This easy Tuna Pasta is perfect for a delicious, nutritious meal that will satisfy your family without breaking the bank.

A plate of tuna paste with olives and tomato sauce

Are you looking for a quick and easy meal that is both budget-friendly and nutritious? Look no further than this delicious Tuna Pasta recipe! This simple dish requires only a few ingredients, which can be found in most pantries. The best part is, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!

The flavors in this delicious pasta dish are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. So if you’re looking for an affordable and tasty dinner option that can be on your table fast, give this Tuna Pasta recipe a try!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Using canned tuna keeps this recipe flavorful and is economical to make.
  • The garlic and onions add a great aroma and flavor to the dish.
  • The tomatoes provide a slight acidity that balances the sauce perfectly.
  • The parsley adds color and freshness.
  • Red Pepper Flakes add a spicy kick to the sauce.

Canned Tuna In Italian Food

Believe it or not, canned tuna is very common in Italian cuisine. It’s one of the easiest ways to make a seafood pasta dish. In Italy, it’s so popular that it’s one of the first things young cooks learn to make!

Ingredient Notes

canned tuna, garlic, onions, parsley, canned tomatoes, salt and pepper

Olive Oil – Don’t use extra virgin oil as it has a low smoke point and can burn easily. Instead, use light olive oil or vegetable oil to withstand cooking heat.

Parsley – Fresh is best for this recipe as it has a brighter flavour. Dried parsley doesn’t have much flavor, so we recommend using dried oregano if you want dried herbs.

Onion – Yellow or white onions are recommended for this recipe. It adds a great flavor and sweetness to the dish. You can also use red onion, but it will have a much sweeter flavor profile.

Tomatoes – Canned crushed or chopped tomatoes are great options, but you can also use passata if that’s all you have.

Olives – Black olives work well, but Kalamata olives also add subtle hints of fruity umami.

Garlic – Fresh garlic is always our recommendation, but you can also use garlic powder if that’s all you have.

Tuna – This recipe was developed using canned tuna, but you can also use fresh or cooked tuna if that’s what you have available.

Red Pepper Flakess – This is completely optional, but it adds a nice subtle warmth to the dish without being overpowering.

Salt – Salt is essential for seasoning this dish, but keep in mind that tuna can be salty, so use it in moderation and adjust the salt level before serving to taste.

How To Make Tuna Paste

For the pasta, start by boiling the water in a large pot with salt and cook it until just underdone. Then reserve some of the pasta water before draining.

cooking pasta in a pot of boiling water

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they’re transparent and softened. Then add the garlic and cook until it’s fragrant – this should only take about 30 seconds.

garlic and onions cooking in olive oil

Add the tomatoes and parsley to the pan with the onions and garlic.

the parsley added to the pan with the sauce.

Don’t Have Fresh Herbs? Dried herbs can be used in place of fresh. Dried Italian seasoning, basil, or oregano have the most flavor.

Season to taste with salt, and add pepper and red pepper flakes if you choose to use them.

The salt and pepper added to the sauce in the pan

Drain the tuna and add it to the sauce.

drained canned tuna added to the sauce in the pan

Stir in the olives, bring the sauce to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes while the pasta cooks.

The cooked sauce is ready to serve

Mix in the pasta, coat with the sauce, and cook until the pasta is done. Add the reserved pasta water to loosen it if necessary. Taste for seasoning before serving and add more salt as needed.

Pasta With Tuna and Olives served and ready to eat

Erren’s Top Tips

  • Be sure to salt your pasta water – This is the only time you’ll be able to season your pasta, so salt like you mean to avoid bland pasta.
  • When seasoning the sauce, salt in moderation, as tuna can be salty. Then taste to adjust salt levels before serving.
  • Be sure to stir your sauce occasionally as it cooks to avoid burning the bottom.
  • Don’t add oil to your pasta water – this will make the pasta slippery and cause the sauce to slide right off.
  • Taste your tuna – If it’s salty, wait until the end to season your sauce. Taste, and then season accordingly.
  • Dried herbs can be used in place of fresh ones. – Dried Italian seasoning, basil, or oregano has the most flavor.
  • This dish can also be made with other types of seafood. Shrimp, scallops, and calamari are all delicious options that go well with this recipe.

Storage & Freezing Instructions ❄

This Tuna Pasta dish is a great meal to make and store for later. It can be stored in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.

To Freeze: We recommend freezing the sauce and making the pasta fresh. Let the sauce cool completely before transferring it into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Then freeze for up to three months.

To Reheat: When ready to use, just thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat it on the stovetop or microwave until warm. You can also freeze individual portions to have easy meals throughout the week!

A plate of tuna paste with olives and tomato sauce

Let’s Make
Tuna Pasta

Quick, easy, and absolutely delicious, this recipe makes pasta in tomato sauce using canned tuna, olives and other pantry staples.

Prep10 minutes

Cook15 minutes

Total25 minutes

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Instructions

  • Start by boiling a large pot of salted water for the pasta when the water for the pasta comes to a boil. Cook until just underdone. Remove ¼ cup of the cooking water and set aside before draining.

  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat and add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant, and add the tomatoes.

  • Add the parsley and mix together.

  • Season to taste with salt and add pepper and the red pepper flakes if using.

  • Stir in the olives, and the tuna bring the sauce to a boil, cover, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes while the pasta cooks.

  • Add the pasta, coat with the sauce, and cook until the pasta is done adding the reserved pasta water to loosen if necessary. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed before serving.

Tips + Notes

  • Be sure to salt your pasta water – This is the only time you’ll be able to season your pasta, so salt like you mean to avoid bland pasta.
  • When seasoning the sauce, salt in moderation, as tuna can be salty. Then taste to adjust salt levels before serving.
  • Be sure to stir your sauce occasionally as it cooks to avoid burning the bottom.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 540 (27{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Carbohydrates: 93g (31{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Proteins: 16g (32{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Fats: 12g (18{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Saturated Fat: 2g (13{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Sodium: 418mg (18{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Potassium: 500mg (14{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Fibers: 6g (25{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Sugar: 7g (8{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Vitamin A: 425IU (9{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Vitamin C: 15mg (18{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Calcium: 77mg (8{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})| Iron: 3mg (17{ebea9d5847bd78db73673675e8a4786d1e11955363e2960615a0efdb904da7cb})

Nutritional Data Disclaimer

Erren’s Kitchen is written and produced for informational intentions only. We are not certified nutritionists, and the nutritional information found on this site has not been assessed or authorized by a nutritionist or the FDA. The nutritional information found in our recipes is offered as an estimate and should not be considered a guarantee or fact. The estimated data is provided as a courtesy and calculated through a third-party online nutritional calculator, spoonacular API. Although we do our best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered rough estimates. Many factors, such as brands or products purchased and the nutritional fluctuations that naturally occur in fresh produce, can alter the effectiveness of the nutritional information in any recipe. Furthermore, various online calculators provide different results depending on their particular algorithms and nutrition fact sources.
To obtain the most precise nutritional information in a provided recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the exact ingredients you are using when preparing the recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Update Notes: Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in 2020. It was updated with new content and photos in 2023.