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Canned Tuna Pasta Recipe – Ready in 15 mins!

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Our Canned Tuna Pasta recipe is made entirely from store cupboard ingredients and ready to eat in just 15 minutes! A quick and easy dinner recipe that’s perfect for an easy weeknight meal.

Our canned tuna pasta recipe is a great go-to family meal and because all the ingredients come straight from the store cupboard, so it makes a great stand by dinner.

And… guess what? It’s ready to eat in JUST 15 MINUTES and when you’re cooking for kids sometimes 15 minutes is literally all you have to snatch dinner in-between all the after school activities and sports clubs.

Tuna bolognese is a low fuss, really tasty pasta dish is not only quick and easy to make but kids just LOVE it.

pasta with tuna served in white bowls

My kids seem to really enjoy healthy canned tuna recipes so there’s always a couple of cans of tuna in the cupboard on standby.

Canned Tuna Pasta Ingredients

tuna pasta bolognese ingredients - penne pasta, canned tuna, canned anchovies, canned tomatoes, black olives, capers, dried oregano, dried basil, dried garlic powder
  • 50g tin of anchovies in olive oil – or just use a few fillets from a jar of anchovies and add a tbs of olive oil to the pan
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes – choose good quality tinned tomatoes so there’s more chunky tomatoes and less watery juice.
  • 120g can of tuna – I buy the easy to drain tins, I just find the tuna less soggy.
  • 100g sliced black olives – just pitted olives from a jar sliced up or chopped is fine.
  • 2 tbs capers – optional – if the kids don’t like them – leave them out
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder – you can use fresh garlic finely grated using a box grater if you prefer, I use powder just for speed.
  • 1 tsp dried oregano – feel free to use Italian seasoning if you prefer.
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 300g dried penne or fusilli pasta – the shorter pasta shapes just work better in this recipe although you can serve it with spaghetti or linguine if you like that better.
  • Optional –pinch of chilli flakes (red pepper flakes) – if you want to make chilli tuna pasta then sprinkle these on as you serve.

How to make tuna pasta

It’s super simple to make our easy tuna bolognese recipe.

  • First up – put the pasta on to cook in salted water as per the packet instructions. Then whilst it cooks, throw together the canned tuna pasta sauce.
black le creuset pan filled with bubbling boiling water and penne pasta
  • To make the tuna pasta sauce add the olive oil from the anchovy can to a large skillet style pan. (if you’re using anchovy fillets from a jar then add a good splash of olive oil to the pan)
  • Cook the anchovy fillets in the olive oil over a medium heat, pressing them with a wooden spoon so that they quickly cook down into the oil.
anchovies being fried in olive oil in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Add the canned tomatoes to the pan
olive oil, anchovy fillets and canned tomatoes in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Tip in the canned tuna fish and break up the pieces using a wooden spoon.
olive oil, anchovy fillets, canned tomatoes and canned tuna in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Add in the sliced black olives
olive oil, anchovy fillets, canned tuna, canned tomatoes, sliced black olives in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Tip in the capers if you’re adding them. I think they add a nice piquancy to the sauce – but for children they’re an acquired taste.
olive oil, anchovy fillets, canned tomatoes, canned tuna, sliced black olives and capers in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Tip in the garlic, oregano and basil. You can use fresh if you prefer.
garlic powder, dried basil and dried oregano on a blue saucer being tipped into a pan of tuna pasta bolognese
  • Once all your ingredients have been tipped into the pan – simply stir.
tuna pasta bolognese being cooked in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Stir gently to combine all the canned tuna pasta ingredients together. Then cook over a medium heat with the lid off whilst your pasta finishes cooking.
tuna bolognese being cooked in a le creuset skillet pan
  • The sauce should reduce down a little as you cook and look like this panful of delicious tomato and tuna pasta sauce here! Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
tuna pasta sauce being stirred with a wooden spoon in a le creuset skillet pan
  • Drain the pasta and put it back into the saucepan. Then tip in the tuna bolognese sauce.
tomato tuna pasta being tipped into a pan of cooked penne
  • Mix everything together to coat all the pasta in the sauce.
tuna and pasta mixed into a panful of cooked penne
  • Then divide between the four bowls and serve with a little drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of basil or black pepper.
canned tuna pasta  drizzled with olive oil and topped with torn basil leaves served in bowls

Make our tuna pasta your way

  • Add a pinch of chilli flakes and make spicy tuna pasta, or sprinkle over some freshly chopped chillies for a chilli tuna pasta dish, or even a few chopped jalapeños from a jar.
  • You can turn this into tuna spaghetti – just switch the penne for spaghetti or linguine, whichever you prefer.
  • Serve over baby new potatoes as a patatas bravas style sauce – this is a great way to make the meal gluten free.
  • Eat as a tuna stew and mop up the juices with toasted ciabatta rubbed with a clove of garlic and topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

You might also just LOVE our easy sardine pasta recipe

What to serve with tuna pasta

pasta with tuna served in white bowls. Tuna pasta is scattered with torn basil and drizzled with olive oil

When I’m doing the kids tuna pasta I tend to serve with a fresh green salad, butter drenched corn cobs or even a side of garlic bread which is always popular.

Love to eat Italian food? Try out more of our easy Italian recipes here

How do you keep tuna pasta moist?

Our tun pasta uses canned tomatoes and plenty of olive oil from the canned anchovies so the pasta stays lovely and moist.

Do you eat tuna pasta hot or cold?

Well our canned tuna pasta recipe is totally delicious eaten hot and leftovers that have been store properly in the fridge taste great cold next day.

I often use up leftover tuna pasta in lunchboxes as it does taste really good cold.

Get loads more delicious easy pasta dishes here

Can you freeze tuna pasta?

I don’t tend to freeze my tuna pasta mainly because it’s usually all eaten the day I make it or as tuna pasta salad the day.

But, if you do have leftovers you can actually freeze cooked pasta – get the instructions here.

Get more simple canned tuna recipes here

tuna pasta bolognese served in white bowls

Canned Tuna Pasta

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

15 minute pasta recipe that's perfect for midweek dinner


  • 50g tin of anchovies in olive oil
  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes 
  • 120g can of tuna
  • 100g sliced black olives 
  • 1 tbs capers (optional) 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 300g dried pasta (penne or fusilli) 


  1. Put the pasta on to cook as per the packet instructions. Whilst the pasta cooks - make the tuna bolognese sauce
  2. Add the olive oil from the tinned anchovies into a large skillet pan along with the anchovy fillets - cook them in the oil for a couple of minutes - use a wooden spoon to press them down so they cook into the oil quicker.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tuna, olives, capers, dried garlic, oregano and basil, mix everything together and then cook over a medium heat until it's heated through properly. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and return to the pan - tip in the tuna bolognese sauce and mix everything together.
  5. Divide into the bowls and serve straight away.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 263Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 812mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 16g

Nutritional content will vary depending on the exact ingredients you use and how careful you are with measuring - this nutritional information is given as a general guide only and may not be accurate - you should always calculate your own nutritional information especially if you have specific dietary requirements.

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tuna pasta served in bowls scattered with freshly torn basil. Text overlay "super easy canned tuna pasta"

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