This darn tasty tuna pasta with peas comes together in 20 minutes. And it's a family favorite for a reason!
You'll love the bold flavors thanks to simple ingredients like garlic, bell peppers, parsley, lemon zest, and a big sprinkle of Parmesan.
This canned tuna pasta is not a fancy dinner by any means. But it is a tasty and comforting dish that is far greater than the sum of it's parts.
Canned tuna. Spaghetti pasta. And frozen peas. Add in simple flavor makers like garlic, parsley, and a sprinkle of Parmesan and you've got yourself one delicious pasta party!
To some, this looks like a tuna pasta salad. Sure, you can treat it that way, but I like to serve it warm for lunch or a light dinner.
Let's walk through what you'll need to make this recipe.
Pantry and freezer staples absolutely shine in this spaghetti tuna recipe. Here are the ingredients:
- Pasta- I like spaghetti but any pasta you have on hand will do. And if you are following a stricter Mediterranean diet, use whole grain pasta.
- Tuna- 2 5-oz cans of tuna. If you use quality canned tuna that's packed in extra virgin olive oil, you do not have to drain the tuna. (Tip: give it a little taste before using the oil in this recipe).
- Frozen Peas- about 1 ½ cups of frozen peas for a pop of green and a little sweetness. You do not need to thaw the peas in advance.
- Red Bell Pepper- if you don't have red bell pepper, you can use yellow or orange bell pepper which are also sweet and will add crunch.
- Aromatics and Spices- the flavor makers here include fresh minced garlic, fresh parsley, dry oregano, and
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- as there is no sauce involved here, this pasta dish depends on good extra virgin olive oil to bring it all together. I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon zest & juice- lemon zest and just a small splash of lemon juice to help the tuna and adds
- Other flavor makers- kalamata olives and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to your liking. If you enjoy a little heat, add sliced jalapeno peppers.
My biggest tip: get the pasta water boiling and go prep the rest of the ingredients. You'll have this canned tuna pasta on the table in 20 minutes!
How to Make Tuna Pasta
Step 1: Cook the pasta and peasCook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water (about 3 quarts of water and 1 tbsp of kosher salt) until the pasta is cooked to al dante (most spaghetti will cook in anywhere between 9 and 12 minutes).
After 5 minutes of cooking, drop the frozen peas to cook with the past the rest of the way. When ready, carefully take about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside in case you need it later. Drain the pasta and peas in a colander.
Step 2: Cook bell peppers and garlic
In a large and deep pan, cook bell peppers in a bit of extra virgin olive oil until somewhat tender then add garlic and cook until nice and fragrant.
Step 3: Put everything together
Now just bring this spaghetti tuna party together. Add the cooked pasta and peas. Add in the canned tuna then add all the flavor makers (lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, oregano, black pepper, olives, jalapeno if using, and a big sprinkle of Parmesan).
Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and toss everything together and some of the pasta cooking water. Give everything a toss to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Sprinkle a bit more Parmesan cheese if you like. Transfer to serving bowls.
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This darn delicious tuna pasta with peas comes together in 20 minutes. You'll love the bold flavors thanks to simple ingredients like garlic, bell peppers, parsley, lemon zest, and a big sprinkle of Parmesan.
- ¾ lb spaghetti or pasta of your choice
- Kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
- 1 ½ cups frozen peas
- Extra virgin olive oil (I use this Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into thin strips
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 5-oz cans tuna, drained
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Handful chopped fresh parsley (about 1 ounce)
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Black pepper, to your liking
- 6 to 8 pitted kalmata olives, sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper (optional), sliced
- Grated Parmesan cheese, to your liking
- Bring 3 quart of water to a rolling boil and add 1 tbsp of kosher salt. Cook the pasta in the boiling water to al dante according to package (most spaghetti will cook in 9 to 12 minutes or so). After the pasta has been cooking for 5 minutes or so, add the frozen peas to cook with the pasta for the remainder of the time. When pasta is ready, take ¾ cup of the cooking water and set it aside. Drain pasta and peas in a colander.
- In a large deep cooking pan, heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium-high till shimmering but not smoking. Add red peppers and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing regularly. Add garlic and cook, tossing frequently, for 30 to 45 seconds or so until fragrant.
- Now, add the cooked pasta and peas to the pan and toss to combine. Add tuna, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, oregano, black pepper, kalamata olives, jalapeno if using, and a big sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and some of the pasta cooking water. Give everything a toss. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add more Paremsan if you like.
- Transfer tuna pasta to serving bowls. Enjoy!
- Time Saving Tip: Get the pasta water boiling and begin to prep the rest of the ingredients while the pasta cooks.
- Cook's Tip: Most spaghetti pasta will take anywhere from 9 to 12 minutes to cook in boiling water. After 5 minutes of cooking, that's when you'll add the frozen peas which will cook together with the spaghetti for the rest of the time. You do not need to thaw the frozen peas before using in this recipe.
- Cook's Tip: If you're using quality canned tuna that's packed in good extra virgin olive oil, you do not need to drain the tuna. The olive oil from the can will be highly flavored and will enhance this pasta dish.
- For Mediterranean Diet friendly: use whole grain pasta
- Visit Our Online Shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including our Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil.
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian/Mediterranean
Keywords: Tuna Pasta, Spaghetti Tuna, Tuna and Pasta