Easy Tuna Pesto Pasta Recipe

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This Easy Tuna Pesto Pasta is so simple, yet so flavorful and is a quick meal for busy weeknights! Using only 5 ingredients, this tuna pasta dish is on the table in less than 20 minutes!

Tuna pesto pasta in a pasta dish with a dish of pesto, plates and forks

Tuna gets a bad rap, ya’ll!! I feel like it’s “retro” or as my kids would say “boomer!” Being a child of the 80’s I had a tuna fish sandwich (on white bread, heavy on the relish) at least 5 times a week!

Somehow I turned out OK! I love taking “retro” ingredients and elevating them just a bit to create new dishes!

Think tuna is retro??! You haven’t tried my easy One Pot Tuna Mac and Cheese!

This tuna pesto pasta recipe is a little bit “boomer,” a little bit modern and 100% DELISH!!!!

This dish can be enjoyed warm OR as more of a tuna pesto pasta salad and served chilled. I love it both ways–it’s super fresh tasting and it all comes together in ONE glorious pot so there is very little clean up!

Let’s hear it for the boomers!!

Need another quick and easy weeknight meal that’s a little less “boomer??” Try my Panko and Parmesan Crusted Cod with Cherry Tomatoes!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

  • It comes together super quickly — about 20 minutes!
  • It can be enjoyed hot or cold!
  • Leftovers are perfect for lunch OR it makes a great meal prep!
  • It’s a one pot meal meaning easy clean up!!

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need the following ingredients to make this delicious Pesto Tuna Pasta:

Ingredients needed to make this tuna pasta

INGREDIENT NOTES

Tuna: I like using the tuna packed in olive oil for the flavor, but tuna packed in water is just fine, too! I always look for “Solid White” tuna—it seems to be the freshest tasting!

Pasta: I used the fun shape, Campanelle here but ANY pasta shape works! Bow ties, rotini, penne, spaghetti–anything goes!

Pesto: Store bought pesto sauce makes this dish come together in no time, but I HIGHLY recco you make my homemade pesto: Basil Arugula Pesto–it just takes 5 minutes and the difference is out of this world! It all comes together in the food processor with minimal chopping, too! #winning

HOW TO MAKE TUNA PESTO PASTA: STEP BY STEP

Here are some quick visual instructions. Remember that full instructions with exact ingredients will be in the recipe card below!

How to make tuna pesto pasta step by step

Step 1: Boil up your pasta in a large pot. When pasta is done, drain reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Step 2: Then return pasta to the pot, on low heat. Add in the pesto with a little pasta water and stir until pasta is well coated.

Step 3: Add in cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and tuna.

Step 4: Toss gently to combine everything. Warm until everything is just heated through. Serve immediately.

RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

  • When adding the pasta water, start with a few tablespoons at a time, stir, then add a little more as needed. You don’t want to add tooooo much-it will water down the pesto.
  • Topping off this pasta with a squeeze of lemon juice, some fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkle of parm takes it over the top!
  • This dish works great as a meal prep! Make it on Sunday and store portions in airtight meal prep containers and enjoy it all week long!

STORAGE AND REHEATING

  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge (I LOVE these bowls and these containers). Leftovers will last 3-4 days.
  • Reheating: When you are ready to eat, you can either heat it up in the microwave for about a minute OR enjoy it cold like a tuna pesto pasta salad (that’s my preferred way to enjoy leftovers!)

ADDITIONS AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Here are some great options if you want to switch it up or add things!

Additions: Cannellini Beans, small pieces of buffalo mozzarella, grilled veggies (bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc.), kalamata olives

Substitutions: You can swap out the tuna with grilled chicken, salmon or veggies!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How many calories are in tuna pesto pasta?

One serving of this pesto pasta is around 420 calories. The recipe serves 6.

Can you make this tuna pesto pasta vegetarian?

Yes!! Omit the tuna and add grilled veggies!! Yummm!!!

What pasta is best for this pesto dish?

Pasta that has holes, ridges or nooks and crannies for the pesto to cling onto work best! Campanelle, Fusilli (corkscrew) and orecchiette (“ears”) work best. But honestly, you can’t really go wrong!

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Close up of the tuna pasta dish.

OTHER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

I hope you love this Easy Tuna Pesto Pasta! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Easy Tuna Pesto Pasta Recipe

This easy Tuna Pesto Pasta simple, yet so flavorful and it makes a perfect weeknight meal! Using only 5 ingredients, this tuna pasta dish is on the table in less than 20 minutes!
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6
Calories 421 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. pasta (your favorite, See Note 1)
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts packed in water
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 5 oz. cans of tuna (See Note 2)
  • 3/4 cup prepared pesto (store bought or homemade) Make your own fresh pesto: Basil Arugula Pesto
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
  • lemon juice, parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions.
  • When pasta is done, drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking liquid.
  • Return pot to stove with cooked pasta and over LOW heat, stir in pesto and reserved pasta water. Add in pasta water a few tablespoons at a time, stir and check the consistency. You don't want it too watery, you just want enough water to help incorporate the pesto. Usually about 1/4 cup does the trick.
  • Gently fold in tomatoes, tuna and artichoke hearts, stirring carefully to combine. Heat over low heat for a minute or so, just until everything is warmed through. Serve immediately with a good squeeze of lemon, Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper, if you like!

Notes

Note 1: Pasta that has holes, ridges or nooks and crannies for the pesto to cling onto work best!Campanelle, Fusilli (corkscrew) and orecchiette (“ears”) work best. But honestly, you can’t really go wrong!
Note 2: I like using the tuna packed in olive oil for the flavor, but tuna packed in water is just fine, too! I always look for “Solid White” tuna—it seems to be the freshest tasting!
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Nutrition

Calories: 421kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 24gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 428mgPotassium: 364mgFiber: 1.4gSugar: 2gCalcium: 166mgIron: 4mg
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5 from 18 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love tuna AND pesto, so this sounds like a perfect recipe! I’ve also never cooked with campanelle pasta before but it looks like such a fun shape. Can’t wait to try this out, thanks for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    This tuna pesto pasta recipe is delicious, not to mention, easy and budget friendly. It’s going into my regular weeknight rotation. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    This was such a light and delicious pasta, perfectly balanced and super satisfying! I made it for lunch today and am using it for meal prep for the next few days too!

  4. 5 stars
    This was incredible ……Will make this over and over…Thank you for this diclinous dinner idea.

  5. 5 stars
    I love pesto in a pasta salad and pairing it with tuna is just perfect. Thanks for a wonderful recipe with so much detail and such lovely appetizing photos.