Make the most of store cupboard staples and whip up this tasty week night meal in under 15 minutes. This Tuna Pasta is easily adaptable to add extra vegetables and different flavours and you can make a kid friendly version too. Spaghetti tossed with lemon juice and olive oil for the sauce and loaded with tuna, peas, olives and plenty of herbs - this is one of our favourite tuna recipes.
We love a cupboard raid meal for something quick and easy when you just need dinner on the table quick. This tuna spaghetti ticks all the boxes, and it's easy to adapt too. Add in anything you have hanging around in the fridge that needs using up. Protein packed, comforting and full of flavour - this meal is a family favourite.
- Spaghetti - We used spaghetti as we find that the sauce clings really well to it. However, any pasta will work here so there is no need to buy anything special - just use what you have.
- Peas - This is an easy way to give a green vegetable boost, and they can also be cooked at the same time as the pasta making it a really easy addition.
- Tuna - The star of the recipe. You can use a can of tuna in water, brine or oil - whatever your preference is. Always go for high welfare sustainable tuna, and we like the ones with large chunks in the can.
- Olives - You can use your favourite here. Green, kalamata or black, or a mixture of them all. For extra flavour you could use stuffed olives like chilli or garlic stuffed.
- Tomatoes - Some sun-dried tomatoes add a lot of flavour. You could roast your own tomatoes if you prefer. Why not try our Roasted Cherry Tomatoes recipe?
- Oil - A generous amount of olive oil is used to create a sauce.
- Lemon - Some lemon juice adds to the sauce and adds a lovely freshness. For some extra lemon flavour, you could use zest too.
- Herbs/spices - We used fresh basil, as it is delicious in a pasta dish. But fresh chopped parsley goes well with tuna. We also added some red chilli flaked for some extra flavour.
- Pasta water - Adding starchy pasta water (just 100ml is enough) to a fat like olive oil will create an emulsion and this gives a really silky smooth sauce and helps it cling to the pasta. Make sure you scoop out the water just before draining, as this ensures that it is nice and starchy.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes. 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the peas.
Two: Drain and spaghetti and peas (reserving a little of the water) and put back in the pan with the rest of the ingredients (including reserved water) and stir well.
Why should you try it?
- Made with store cupboard ingredients - If you have a can of tuna and some pasta in your cupboard, then you can make a variation of this recipe.
- Protein packed - Tuna is a great source of protein, and it stores well without needing a fridge. You will be seeing more tuna recipes from us soon.
- Easy to adapt - Use this recipe as a base and then adapt it with the suggestions below.
- Kids love it - My kids love a variation of this. They love spaghetti, tuna and peas, so I make that for them and add the rest on for the grown-ups when serving.
Health benefits of tuna
Tuna is a great source of protein and is a store cupboard staple for us. Tuna is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and it may help to reduce the level of omega-6 fatty acids and LDL cholesterol. Studies have also shown that eating more omega-3 is linked with reduced rates of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks.
Tuna is also a good source of B vitamins, like niacin which is good for the skin and nervous system. Tuna also contains calcium, which good for healthy bones and vitamin D, which is good for the immune system and brain function.
Fish - As not everyone is a fan of tuna, so you could use canned (or fresh) salmon, or even some mackerel or crab. Not a fan of fish? Throw in some leftovers shredded chicken, tofu or beans, or just leave it as the peas and sun-dried tomatoes with pasta to keep it vegetarian. It's really easy to adapt. You could also add some white beans to it for more of a protein boost. Why not try our White Bean Pasta too?
Vegetables - This is a good opportunity to get some vegetables into the dish. You could chop up some onions and garlic and as they are cooking, you could also add some chopped bell pepper, mushrooms, courgette (zucchini), baby corn or anything else you have in your fridge that needs using up.
We just used peas for a bit of a green boost, but you could wilt in some spinach too. We love adding a generous amount of sun-dried tomatoes and olives, as they add so much flavour to a pasta dish.
Cheese - We wouldn't usually serve cheese with fish - although we have here. If you wanted to add cheese, then some shaved Parmesan or crumbled feta will work really well.
What to serve with Tuna Spaghetti
If you want to bulk this meal out a bit, then serve it with some garlic bread. Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Why not try our Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread?
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette. You could also try our Grilled Little Gem Salad, or Cucumber and Radish Salad.
This tuna spaghetti is best eaten fresh as the leftovers don't reheat very well. However, if you don't mind eating it cold then you could store any leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container until the next day.
If you use your favourite gluten free pasta and make sure that there is no cross contamination, then this is a delicious gluten free meal.
Because it's an easy way to make the sauce really silky smooth, with no extra effort.
Yes, you can swap olive oil and lemon for a tomato based sauce. Why not try our Easy Pasta Sauce recipe?
• You can swap the spaghetti for any other type of pasta.To make this even quicker, use some fresh tagliatelle which is ready in a few minutes.
• We topped ours with shaved Parmesan, however you could use cheddar, goats cheese or feta.
• This pasta dish is topped with fresh chopped basil, however you could use parsley, dill or chives.
• You can make this dish even creamier by swapping the pasta water for some cream or crème fraiche.
• A few capers stirred in to this add so much flavour.
• Use tuna in olive oil for the best flavour. Tuna in water doesn't tend to have as much flavour.
• Add some spice with a sprinkle of red chilli flakes before serving.
More seafood recipes
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog then let us know how you got on in the comments below, we love hearing from you!
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- 140 g Spaghetti
- 80 g frozen peas
- 110 g Tuna - canned; drained
- 2 tablespoon Fresh basil - finely chopped
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 20 Kalamata olives - halved
- 5 Sun-dried tomatoes - chopped
- 2 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Lemon - juice only
- 0.5 teaspoon Red chilli flakes - Optional to serve
- Add the pasta to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 12 minutes. 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the peas.
- Drain and spaghetti and peas and put back in the pan with the rest of the ingredients and stir well.
- You can swap the spaghetti for any other type of pasta.
- We topped ours with shredded Parmesan, however you could use cheddar, goats cheese or feta.
- This pasta dish is topped with fresh chopped basil, however you could use parsley, dill or chives.
- You can make this dish even creamier by swapping the pasta water for some cream or creme fraiche.
- A few capers stirred in to this add so much flavour.
- Use tuna in olive oil for the best flavour. Tuna in water doesn't tend to have as much flavour.
- Add some spice with a sprinkle of red chilli flakes before serving.