Tuna Pasta

4.9 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 15 mins Total Time 20 mins
Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 2 Calories: 458 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


This recipe is inspired by the pasta puttanesca, using familiar ingredients such as capers and olives. Instead of sitting over a pot of simmering tomato sauce, we use sun-dried tomatoes and pasta water for the sauce. Tuna pasta is a classic comfort food that is easy to make and satisfying to eat.


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  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the box instructions. It should be just al dente. Save 1 cup of pasta water before draining.

  3. Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, capers, garlic, and anchovies. Run your knife over the smaller pieces until you get them as fine as possible.  Toss the ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir in the oil until a paste forms.
    You can use a food processor to save yourself some work.

  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add sun-dried tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly darkened in color, 3 to 4 minutes.

  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low, then slowly whisk in reserved pasta water until a sauce forms. Flake the tuna into large chunks, then add to the sauce along with the oil from the can and the olives. Stir to combine.

  6. Add the pasta and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Top with the parsley and serve.


  • Use the right pasta. Any type of pasta will work for tuna pasta, but some types, such as spaghetti, fettuccine, or penne, are more traditional.
  • Use the right tuna. Canned tuna is the most common type of tuna used in tuna pasta. Choose tuna that is packed in oil for the best flavor and texture.
  • Add your favorite ingredients. Tuna pasta is a great dish to customize. Add your favorite vegetables, such as onions, peppers, or mushrooms. You can also add cheese, such as Parmesan or Mozzarella.
  • Don't overcook the pasta. Pasta that is overcooked will be mushy and will not absorb the sauce well.
  • Season the sauce to taste. Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste.
  • For a healthier option, use whole-wheat pasta or low-fat or fat-free tuna.
Keywords: pasta, tuna, sun-dried tomatoes

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is tuna pasta healthy?

Tuna pasta can be a healthy meal if you choose the right ingredients. Canned tuna is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. However, canned tuna can also be high in sodium, so it is important to choose a low-sodium option. Whole-wheat pasta is a healthier choice than white pasta, and adding vegetables to the dish will also make it healthier.

Can I make tuna pasta ahead of time?

Yes, you can make tuna pasta ahead of time. Cook the pasta and sauce according to the recipe, then let the pasta cool completely. Store the pasta and sauce separately in airtight containers in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, reheat the pasta and sauce and toss them together.

What are some other ingredients that I can add to tuna pasta?

  • Cheese: Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, or cheddar cheese.
  • Vegetables: Onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, celery, tomatoes, or spinach.
  • Herbs and spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, oregano, parsley, or basil.
  • Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds. 

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