Dinner is ready in just 20 minutes with this Tuna Pesto Pasta! Perfect for busy weeknights, you can use store-bought or homemade pesto and your favorite pasta shape. Just 5 pantry ingredients and super budget-friendly!
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Take budget-friendly dried pasta and canned tuna and add store-bought or homemade pesto and you’ve got yummy Tuna Pesto Pasta – a easy and satisfying dinner that’s ready in 20 minutes with just 5 ingredients! For more easy, budget-friendly tuna recipes, try Tuna Noodle Casserole or Tuna Pasta Salad.
Pasta: Use your favorite shape of pasta. You’ll need 1 pound (16 ounces). You can absolutely halve this recipe, too, by cutting all the ingredient measurements in half.
Pesto: You’ll need 1 1/2 to 2 cups of prepared pesto. This can be homemade (try my recipe for homemade pesto without nuts) or store-bought and really any style of pesto that you like – traditional basil, red pepper, calabrian if you like some heat.
Tuna: We’re all about convenience and budget-friendly, so we’re using canned tuna. For the full recipe, you’ll need 2 (12 ounce) cans. If you are trying to stretch your budget, feel free to use 2-3 (5 ounce) cans instead. You can use either packed in oil or water.
Garlic: Use fresh, pre-minced or even powdered garlic here. I say 2 teaspoons, which is the equivalent of about 4 cloves minced, but you can do as much or as little as you like. If using garlic powder, you’ll use 1/2 teaspoon.
If you’ve got it, throw on a little Parmesan cheese on top when serving.
- Large Pot to boil pasta
- Large skillet/pan
- Measuring Cup
- Wooden Spoon
How to Make Tuna Pesto Pasta
- Start by getting your pasta water boiling. Cook your pasta according to the package instructions. (Make sure to save 1 cup of the pasta water once your pasta is cooked.)
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the garlic for 1 minute.
- Add the tuna and continue cooking until the tuna is headed. (It’s already cooked, so we don’t have to worry about any temperatures here.)
- Once the pasta is cooked, reserve 1 cup cooking water and then drain the pasta and add the pasta to pan with the tuna.
- Top with the pesto and stir to combine.
- Use the reserved pasta water to thin out your pesto sauce to your liking and serve.
Storing and Reheating Pesto Pasta
This pesto pasta dish will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Pesto is a very thick sauce, so you will need to add more pesto or water to help loosen up the pasta when reheating.
This recipe is so flexible! For starters, use whatever pasta you have on hand. I used rotini because the pesto sticks to the shape of the pasta really well, but any shape is great.
Feel free to swap the canned tuna for any protein. This pesto pasta recipe would be great with chicken, shrimp or even ground Italian sausage.
For the pesto, use your favorite whether it is homemade or jarred. I’ve even made this recipe with red pepper pesto.
Lastly, you’ve got the option to serve this tuna pesto pasta hot or chilled. So versatile!
More Easy Dinner Recipes
- Stovetop Stuffing Meatloaf
- Taco Crescent Ring
- Tater Tot Casserole
- Baked Meatballs Recipe
- Chickpea Burgers
Tuna Pesto Pasta Recipe
- 16 ounces dried pasta
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 (12 ounce) cans tuna, drained (or 2-4 5-ounce cans to your preference)
- 1 1/2 cups pesto (store-bought or homemade
- salt and pepper to tasta
- Optional garnish: shredded Parmesan cheese
- Bowl 1 pound (16 ounces) pasta according to the package instructions.
- While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and garlic in a pot or deep pan over medium heat. Saute for 1 minute.
- Add the drained tuna and contine to saute until the tuna is heated through.
- Once the pasta is finished cooking, reserve 1 cup of cooking water and drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the tuna and garlic.
- Stir in the pesto. Use the cooking water to thin the pesto to your preference. You want the pesto to coat the pasta like a sauce.
- Tasta and add salt and pepper to your preference.
- Top with optional Parmesan cheese when serving.
This recipe is very flexible. Choose your favorite pasta shape or whatever you have in the pantry. For the tuna, use as much or as little as you like. The same goes for the pesto. If you like a nice punch of basil and garlic, use 2 cups. If you're looking for the essence of pesto, use less. And you're free to use store-bought or homemade pesto. You can also use red pesto varieties for this pesto pasta dish.
As for more variations, swap out the canned tuna for chicken, shrimp, or italian sausage.
Storing and Reheating: This pesto pasta dish will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Pesto is a very thick sauce, so you will need to add more pesto or water to help loosen up the pasta when reheating.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 218Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 133mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g