Tuna Pesto Pasta from the Pantry

by Dorothy Reinhold on July 17, 2017

Print This Post Print This Post You won't even have to shop before making Tuna Pesto Pasta, because most of the ingredients come from the pantry. It's easy for a weeknight, or a sophisticated lunch. | ShockinglyDelicious.com

Tuna Pesto Pasta: A sophisticated pantry pasta is quick and easy with canned tuna and a few staples like pesto, garlic and onion. It makes an elegant lunch or dinner without a trip to the store.

These are the dog days of summer, when ambition fades in the face of sultry heat and humidity, when enthusiasm flags and is replaced by ennui, and when the seemingly otherwise simple act of turning on the oven to make dinner is cause for others to question your sanity.

So today I bring you dinner from pantry staples, with a few fresh things from the garden strewn on top. You’ll eat it warm for dinner, and then the next day for lunch, perhaps cold, straight from the fridge.

And maybe, just maybe, if there’s any left after that, you’ll fork it right from the Tupperware while you’re watching TV at night. Yes, this is a full-service meal, deployable for nearly any edible purpose.

Summer’s languorous supper.

How to make Tuna Pesto Pasta

Ingredients for Tuna Pesto Pasta recipe on a white background on ShockinglyDelicious.comGather all your ingredients. For this recipe, we are using:

  • Short pasta (I am using trottole, but use your favorite). A curly pasta really grabs the sauce.
  • olive oil
  • onion and garlic
  • tuna in olive oil
  • dried oregano
  • jarred basil pesto
  • Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese

Easy Tuna Pesto Pasta recipe in a white bowl with green striped napkins under the bowl on ShockinglyDelicious.com

The title of the recipe practically tells you how to make it. It’s so easy.

Grab your fork and join me.

Tuna Pesto Pasta

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: Serves 2-3

Tuna Pesto Pasta

A sophisticated pantry pasta is quick and easy with canned tuna and a few staples like pesto, garlic and onion. Tuna Pesto Pasta makes an elegant lunch or dinner without a trip to the store.


  • 8 ounces short pasta (I used trottole shape, but use your favorite)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 a medium onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (5-ounce) can tuna in olive oil (I used Genova brand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 tablespoons jarred basil pesto
  • Garnish:
  • --cherry tomatoes
  • --fresh basil sprig
  • --grated or shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Put a pot of water on the stove and heat until boiling. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When it is done, drain (reserve 1/4 cup cooking water) and set pasta aside off the heat.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until they are transparent. It is OK if they begin to brown slightly. Add garlic, cook and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  3. Add in the tuna and its oil and slightly break into chunks; add the oregano. Gently stir in the cooked pasta and pesto and cook for another minute or so to warm it through. If you think the pasta is too dry, add in a tablespoon or more of the reserved cooking water.
  4. Remove from heat, place into wide, shallow bowls, garnish with a handful of cherry tomatoes and a sprig of fresh basil. Pass the Parmesan cheese so diners can garnish their own bowl with it.
  5. Serves 2 for dinner or 3 for lunch.


Recipe source: Ever so slightly adapted from Tuna Pesto Spaghetti from A Taste of Madness.

Originally published on Shockingly Delicious July 31, 2016. Republished July 17, 2017.


areyoupinningPin the image below for Tuna Pesto Pasta to your Pinterest board to save this recipe

Tuna Pesto Pasta from the Pantry recipe title superimposed over the picture of the dish on ShockinglyDelicious.com
Want another meal with canned tuna?

Tuna, Tomato, Bean and Basil Salad in a white bowl on ShockinglyDelicious.comTuna Tomato Bean and Basil Salad

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Jasmine Lukuku - The Blenderist August 2, 2016 at 10:52 am

This is a great combo! So easy.


olivia @ livforcake August 2, 2016 at 9:03 am

This is truly the perfect summer meal! Light, simple, and delicious!


Sawsan@chef in disguise August 2, 2016 at 4:41 am

I love pasta with tuna! And the best part is, I do not have to go shopping or turn on the oven
Win win situation!


Dorothy Reinhold August 2, 2016 at 5:56 am

Exactly right!


Sabrina August 2, 2016 at 3:38 am

What a delicious, simple pasta! I can’t wait to try this!


Michelle De La Cerda August 1, 2016 at 10:41 pm

This is an easy recipe that would be a lovely lunch!


Dorothy Reinhold August 2, 2016 at 5:59 am

It DOES make a nice lunch!


Kimberly Killebrew August 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Such a tasty flavor combination!


Sandi (@fearless_dining) August 1, 2016 at 7:59 pm

I love that this recipe uses thing I already have in my pantry.


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 8:24 pm

EXACTLY what this recipe means to do!


Anna August 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm

My kind of recipe! That looks so good, and I have everything in my pantry (and garden; except I’ll have to use sliced tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes), including that exact same pasta. I think I know what’s for dinner one of the nights this week.

Do make the tuna enchiladas. I made those when I had Cathleen’s blog, and they are yummy. I really need to make them again soon.


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm

Thanks for the vote on the tuna enchiladas. It’s going to happen.


Patricia @ Grab a Plate August 1, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Love that I ALWAYS have these ingredients on hand! Great way to clean through the shelves and get a delicious meal out of it! Nice!


Stephanie August 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm

I love meals like this! Looks delicious 🙂


Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) August 1, 2016 at 10:01 am

This pasta is everything, and I love that pesto flavor.


Katerina @ Diethood August 1, 2016 at 9:15 am

Tuna and pasta together are my fave!! AND the pesto is just genius! 🙂


Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness August 1, 2016 at 8:39 am

I am so glad you liked it!! Your version looks super delicious!
And definitely make those coal rice krispies, they are a staple at my house around Christmas time!


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 1:42 pm

The coal Rice Krispies is a definite!


Nicole August 1, 2016 at 6:13 am

We love pasta and I am a bit of a tuna lover, so I absolutely LOVE this dish – the flavors… omg! Perfect SRC pick Dorothy (and your cake running around on here … wow!!)


Bakingfanatic August 1, 2016 at 6:02 am

I love the honest simplicity and the frugality of this dish. Gorgeous


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 8:23 am

Thanks! It IS an honest dish, and sometimes we luck out and the sum is far greater than the parts. This is one of those.


Sid August 1, 2016 at 4:19 am

This looks like a great recipe to take along to one of the sometimes too many potlucks we attend. Nah, can never attend to many of those.


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 8:24 am

I do kinda like potlucks. They always end up being an interesting collection of food for the meal.


SAllyBR August 1, 2016 at 4:07 am

Skydiving…. WOW! I am such a complete wimp, the only thing I did last year was a ziplining adventure in Colorado – I thought I was going to die, but here I am.

You picked a perfect recipe for the season….

best Reveal Day ever for me… HA! 😉


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 8:25 am

Thank you, and I LOVE that you got my blog this time around. I am honored.


Citra Kale @Citra's Home Diary August 1, 2016 at 4:02 am

I always adore your creative recipe, never boring visit your page Dorothy. Such a tasty looking salad using tuna and pesto, this is exactly what I am looking for.


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 8:25 am

Thank you! How nice of you to say that!


Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine August 1, 2016 at 3:58 am

O I love the pesto! Such a great way to fancy up that flavors!


Dorothy Reinhold August 1, 2016 at 8:26 am

Basil and tuna go so well together!


karen July 31, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Did you just use ennui and parsed in the same post? Girl!

I love the clean out the cupboard spirit of this recipe. It definitely looks taste. Great choice!


Dorothy Reinhold July 31, 2016 at 10:21 pm

I amuse myself with oddball words in my posts. So glad I can entertain you as well. 🙂


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