Making Tuna Pasta, Canned tuna pasta may sound like a disaster, but it’s actually one of the most delicious pantry dinners you can make. Tender linguine, no-cook sauce with lots of zest and garlic, a spritz of lemon, and capers bring it all together.
For the best flavor, use high-quality canned tuna in oil, with a sprinkling of capers to add a tangy accent.
Prep the Tuna
This tuna pasta is the perfect weeknight meal: it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and can be prepared with ingredients you already have on hand. This recipe uses canned tuna, tomato and olives – a combination that’s quick and easy to prepare and packed with flavor. We recommend using tuna packed in oil (like this or this) rather than water-packed tuna as it adds extra flavor. If you can’t find oil-packed tuna, try adding a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the dish – this will up the flavor and also help keep the sauce moist.
Start by boiling 4 quarts of salted water and preparing the other ingredients while this is happening. Making Tuna Pasta, Adding salt to the cooking water is important to prevent the pasta from becoming overcooked.
While the pasta is boiling, finely dice 1/2 cup of red onion. Add this to a large bowl along with two drained cans of tuna, the diced tomatoes and the prepared dressing.
Toss well to evenly combine the ingredients, then set aside while the pasta finishes cooking. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain it, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water. This will add moisture to the pasta and help create a lighter sauce.
Making Tuna Pasta. Before tossing with the pasta, stir together the sauce again. You might want to taste the dish at this point and add more lemon juice, garlic powder or salt & pepper as needed. It’s important to use high quality ingredients here as the flavor of the dish will depend on it. Choosing tuna that is packed in oil will up the flavor and adds moisture to the pasta, while fresh parsley and grated Parmesan provide flavor and texture.
This tuna pasta can be made ahead of time and will keep for a few days in the fridge in an airtight container. However, this dish is best eaten on the same day it is prepared as the mayonnaise in the dressing will begin to separate as it sits.
With a little bit of planning, you can whip up a delicious dinner from the stuff in your pantry without having to go out and spend money. Making Tuna Pasta, Just pick out any long, slender pasta you like and pair it with a no-cook sauce of canned tuna (or anchovies, or capers) and garlic, with plenty of spark from lemon and fresh parsley.
This is a really satisfying dish, especially after a busy day. It’s the sort of meal you might have a big plate of while curled up on the couch with a book or watching your favorite TV show.
Heat a pot of salted water for the pasta while you prepare the other ingredients. When the pasta is close to being done, add the oil to a pan and saute the garlic for 30 seconds or so. Stir in the tuna, lemon juice and parsley and let it heat through.
At this point you can also add some of the pasta cooking water to the tuna mixture if it seems too dry, but don’t use all of it. The starch in the pasta cooking water will react with the oil and lemon juice to thicken the sauce, forming a nice coating for the pasta.
Gently toss the pasta with the tuna, capers and parsley, adding a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water if needed, until it’s well coated with the tuna sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
If you want to give the dish a bit of extra heft, try using a pasta variety with lots of nooks and crannies, such as fusilli, rotini or campanelle, instead of spaghetti. Making Tuna Pasta, This will help the pasta hold up to the rich, creamy tuna sauce and the savory capers and parsley.
This tuna pasta is seriously good — even for the biggest canned tuna cynics among us. It’s a quick, healthy, comforting dinner that comes together in about 15 minutes, start to finish. I think we all deserve that kind of meal once in a while.
Make the Sauce
With just a handful of pantry and staple ingredients, this tuna pasta recipe is almost effortless. A bit of elbow grease and you can have a simple, delicious dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. A good quality canned tuna, high-quality olive oil and a few other tasty add-ins are all it takes to turn ordinary spaghetti and canned tuna into a delicious meal.
For a lighter, fresher flavor in this easy tuna pasta recipe, I use whole peeled tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. It’s a little more effort, but it gives the pasta and the dish an extra burst of brightness and flavor. If you prefer a bolder, more intense taste, feel free to use tomato sauce or even crushed tomatoes.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Start by melting the butter in a skillet over low heat, then add the chopped onion and cook until softened. Stir in the flour and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until thickened. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
When the pasta is ready, drain and rinse it well. Toss it with the tuna pasta sauce and serve immediately. If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and they’ll last for up to 3-4 days.
This recipe is a variation on tuna macaroni salad, which has been around for decades. It is usually made with elbow macaroni and canned tuna in a creamy, mayonnaise based dressing. I like to use this salad as a light lunch, or a side dish at dinner time.
The addition of kalamata olives in this tuna pasta recipe gives it a more unique, savory flavor. You can also try adding capers for a bit of tangy brine. It’s a great way to get kids to eat fish without being too adventurous.
Finish the Dish
Think Nicoise salad meets tuna casserole, and you’ll have the idea for this easy pantry dinner. Canned tuna is tossed with olives, capers and parsley, then added to hot fusilli pasta along with shredded cheese, which melts into the warm tuna mixture for an even richer pasta dish. The recipe is quick, simple and incredibly tasty – plus it makes for an excellent meal to whip up in a pinch when you don’t have much of anything else at home.
To make this easy tuna pasta recipe, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the pasta is cooking, prep the other ingredients. When the pasta is close to al dente, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the tuna, lemon juice, zest and parsley. Cook the tuna and herbs together for a couple of minutes to warm everything up.
Drain the pasta, reserving a ladleful or two of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot and stir in the sauce, letting the pasta’s heat mix with the butter and reserved water to create a smooth, creamy sauce that clings to the noodles.
Making Tuna Pasta From Canned Tuna
Taste and season the pasta with salt and pepper, if needed. If the pasta seems too dry, add a little more of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve. This tuna pasta can also be eaten as-is, but it tastes best if the flavors have a chance to sit and marry for a few hours in the fridge.
This tuna pasta is a quick and delicious dinner for a busy weeknight. The light, flavorful sauce can easily be adapted by adding other ingredients to suit your family’s tastes. Add a handful of arugula for a subtle pop of green, or for a bolder spice flavor try mixing in red pepper flakes or chili oil. Gluten free pasta is an option for those with sensitivities, and substituting canned chicken or salmon for the tuna can work as well.