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This canned tuna pasta recipe is quick, healthy, and comforting. It’s the perfect recipe when you don’t have a lot in your pantry!
Why you’ll love it
This tuna garlic pasta recipe takes me back to my childhood. My mom used to make something similar when I was a kid, and I just loved it. I’ve even made this with just tuna, garlic, and olive oil when I’m in a rush and I really have nothing in the fridge.
I never put this recipe on the blog because I wasn’t sure people would like it even though I know it tastes great. I did a little research, and there definitely is demand for canned tuna pasta, so I figured I’d do it! If you’re busy with after school activities, this tuna spaghetti recipe is one way to save some time and keep your sanity.
What you’ll need
- Pasta – I use spaghetti
- Olive oil – for the base of the sauce
- Garlic – use even more than suggested if you’re a big fan. I like using a garlic press to easily mince the cloves.
- Tuna – the star of this inexpensive pasta recipe! I recommend using a can of tuna packed in oil for maximum flavor.
- Lemon juice – for a pop of acidity and brightness
- Parsley – a little freshness and herb flavor
- Check out the comments section below for reader suggestions to change up this simple tuna pasta!
How to make tuna pasta
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, prep the other ingredients. When the pasta is almost done, heat up the oil in a saucepan. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tuna, lemon juice, and chopped parsley.
Let it heat through. Once the pasta is done, drain it, reserving some of the pasta water. Add a couple of tablespoons of it to the sauce. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, and season with salt & pepper as needed.
Substitutions and variations
- This healthy tuna pasta recipe can be jazzed up or even made more simple than it already is. For the photos I added some grated parmesan cheese and a little lemon zest (I used the same handy tool to do both so it took me like 30 seconds), but in real life I don’t usually bother.
- I like to add a handful of fresh spinach and let it wilt at the end. Sometimes I cut a handful of little tomatoes (grape, cherry, etc.) into halves and then toss them in and cook until they’ve softened.
- My mom would sometimes chop up celery leaves instead of using parsley, but I never have those on hand, so parsley it is!
Leftovers and storage
- This tuna pasta is best eaten fresh, but it’ll keep for a few days in the fridge in a covered container.
- Reheat leftovers in a saucepan over a low heat until warmed through.
- I don’t recommend freezing the sauce. Because it’s a small quantity and so simple, it’s worth making fresh each time.
Will you give this easy canned tuna pasta a go? What’s your favorite clean-out-the-pantry recipe? Questions? Talk to me in the comments below! You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Canned Tuna Pasta
- 4 ounces uncooked pasta (I used spaghetti)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 (5 ounce) can tuna, drained I prefer tuna packed in oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions. Prep your other ingredients while it cooks.
- When the pasta is close to being ready, add the oil to a small pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook it for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the tuna, lemon juice, and parsley. Let it heat through.
- Once the pasta is done, add some of the pasta water (a couple tablespoons) to the sauce and then drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Season with salt & pepper as needed. Optional: serve pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese and lemon zest.
- See blog post for some ideas on recipe variations!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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