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Recipe: Tuna Wiggle Casserole

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Try out this delicious, easy to make camping recipe for my version of the classic tuna wiggle casserole. It works great with tuna or salmon. Way back when I was a Girl Guide, I learned a recipe for making tuna wiggle from leaders of the 2nd Cowichan Girl Guides on Vancouver Island. I have no idea what the original recipe was but because I have been making it on a fairly regular basis at least some of the ingredients in this evolved version must be true to the original; the tuna, onions and peas; probably the dill; and maybe the cream cheese.IMG_0108

If you remember Surprise Peas, the kind that you could buy in a box, they were the center piece of tuna wiggle because they tasted just like fresh when re-hydrated. For at least a decade now, I haven’t been able to find Surprise Peas but luckily I discovered that you can dehydrate fresh or frozen peas that taste pretty much the same. Of all dehydrated veggies, peas for some reason surpass many for their like-fresh flavour.

Our creative (and fearless) guide leaders nurtured a passion for backpacking, camping and camp cookery that will last me a lifetime. Thank you, where ever you are!!  I don’t know who invented tuna wiggle but I suspect it was passed down through many and it has probably been passed onto many others since.

You can whip up Tuna Wiggle by cooking on top of the fire or take your time wood fire baking in the Dutch oven.



Tuna Wiggle Casserole: an Adaption of a Long Forgotten Recipe

An Adaptation of 2nd Cowichan Girl Guides Recipe for Tuna Wiggle
An adaptation of 2nd Cowichan Girl Guides recipe for Tuna Wiggle

1/4 to 1/2 medium onion (fresh or dehydrated)

10-20 g sun dried tomato finely diced

10 g dried mushrooms

10 g dehydrated olives or 1 Tbsp capers

2 or more cloves of garlic thinly sliced

1/4 cup or more dehydrated peas

125 g cream cheese

20 g Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese finely grated

1 foil package (ideal for packing) or small can of tuna (or better yet some of the leftover salmon that you just caught)

1 Tbsp dill

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup or more of water

400 g pasta

Makes 2 servings suitable for moderate eaters

Prepare Pasta

Cook pasta per instructions while making sauce. Drain pasta. If sauce is not ready, set aside with lid on the pot.

Prepare sauce

1. Fry onion and garlic in vegetable oil in small pot or frying pan

2. Add re-hydrated sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and peas.

3. Add olives or capers

4. Add water and heat to bubbling

5. Add cream cheese and stir until melted, adding 1/2 cup or more of water, as necessary to get sauce to desired thickness

6. Add finely grated cheese, dill, salt, pepper. Save some cheese for topping if you’re baking in the Dutch Oven

Toss it All Together

Mix tuna and sauce with pasta, warming over the fire as needed for fire top cooking or add reserved cheese and bake for 20 minutes it in the Dutch oven.

Backcountry Tip: Whether hiking or paddling, I always try to have some fresh onion and garlic on hand, even if its only a little bit per recipe. Depending on the length of the trip, sometimes I mix some fresh (for a flavour boost) with dehydrated.

Stay Posted for Lots More to Come

If you have an interest in food preparation for long trips and camp cookery, stay posted. I have lots of great discoveries in mind that I’m keen to share with other cooks, wanna-be cooks and reluctant cooks alike.