Tuna Tomato Pasta: The Pantry Friendliest Recipe I Know

Tuna tomato pasta – simple and flavorful. Basically a meal in a dish although I usually try and add a side vegetable.

So I am writing this post because I wanted to link to this recipe but realized I have been making it so long (and have changed it so much) that I no longer know where I learned the original recipe. It is one of my brainless crowdpleasers and an easy and affordable way to eat more fish (for those healthy omega-3 fatty acids).

This is probably the meal I am most likely to be able to make from what is in my pantry. I realize not everyone has the same pantry, but the instructions are pretty flexible so you can adapt the ingredients to what you might have available.

Here’s what you need:
  • 1/2 an onion (or like 1 small onion, usually my grocery store has giant onions)
  • Garlic, a few cloves (or you could use 1 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic)
  • 15-oz can tomatoes/tomato sauce or 1 small can tomato paste + enough water to make it about 15-oz/2 cups
  • 1-2 cans tuna (you can probably also use canned chicken or canned beans/lentils)
  • 1/2-1 lb pasta (I like to use whole wheat, but use what you have – gluten-free, lentil pasta, or rice pasta should work just as well)
  • Oil of some kind – I used olive
  • Spices (I like dried basil primarily for this, but last time I threw in some thyme and rosemary as well and it was good. You can also use an Italian seasoning)
  • Salt
In this picture, there are the ingredients I use: olive oil, canned tomatoes, salt, onion, garlic, tuna, whole wheat pasta, and a container of dried basil

You will also need a cutting board and a knife to chop your onions, a small pot/pan to make the sauce in, and a pot to boil your pasta. And a stove.

Here’s how to make it:
  1. Cut up your onion – smaller is better, but don’t stress too much about it.
  2. Put a few tablespoons of oil in a pot over medium-high heat and once that is warm, add your onions and a little bit of salt (like 1/2 teaspoon) and let them cook while you…
  3. Mince up a few cloves of garlic, or if you are using minced garlic or garlic powder, skip to the next step.
  4. Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic and cook for just 30 seconds-1 minute (garlic burns fast).
  5. Add your spices. I like to use a lot of dried basil, but you can use Italian seasoning, rosemary, thyme, oregano, or a combination.
  6. Dump in your canned tomatoes or tomato sauce or the tomato paste that you have mixed with water.
  7. Stir this so it’s combined, then turn up the heat to bring to a simmer (so it is very slowly bubbling). Then cover it with a lid and turn it to low.
  8. While this is simmering, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box – I find this takes 15-20 minutes counting the time for the water to boil which is a good amount of time for the sauce to simmer.
  9. Once your pasta is cooked and drained, drain the tuna as well and flake it into the sauce and stir until it’s combined, then combine the sauce with the pasta

This is even pretty good leftover and doesn’t even smell too fishy when you warm it up. It’s also good with Parmesan on top.

This is what the pasta looks like

As you can see the amounts are flexible – if you like a saucier pasta, use less pasta or more tomatoes. If you want a higher protein/lower carb ratio, use less pasta and more tuna. If you used canned tomatoes and don’t like chunks, mash the sauce or use an immersion blender or food processor (in small batches please) to blend it before you combine with the pasta and tuna.

This batch was made with ~1/2 lb of pasta, 2 cans of tuna, and 1 can of tomatoes, just give you an idea of what those ratios look like.

Below is the recipe card I dug out of the box – in case you want to just have a picture of the recipe πŸ™‚

Happy eating πŸ™‚

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