This is the best tuna pasta pesto recipe! It's so easy to make with just four ingredients including pasta, pesto, canned tuna, and tomatoes. This tuna pasta salad can be served cold or hot and is great for meal prep. This healthy recipe is low in calories and can easily be made gluten free and dairy free too!
Why you will love this recipe:
- This tuna pesto pasta recipe has the most incredible flavour.
- It's so fast, quick and easy to make and you only need 4 ingredients!
- This recipe takes less than 20 minutes to make!
- This homemade healthy tuna pasta can be served warm or cold.
- This recipe can be made gluten free, dairy free and paleo.
- It's made with pantry staple ingredients including canned tuna, pasta noodles, pesto, and baby tomatoes.
- It's a great dish to bring to picnics, barbecues, cookouts or tailgates.
- This recipe is low in calories and is a complete, healthy meal that's full of protein and healthy fat too.
- It makes great leftovers so it's perfect for meal prep.
- This meal is kid friendly!
- This is a no bake meal so you don't need to worry about heating up your whole house by turning on the oven.
- If you love pesto you will also love this citrus arugula pesto recipe!
Taste and texture:
This tuna pasta salad has the most amazing flavour! The noodles and fresh tomatoes add the perfect chunky texture, while the creamy pesto sauce blends perfectly with the tuna so there is no fishy flavour. Just a delicious, herb-like taste that is so refreshing.
Key ingredients and substitutions:
- Pasta noodles - you can use any type of pasta noodles that you like for this recipe including spaghetti, bow tie, penne, spiral etc. To make this recipe gluten free use gluten free noodles.
- Pesto - pesto adds the most refreshing flavour to this tuna pasta recipe. You can either use store bought pesto, or make your own homemade pesto, whichever you prefer. I love using this walnut pesto to make this pesto salad.
- Canned tuna - canned tuna adds healthy protein and fat to this recipe, making it a complete meal. You can either use canned tuna in oil or canned tuna in water.
- Tomatoes - baby tomatoes or cherry tomatoes add such a fun, delicious flavour to this healthy pasta salad. You can use any color of tomato that you prefer, and if you don't like tomatoes simply omit them from the recipe.
What is pesto?
Pesto is a a sauce that's most commonly made with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The ingredients are blended until they are smooth and pesto sauce is often served with pasta.
Pesto can also be used as a dip, marinade or dressing. There are many pesto recipe variations and some recipes will use other nuts such as cashews, walnuts or sunflower seeds, while other recipes will omit the parmesan cheese or swap the olive oil for another oil.
How to make this recipe:
First, cook the pasta noodles as per the package instructions, until the noodles are al dente (just under cooked).
Next, drain the water from the noodles and transfer them to a large bowl.
Then add the pesto to the bowl with the noodles and toss everything well to coat.
Now add in the chopped tomatoes and tuna and mix well to combine.
Then serve and enjoy! If you prefer a cold pasta salad, refrigerate it for 1 hour before serving.
Tips and variations:
- You can use any type of noodles that you prefer for this recipe including penne, spaghetti, bowtie, spiral etc.
- Feel free to double or triple this recipe if you are serving a crowd or if you want to have leftovers for meal prep.
- This pesto pasta can be served warm or cold.
- Feel free to add other vegetables such as chopped cucumber, zucchini, spinach, broccoli or mushrooms.
- To make this recipe gluten free: use gluten free noodles.
- To make this recipe paleo: use paleo noodles and a paleo compliant pesto.
- Don't overcook the noodles. You don't want them to be soggy.
- To make this recipe dairy free: use a dairy free pesto.
How to serve:
This meal is delicious served as is, but you could pair it with other side dishes like garlic bread or a salad. You could also serve this as a side dish with other main dishes such as meat or fish dishes.
How to store:
Store any leftover tuna pasta in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I don't recommend trying to freeze this recipe as the noodles turn out rather mushy if you try to eat them after they've been frozen.
Frequently asked questions:
The number of calories in tuna pasta pesto will vary depending on the type of pesto, noodles, and tuna you use, but this tuna pesto pasta has approximately 495 calories per serving including 19 grams of protein, 49 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber, making it a healthy, complete meal.
Pesto pasta is a healthy, delicious meal. How healthy it is will depend on the exact ingredients used but you can make it even healthier by adding protein such as cooked chicken or tuna and topping it with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes or cucumber.
Pesto goes really well with pasta, rice, meat dishes and fish dishes. It can also be used as a dip, dressing or marinade. You can also use pesto as a spread for sandwiches, as a topping for pizza or two mix in with eggs.
Other recipes you will love:
- Citrus arugula pesto
- Walnut pesto
- Blackened cod
- Kale and apple slaw
- Sun dried tomato pasta
- Healthy broccoli salad
- Lemonade smoothie
- Parsley pesto
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Tuna Pasta Pesto
- 8 ounces pasta noodles
- 1 cup pesto (more or less to taste)
- 1 cup chopped baby tomatoes
- 1 can tuna, drained and broken into pieces (142 grams)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta noodles as per the package instructions, until the noodles are al dente.
- Drain the water from the noodles and transfer them to a large bowl.
- Add the pesto to the bowl with the noodles and toss everything well to coat.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes and tuna and mix well to combine.
- Serve and enjoy! If you prefer a cold pasta salad refrigerate it for 1 hour before serving.
- Nutritional values are as estimate and will vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- You can use any type of pesto that you prefer for this recipe.