Tuna Pasta

canned tuna recipe - Lemon Tuna Pasta

I love entertaining (especially backyard entertaining in the summer) and having friends and family over to our place for dinner. The comfort and fun had around the dinner table will always hold a special place in my heart. One of my go-to recipes is lemon garlic pasta and this lemon tuna pasta recipe is a simple step up from there! It’s a canned tuna recipe you’ll want to serve to guests.

Every time we invite others over, however, I’m always so unsure about what to make. I always want to make my guests happy and go all out, but I also like to maintain our lighter way of eating. I also don’t want to break the bank for a fun dinner (with a toddler who keeps eating more and more at the table).

Ok. And if we’re really putting it all out there, I don’t want to plan that much. It’s why things like this last minute fruit appetizer board are such a mainstay in our house!

Lemon Tuna Pasta on blue plate

Tuna Pasta

I haphazardly started making this pasta and peas recipe years ago as a side dish. It’s so fast and delicious, you won’t believe it. Not to mention, it’s tasty leftover!

But the really awesome thing is that it’s a great one pot recipe for a dinner or side dish!! Add the ease (and protein) of canned tuna, and you’re basically all set (without having to plan ahead).

It’s a dinner recipe that everyone will love and it’s kind of the most magical thing ever (ok – besides this classic recipe for 7 layer bars of course).

Canned Tuna Recipe

I feel as though canned tuna is an underrated pantry staple. It can go into SO many dishes!

I usually have a can or two in my kitchen and I love that it adds lean protein and healthy fats to our meal.

My husband and son love the flavor of the dish and I love that I usually have all the ingredients on hand, making it a perfect dish for a healthy weeknight dinner and last minute dinner guests alike! Tuna pasta dinner for the win!!

Can You Use Other Fish?

I can only imagine that a good quality, canned salmon would be delicious in this recipe. You could also, likely, cut back on any salt and add in anchovies if your heart desired!

Of course it’s not just canned fish that would be good here (that’s the just the least expensive and easiest). Truthfully any shellfish or flaked white fish….or maybe just any fish in general would work.

Lemon + Tuna

I’m a believer that seafood is always good with something citrusy and life itself is just good with pasta, so I can’t foresee any option taking you down a wrong path!

Can You Use Other Veggies?

Besides the gorgeous color, ease (right from the freezer), and the health factors of the peas, I just think they taste perfect in this dish. That said, obviously there are other veggie options.

I’ve often added fresh spinach to this recipe (like I did in this pea pasta dinner). And truthfully, I don’t know about frozen spinach as I’ve never cooked with it (just being honest here).

I’m sure green beans, small broccoli florets, or asparagus would work – you’d just have to play around with the time it takes to cook them in the water with the pasta. The smaller the pieces, the less time.

And if you’re into the whole more dishes thing, sauteed onions, bell peppers, or zucchini would be a delicious addition.

So pretty much anything!

If you have extra peas, try this pea pesto and this pea pasta sauce! Both so good and, again, no real planning needed!

Want some other good pasta recipes? This roasted veggie + goat cheese pasta is easy, inexpensive and delicious! Ham Pasta with asparagus is another family favorite!

Simpler versions (great as a side dish too) are pasta and peas and this one pot summer veggie pasta is a mandatory one in our house.

On the lighter side, this fresh cherry tomato pasta with ricotta is divine and this broccoli pasta is heartier than you’d ever expect from a plant-based meal!

And this cabbage pasta is a good recipe to get more veggies into your dinners without anyone really noticing!

More Fish Recipes

Lemon Tuna Pasta
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes


This one-pot recipe for garlic lemon tuna pasta is a great dinner idea any time of year. I always have tuna, peas, and pasta in my kitchen, so it's the perfect last-minute dinner that everyone always loves! And it's a canned tuna recipe!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner, easy dinner, fish, pasta
Servings: 4
Calories: 605kcal
Author: Luci Petlack


  • 4 cups dry whole wheat rotini pasta or similar
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cans white tuna in water well drained


  • Bring water, olive oil, and salt to boil in a large pot. Add dry pasta. Cook 9-11 minutes (or as box instructions indicate). With 2 minutes left, add frozen peas. Reserve ¼ Cup pasta water. Drain pasta and peas.
  • Once you’ve added the pasta to the boiling water, heat olive oil and garlic in large pot (big enough to mix in pasta) over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add lemon zest and juice. Cook 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add tuna, pasta, peas, and reserved pasta water to post. Mix to combine.
  • Serve with parmesan cheese.


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Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 70g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 1202mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 1734IU | Vitamin C: 44mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 3mg

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  1. 5 stars
    My partner is constantly buying cans of tuna (I really don’t know why). I loved this recipe and can’t wait to make it again. Also, really excited to get rid of some of these cans!

    1. I’m so glad to hear you loved it, Shanea! It’s such a great combination and not too much work!

  2. 5 stars
    Tuna pasta happens to be one of our favorite pasta dishes to make! Love the added flavors of lemon and garlic to it!

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