is unfortunately growing all around us. I’ve had family and friends personally observe it recently. I’m thankful for organizations like this that are shedding light on darkness and helping to redeem those that have suffered in these horrific situations.

Enjoy this recipe, stay well and warm this winter.

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Tuna Butternut Squash Casserole (Whole30, Paleo)
If you are longing for a tuna noodle casserole but have given up grains or dairy, or you just want to make a healthier choice, this is the recipe for you! It's creamy and delightful. Feel free to adapt and throw in any veggies you would like. Artichokes, peas would be great here as well as any other veggies you can think of.
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 40
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 40
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the squash on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for about 25 minutes, until tender, tossing once halfway through.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, add 5 slices of bacon diced. I typically use kitchen scissors and just cut the slices into pieces as I'm adding them to the pan to avoid getting a cutting board dirty. Cook until bacon pieces are crispy, then remove bacon with slotted spoon. In the bacon drippings, add the spinach, onions, and garlic. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender.
  3. In a separate bowl mix tuna, mayo, mustard. After the squash is done and the spinach, onions, and garlic are tender and fragrant. Mix everything in with the tuna mix. Then place in a round or square casserole dish, top with crushed plantain chips (leave out for Whole 30), and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Spice it up with some crushed red pepper if you like spicy or even some curry powder would be yummy. 🙂 If you are ok with dairy you can add parmesan cheese to the top as well.

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1 Whole 30 Week #3

The halfway point! I certainly had moments this week where I so wanted something not on the plan like plantain chips or some sourdough bread. But I held strong! I do feel like I’m eating more nuts than I probably should, but I will try to decrease that this week. We visited the chiropractor today and I’m still intolerant to eggs…which is such a bummer especially during this Whole30 journey. Baby boy is too, so we will probably wait to introduce eggs until later and probably introduce them first in non-pure forms and then yolks, before the whole egg. Big sister had an egg allergy for the first 2 years of life. Thankfully with probiotics, clean diet, and vitamin D, and giving her non-pure egg sources we overcame that!

This weekend we are hanging out with Dustin’s family. Yesterday one of his cousins brought her girls over to swim and play with K, they had a blast. Today we are hosting another cousin and two of Dustin’s friends from high school and their families. There are three 3 y/o girls in the group that are all within a couple months of each other.. so that should be entertaining! 8 adults, 8 kids (3 babies under 5 months) and a pool party!

Last week’s menu left off on Monday for Week #2  so below you’ll find the plan for week #3 starting on Tuesday. If you did sign up for Sunbasket…feel free to use those meals in substitution for anything below. Or use this to inspire your meal plan this week even if you aren’t doing Whole30!

Tuesday August 15th: Slower Cooker Meatballs with either spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or any veggie noodle! We will probably go with spaghetti squash or carrots noodles (from Trader Joe’s in the freezer section!) just because our daughter isn’t into zucchini noodles for some reason, but we might try again because red sauce is her favorite!

Wednesday August 16th: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes tonight because we have our monthly meal with our house church (small group) from church. It’s typically pot-luck so we are going with potato bar and we will provide some of the items from the above recipe so Whole30 options are available.

Thursday August 17th:  Chunky Veggie Soup. Clean and simple recipe…could add chicken or fish for protein! Or just a big salad!

Friday August 18th: Tuna Zoodle Casserole this one is a favorite of mine. I have loved tuna since I was a kid. Tuna does need eaten in moderation due to the mercury content. I love getting the Safe Catch brand on Thrive market. If you haven’t tried this site, use the link to sign up and you get 25% off your first order.

Saturday August 19th: Lettuce Wrapped Burgers and Mango Salad with carrot ginger dressing. We have served this salad a lot this summer and EVERYONE loves it!  We have a good amount of meat in our freezer so we will probably grill some burgers to top the salad or eat on the side. Add some sweet potatoes or potatoes in the oven for carbs.

Sunday August 20th: Garbage Stir-Fry with Curried Cabbage Nom Nom Paleo’s blog is a great source of recipes. I love that she is also a pharmacist teaching people about real food!  This is a quick and easy dinner to make. Easy to make extra servings too for packing lunches for the week.

Monday August 21st: Slow Cook a Whole Chicken Throw a chicken in the crockpot or if you need a “fast food” option for the busy week stop by a local grocery store that has already cooked rotisserie chickens. Our Whole Foods has them daily with clean ingredients.  Add whatever veggies you would like to the slow cooker or grill them on the side.

If you would like to try out SunBasket for the following week.. August 21st.. great options for the week on that menu include: Salmon and cherry tomatoes with red chermoula and seared endive, Pork chops with kimchi chimichurri and sweet potato, and the Sicilian chicken breasts with salmoriglio sauce and baby broccoli.

Good luck with with sticking to clean eating this week!

Dr. Hartzler

*this post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. Thanks for supporting the blog, remember 10% goes to support various ministries! Check out My Favorite Things for more details.

1 Whole 30 Week #2

Hi Everyone-

I hope those that are doing the Whole30 program with me this month are doing well! So far so good here…my main issue this week was #1 forgetting my homemade salad dressing one day and #2 I haven’t been exactly making sure that the bacon I eat isn’t cured with sugar. We know bacon doesn’t have any after the cooking process for the most part but sometimes remains a bit sweet. I feel like for a busy working mom who was on the road this weekend, I succeeded!

My conference has been fun. I have enjoyed chatting with other practitioners and dietitians about functional medicine approaches to prediabetes and diabetes. I’ll be speaking at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting about this too with two other pharmacists. Blog posts on diabetes are coming soon!

Seriously if you have a family and haven’t stayed at a Residence’s Inn by Marriott…you are missing out. Full kitchen = better food choices and most of the time the same price or cheaper than area hotels. We packed leftovers, so I was able to eat a yummy butternut squash hash yesterday morning and today a sweet potato with some shredded pork. The one where we are staying at in Indianapolis is just down the street from the convention center and near this awesome cafe called Patachou where I got a whole30 compliant salad yesterday! I just got oil/vinegar instead of green goddess dressing. Another great Indy breakfast find was LePeep. The hash dishes are Whole30 if you say no cheese. If we were staying longer, I certainly would have just headed to the grocery store and cooked here!

We also visited some friends from college last night at their home just north of town. Their kiddos are just a bit younger than ours. They were so sweet and made a wonderful dinner with grilled chicken and farmer’s market veggies. It was delicious! I couldn’t get over how sweet the cherry tomatoes were. Goal this week is to try to find some Farmer’s Market veggies. I think the 2nd street market in Dayton is open on Sundays now, might have to check it out on our way home or find a local one here on our way out. Their little boy and Princess K played together well and even took a dip in the neighbor’s hot tub!

Whole 30 Week #2 Menu

Last week I left off after Monday’s dinner. So here is this week’s meal plan for your enjoyment! If you did cook a whole chicken on Sunday..leftovers are perfect for breakfast or lunch this week!

Tuesday August 8th: Sheet Pan Roast Chicken Dinner Tuesday’s are busy for us with me working the bulk of my clinic time between Monday and Tuesday so we need something simple and easy to do! You can pretty much roast any veggie and chicken thighs (and we like boneless ones for easier eating) this way and it’s amazing. Toddler approved too! I don’t often find parsnips so ours ends up being sweet potatoes and carrots.

Wednesday August 10th: Chive Pesto Shrimp (or chicken) with Zoodles We have lots of yummy chives growing in our garden along with zucchini. This dish is super light and tasty. Feel free to do any protein with it. Chicken, turkey, or pork, with or without the shrimp might have more staying power! Nutritional yeast will have to be used instead of parmesan or omitted.

Thursday August 11th: Salmon and Roasted Veggies. Cook this however you like, we have found grilling on a cedar plank is delicious. We often end up doing this recipe and broiling because it’s yummy and quick. Roast some potatoes, broccoli, or brussel sprouts; really any veggie you like for the side!

Friday August 12th: Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Salsa Chicken Tonight we will be at my in-laws and want to share this dish with them. We made it during the last week of July and loved it. Honestly I haven’t tried anything from this blog that I haven’t liked!

Saturday August 13th: Slow Cooker Al Pastor Loaded Taco Salad. We are having a Pool Party with Dustin’s cousin’s family as well as two of their good friends from high school. We are excited for all the kids to play together. We are getting shredded pork for salads for us and sandwiches for others. If you are at home this weekend, definitely try this recipe. So yummy and no need for the tortilla just put it over a baked potato, sweet potato, or salad!

Sunday August 14th: Lettuce Wrapped Hamburgers with Roasted Veggies (leave out the honey). Again I hope this is inspiration…you can roast whatever veggies you would like!

Monday August 15th: Slow Cooker Spicy Stuffed Cabbage Casserole  Again starting the week is often busy for us and I’m sure many of you, so find those go-to slow cooker recipes that you can even prep on Sunday night!

If you haven’t been using ghee on your Whole30 plan you are missing out. My favorite is this brown butter ghee. Other yummy options are over at Thrive Market. If you haven’t signed up check it out and you can get free coconut aminos with your first order! We have saved a lot of money on paleo pantry staples here.

I hope something here inspires your week of clean eating.  If you are interested in checking out SunBasket next week. For the week of August 14th, the Turkish lamb köfte with tahini sauce and smashed cucumber salad, Southeast Asian chicken salad with sesame-lime dressing, and Chinese five-spice steak stir-fry with cauliflower “rice” are all good options to put on your order and Whole30 compliant!

How is your Whole30 or cleaning eating going this week? What have been your go-to meals?