Easy Canned Tuna Pasta (15-minute Pantry Recipe)

Canned tuna pasta, a super easy recipe

Are you in lockdown as we are here in the UK? It’s Day 1 for us. Or perhaps, you get to the shops and can’t actually find any fresh items? Stick with me, as we explore the possibilities and recipes using dried and canned items, as well as what you might usually have lying around at home.

Over on my Facebook profile, I’m running a daily Lockdown series. These will range from easy to not so easy recipes. I started it today with a challenge – the Italian focaccia! Follow me on Facebook to join in the fun.

Today’s Canned Tuna Pasta Recipe

It is so easy, you’ll be bulk buying those cans of tuna! Now remember, no panic buying!

All we do is:

  1. Put the pasta on.
  2. Chop and slice the few ingredients.
  3. Six minutes in, we start by frying the garlic, chilli flakes (or fresh chilli), tomatoes, optional anchovies.
  4. Add tuna and some greens.
  5. Finally, the cooked pasta goes in and you’re done! #tooeasy
take it up a notch with some breadcrumb gremolata

Want to take it up a notch?

If you want something fancier, make some breadcrumb gremolata and top your cooked canned tuna pasta with it. This only entails:

  1. Making some breadcrumbs (2-minute job in a chopper).
  2. Toasting breadcrumbs in a pan (5-minute job).
  3. Chopping some parsley and garlic and adding to your cooled breadcrumbs. Ta-da!

The breadcrumb gremolata wants to be made first, if you are going down this route, so your pasta doesn’t sit around waiting.

What tuna to use?

Tuna in oil will have the deepest flavour. However, if you are watching your weight, go ahead and use tuna in brine, no need to rinse it or anything.

Anchovies in our Canned Tuna Pasta

I LOVE anchovies, in any shape or form. And they add a wonderful depth of flavour here with all that umami groove. However, if you don’t have them or don’t like them, leave them out, you’ll still have a delicious pasta dish.

Incidentally, the Asian dried anchovies (ikan bilis – read more here) are used in exactly the same way in Nasi Goreng (fried rice) in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As a flavour enhancer.

Don’t have an ingredient?

Use whatever you think might work in our easy canned tuna pasta, and whatever you have handy. For eg the pasta – here I’m using spaghetti. You can use any pasta you fancy.

If you’re new to this whole cooking thing, drop me a line to ask about substitutions, I’m always happy to help.

Shall we get our aprons on?

More Pantry Recipes on LinsFood

collection of pantry recipes
collection of pantry recipes

If you like the recipe and article, don’t forget to leave me a comment and that all important, 5-star rating! Thank you!

And if you make the recipe, share it on any platform and tag me @azlinbloor, and hashtag it #linsfood

Lin xx

Easy canned tuna pasta, pantry recipe

Easy Canned Tuna Pasta (15-minute Pantry Recipe)

A super easy pantry recipe using ingredients many of you will have at hand, pasta and canned tuna.
5 from 12 votes
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Course: Main Course, Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy recipes, pantry recipes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 314kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor
Cost: £1.20 ($1.40) per serving


  • a large pot of water for the pasta
  • a frying pan (skillet)


  • 120 g spaghetti (roughly 4 oz) or any pasta of your choice
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic medium
  • 1 red chilli (pepper) or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 6 cherry tomatoes or 2 medium ones
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 slithers anchovies in oil, drained optional
  • 145 g canned tuna in oil, drained weight, give or take
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach or regular (or any greens)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 olives, sliced, any colour

Optional Breadcrumb Gremolata (reduce the garlic above to 1 clove if doing this)

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, just drop 4-5 slices of bread without crust into a chopper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley (12g) (curly will do if you can't get flat)
  • 2 cloves garlic medium
  • 1 lemon organic and unwaxed, preferably


Prep Work

  • Bring the pot of water to a boil with the 2 Tbsp of salt.
  • While the water is boiling, chop up the garlic finely, slice the chillies into thin slices and halve the cherry tomatoes.

Time to get cooking!

  • Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook for 8-10 until al dente, depending on the cooking instructions on the packet.
  • At the 6-minute mark, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat and toss in the garlic, chillies, anchovies and tomatoes.
  • Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tuna and baby spinach and cook for a minute to heat through and for the spinach to wilt. Add a ladle of the pasta water and ¼ tsp salt and stir in.
  • When the spaghetti is done, drain and add to the tuna in the pan and stir thoroughly. Check seasoning and finish of with plenty of black pepper.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice all over and serve immediately.

Optional Breadcrumb Gremolata (wants to be made before the pasta above)

  • Heat the olive oil on medium-high heat and drop in the breadcrumbs.
  • Fry for 5 minutes until they take on a golden brown colour. Tip out onto a flat plate to cool. They will continue to brown slightly. While waiting…
  • Finely chop the garlic and parsley and place in a bowl.
  • Grate the lemon for its zest and add to the garlic and parsley and mix well. This is your gremolata.
  • When the breadcrumbs have cooled, add as much or as little of the gremolata as you like, starting with 1 tablespoon. Taste and add more if you like.
  • Sprinkle this all over your pasta and serve.
  • Leftover gremolata and breadcrumb gremolata can be kept in the fridge, tighly covered, for a day. Breadcrumbs can be kept for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.


Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 838mg | Potassium: 619mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3319IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
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7 thoughts on “Easy Canned Tuna Pasta (15-minute Pantry Recipe)”

  1. 5 stars
    Thanks Lin we made this for lunch yesterday, exactly as you’ve written and it was delicious! I’m enjoying your facebook series, looking forward to the cookies tomorrow.

  2. Maisie Billings

    5 stars
    Thank you! I haven’t been out to the shops and was getting worried about food! But I have everything in this recipe, even for that topping. Lunch today, thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

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