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Adaptable One Pot Tuna Melt

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“This is a delicious, simple one-pot meal that is quite adaptable and forgiving. Also, it freezes and reheats nicely, so make a lot to use for lunches throughout the week.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 1 tablespoon oil (EVOO, veg oil, butter, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (or use scallions or shallots, whatever onion-y thing you have on hand will work fine)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced (more or less to tast, can be omitted completely)
  • 2 celery ribs, diced (I also use the smaller, paler celery hearts and leave, they have great flavor)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups milk (microwaved or warmed so it's at least room temp)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or other cheese of your choice)
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tuna in water, drained
  • 2 lbs frozen mixed vegetables
  • salt and pepper


  1. Prepare all of the vegetables.
  2. In a large pot (likely the largest you own--at least 4 quarts, if not larger), heat 1 tbsp of oil on medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and season with a dash of salt and pepper and cook approx 3 minutes until onion softens. Add celery, carrot, and garlic (seasoning again with a dash of salt and pepper) and cook for another 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn the garlic, or it will turn bitter.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium. Move the vegetables to one side of the pan. In the empty side add 2 tbsp butter. Melt the butter. As soon as it melts, sprinkle 2 tbsp flour over the butter. Using a wooden spoon, mix the butter and flour: it will seem to form a paste. Cook for about 3 - 5 minutes (it will be bubbly), stirring occasionally. What you have just done is created a roux, a thickening agent.
  5. Turn the heat up to med-high. Slowly add milk to the roux, stirring to incorporate. If you have a whisk, try using a whisk. A wooden spoon will also work fine. It's ok if stray veggies are in the roux, or of part of the roux is in the veggie pile. Just try to keep the majority of it separate. At some point, you'll just have to mix the whole thing together because it will be impossible to keep them apart any longer. Once all the milk is incorporated, bring the mixture to a boil. Turn down temperature to medium-low.
  6. Add cheese and tuna. Stir to incorporate. Add mixed veggies. Let pot sit so everything gets warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Serve with toast, rice, pasta, or a baked potato.
  8. This also freezes nicely and is something I frequently take as a lunch.
  9. You can adapt this recipe by substituting ingredients.
  10. -You can change up the veggies and instead of the mixed frozen veggies you can add broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.
  11. -You can add green peppers when you add carrots and celery. You could omit the celery and carrots altogether.
  12. -You can use other cooked meats (e.g. poultry, shrimp, imitation crab/lobster, etc.) instead of canned tuna.

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