Independent Runner and Tuna Shepherd’s Pie

by Joanne on February 2, 2011

I came across a quote the other day (thank you Runners World) by Haruki Murakami.  Haruki is an author who wrote “What I talk about when I talk about Running”.   The memoir is about his interest and participation in long distance running.  He ran marathons and ultra marathons.  The quote became personal for me because I believe I am also independent and an individualistic person, as Haruki describes himself.    How would you describe your self?  Do others describe you the same way?

I have always liked running, so it wasn’t particularly difficult to make it a habit.  All you need is a pair of running shoes and you can do it anywhere.  It does not require anybody to do it with, and so I found the sport perfectly fits me as a person who tends to be independent and individualistic.

By Geoff Dyer:   Murakami began running seriously when he was 33, in 1982. In recent years he has covered an average of six miles a day, six days a week and has competed in more than 20 marathons. In 1996 he completed an ultra marathon of 62 miles. Lately he’s developed a fondness for triathlons, and although he’s fighting a losing battle these days against his own previous (that is, younger) race times, he has no intention of quitting. To give up running would be like giving up writing, which would be like giving up living. When he crosses the ultimate finish line his gravestone will, he hopes, read:

Haruki Murakami
Writer (and Runner)
At Least He Never Walked

A Tuna Casserole by any other name.  The other name?  Tuna Shepherd’s Pie

I told Ted what went into this dish which was some canned tuna, two potatoes that needed using up as well as week old celery.  Ted’s response:   “Honey you did it again! You made dinner out of cardboard, shoe leather, and an old sock!”  I’m not sure if that was suppose to be a complement or not but I liked the dish and, considering Ted had two servings, I think he did as well.


Based on a recipe by Chef Peter Robson from Mesa College in San Diego “Pink Salmon Shepherd’s Pie”.  I didn’t have the salmon but I did have some tuna.  This is how it went.


Serves 4

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1/3 cup diced carrots
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 18 oz canned tuna, drained *Best if you buy the large pouches – less water and more tuna for your money.
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cooked Yukon Gold Potato – peeled and mashed
  • 1 cooked Sweet Potato – peeled and mashed
  • 2 TBS lite cream (or half and half or milk)
  • 1 TBS Smart Balance or healthy oleo substitute
  • paprika (optional)

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and when hot, add the carrots. Allow to cook 1 minute.  Add the celery and cook 1 minutes.  Add the onions and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes.  Deglaze with the vegetable broth and reduce by half, about 8 minutes. Don’t let it get too dry – more wet is better.

Flake the tuna in a casserole dish. Mix in the above cooked vegetables and stir until incorporated.  Top with cheese.

Whip the potatoes together with the cream (or milk) and healthy oleo, spread potato mixture on top of the cheese/tuna.  Sprinkle with paprika if using.

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until light brown.


I just love one dish meals. Nothing beats a casserole. They always seem to turn out so full of flavor. So good!


Do you have a favorite casserole recipe?

*Second Super Bowl Recipe later. Sorry – messed that one up 🙂

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  • At 2011.02.02 11:27, Heather said:

    Ha! This post is perfect! I JUST made a sweet potato shepard’s pie for dinner last night. It was fantastic – Jay couldn’t stop raving about it. 🙂

    • At 2011.02.02 11:36, Kristen said:

      That is a brilliant variation on tuna casserole. I love the idea of potatoes on top.

      • At 2011.02.02 14:15, Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox said:

        Poor Ted! I’m sure he saw the compliment in it. After all, he Macgyver’ed up a dinner good enough for two helpings.
        I love the breakfast casserole my momma used to make. Egg and cheese and biscuit dough. Mmm. Never as good when I try.

        • At 2011.02.02 17:44, J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said:

          I haven’t made too many casseroles in my time, but I was actually thinking about a tuna-type casserole just yesterday! This looks delish.:)

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