Tuna pesto pasta is the go-to weeknight dinner. It’s so simple, nutritious and delicious!
It all comes together in less than 20 minutes with just 7 ingredients.
You’ll love this tuna pesto pasta recipe because:
- It comes together in 20 minutes or less! Boiling the pasta water takes the most time. The perfect mindless weeknight dinner.
- There’re only 7 ingredients! Plus olive oil, salt and pepper cause those are standard in my book.
- It’s made with mostly pantry ingredients and staple produce items. You can all the pantry items at Thrive Market Use this link and save 40% off your first order at Thrive Market (this is an affiliate code)
- It’s dairy free and gluten free!
- It’s so nutritious! There’s a good serving of protein, omega-3’s, fiber and healthy fats for balanced blood sugar and gut health nutrients.
The key to a balanced pasta:
Pasta gets a bad wrap. Pasta is made of processed flour, often wheat flour, but gluten-free pasta is often made of rice or other grains. As a flour product, pasta is usually a high carbohydrate food which can cause blood sugar imbalances.
Blood sugar imbalance can be a large contributor to inflammation, causes hormonal dysregulation, and disrupts metabolism.
BUT, pasta is delicious, fast and easy, so how can we make it more nutritious?
- Add healthy fats. This recipe uses olives and olive oil.
- Add protein. This recipe uses tuna for protein.
- Add fiber. You’ll find fiber in onion, olives, tomatoes, and you can add more fiber if you use chickpea or lentil pasta.
- Choose a pasta with more fiber and protein. Gluten-free pasta is recommended, but an even more nutrient dense option would be lentil or chickpea pasta. Chickapea or Cybele’s Free to Eat are my favorites with minimal ingredients and no stabilizers.
- This recipe calls for 8oz of pasta because most lentil or chickpea pasta comes in an 8oz box. If you have a 12oz box of pasta you can use the whole thing, but it’s recommended to only use 8oz in this recipe to keep the ratio of pasta to sauce and additions – which is also very important to keep blood sugar level.
Health benefits of tuna:
Canned tuna is a convenient source of protein. An average can of tuna has about 35 grams of protein, which is about 1 servings size.
Fish is a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for proper function of cell receptors in the body.
Seafood is also a great source of selenium, vitamin D, zinc and iodine; all essential nutrients and particularly supportive to the immune system.
Is canned tuna good for you?
Absolutely. For all the reasons listed above, canned tuna can be an exceptionally inexpensive and nutritious.
However, look for brands that have tested for low mercury like Safe Catch. Or seek out Skipjack tuna which is generally lower mercury than other commercial tuna like ahi or albacore.
Mercury is a heavy metal that naturally occurs in water and oil. Due to more pollution and highly processed products, mercury has found its way into our seafood.
When mercury is consumed the body can accumulate in tissues and have a toxic effect on the nervous system, immune and digestive systems.
How to switch up your tuna pesto pasta:
- Make your own pesto. This recipe for Dandelion Walnut Pesto is delicious and packed with nutrients from the dandelion greens. Make a batch and freeze small jars to always have pesto on hand.
- Use any type of olives. Castelvetrano, black, kalamata – any will be delicious.
- Swap spinach for your favorite leafy green like kale, arugula, chard or even parsley.
- Add any of your favorite vegetables. Sliced zucchini, broccoli or bell pepper would be great additions. Remember, frozen vegetables are a great way to conveniently add vegetables to any meal.
- Spice it up with some chili flakes!
- Make it a low carb or keto pasta by using zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or heart of palm noodles.
- Swap out the protein. Use canned salmon, or shredded chicken.
How easy it is to make tuna pesto pasta:
- Boil water and make pasta according to instructions to al dente.
- Slice onions and half the cherry tomatoes.
- Drain the cooked pasta and mix everything together while pasta is still warm.
How to make sure your gluten-free pasta doesn’t stick:
To make sure your gluten-free pasta doesn’t stick together in a big clump make sure to add 1 tablespoon of oil to your boiling water and frequently stir the pasta while it’s cooking. Then leave behind a little bit of pasta water after you drain it (approximately ¼ cup) and immediately toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil immediately.
Keeping ¼-½ cup of pasta water will also help thin out the pesto and help coat everything with sauce.
More gluten free pasta recipes.
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Tuna Pesto Pasta
- 8 oz gluten free dried pasta
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 8-10oz jar pitted green olives drained and chopped
- ½ red onion thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cans tuna
- 1 cup pesto store bought or homemade
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box.
- While the pasta is cooking, place all the prepped ingredients in a large serving bowl including the sliced onions, olives, spinach, tomato, tuna, and lemon juice.
- When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain and add the pasta to the bowl along with the pesto. Stir to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper and enjoy hot or cold.