Easy Tuna Pasta Recipe | Best Garlic Pasta with Tuna and Chili | 30-Minute Weight-Loss Friendly Recipe

This is a simple, yet extremely tasty quick meal which can be a quick mid-week fix or a weekend lunch celebration… that’s how good, yet flexible this dish is!

Why Tuna Pasta?

How did this come about is yet another weird — yet common for us — story… Two nationalities of people, different traditions, all coming together… how romantic! Not for longer than 5 seconds! What most of the time this means is two separate meals each time, especially when one (read: me) is trying to and the other one (unfortunately not me) gain it. After years of suffering this way, as: A — we don’t have enough room in the kitchen, B — neither of us has enough time to cook so many different meals every week/day and C — it’s not fair to constantly compromise, I came up with a life-saving recipe I call to the field once or twice a month and that is , not only with Jay but also with guests (of all nationalities!).

And, I love boneless fish…

… and so many are available, but how to make spicy tuna fit with something we would both eat? How many recipes make a tinned good so delicious? ~~ Trying to eat more fish but most recipes are complicated and/or time consuming? I feel the same too, but not with this Lemon and Black Pepper Cod Recipe!

ingredients for tuna pasta
Ingredients for tuna pasta

Tinned tuna fish is a very healthy and inexpensive way of adding protein to one’s diet; this fish option is very convenient, as it can last for years, it is ready to use as it is as it can be eaten on its own or in recipes, and it comes in multiple varieties.

When choosing which type of tinned tuna to go for, it is important to consider different factors, but the liquid in which the fish is preserved is perhaps the most important one. Tinned tuna in oil has much more calories and fat compared to the one in spring water and both come with considerably more sodium than fresh tuna.

This fish, either fresh or tinned, is nevertheless a great source of Vitamins, such as Vitamin D, and minerals, like iodine and selenium.

~~ For more information on tinned tuna, I found this article on Healthline very interesting: Is Canned Tuna Good for You, or Bad?

tuna pasta with chili and anchovies

Questions time!

How to make tuna pasta? How to make spicy tuna sauce?

You’ve come to the right place, as this tuna sauce is lightly spicy (or as spicy as you want it to be), ready in under 30 minutes and extremely delicious! To prepare the tuna sauce for pasta, sauté onion, garlic and a bit of salt in olive oil and, once soft, add chopped anchovies; once these have blended well with the base, add the tuna and the chili flakes. Allow the tuna to change color while mixing it in the sauce, then add the tomato puree and the parsley; lightly fry the base with the tomato puree, before adding the tomato passata and some sugar (only needed if the tomato passata is acidic). At this stage, allow the sauce to simmer away and cook well while you boil the pasta. Once both the tuna sauce and the pasta are cooked, drain the pasta and add it to the spicy sauce, mix well and serve!

oil onion garlic and salt

Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil with a bit of salt

Once the onions are soft, add the chopped anchovies

add tuna and chili flakes

Next, add the drained tuna and the chili flakes

Add the tomato puree and the parsley to the sauce

tomato passata
Add the tomato passata and some water
simmer the tuna sauce
Allow the tuna sauce for the pasta to simmer away
add cooked penned pasta to the tuna sauce
Once ready, add the cooked pasta to the sauce pan
mix the tuna pasta with tomato sauce
Mix well the pasta with tuna and tomato sauce
pasta with tuna
Serve and enjoy the pasta with tuna sauce!

This tuna pasta recipe is very flavorful and to make it a complete meal it only requires a nice side salad, made up of perhaps crunchy green vegetables, such as mixed leaves, onion and cucumber, as it is already rich of tomato. Should you wish to serve this with something extra special, why not toast some delicious ciabatta bread and spread some Fluffy Garlic Butter?

tuna sauce for pasta

  • It is a pasta dish, an who doesn’t love pasta?
  • You get a full meal ready in 30 minutes!
  • A delicious portion of this has ONLY 376 calories!
  • You most probably have all of the ingredients already.
  • It is creamy, tasty and delicious.
  • You can turn it into a tuna pasta bake with a little sprinkle of cheese and 10 minutes in the oven!
  • It is a great meal-prep idea and works very well in a lunch box!

Try this out and you won’t be disappointed; it is one of my family’s favorites, it may become yours too! Love pasta and want more delicious meal ideas? Here you go:

Tuna pasta recipe was first published on December 29th, 2020 and updated on August 23rd, 2021.

Spicy Chili and Tuna Pasta

This tuna pasta recipe is easy, yet my pride and joy so far… please enjoy it!

  • 240 g dry uncooked pasta (I used mezze penne)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 150 g finely sliced red onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (or as liked)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper powder (or as liked)
  • 6 anchovies (ideally in olive oil)
  • 1 tin tuna in water (drained weight 100g/ 3.5 oz)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry parsley
  • 700 g tomato passata
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar (only needed if the tomato sauce is very acidic)
  • Water as needed
  • Salt to taste
  1. Drain the tuna, chop the anchovies, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, put a large frying pan on the fire and warm up the olive oil; once this is warm add to it the onion, garlic, and a bit of salt, mix well, cover the pan and lower the flame to minimum.
  3. Once the onion becomes transparent and soft (on a low flame it should take about 5–7 minutes) add the anchovies, and turn the heat to medium; once the anchovies are lightly fried (1–2 minutes) add the tuna, chili flakes and black pepper and mix well.
  4. Once the tuna changes color, add the tomato paste and parsley to the pan and fry well; then, add the tomato passata, the granulated sugar (if required), and 1 cup of water. Mix well, cover with the lid, and put on low flame again until the tomato sauce is fully cooked. I like to simmer mine very gently for at least 15–20 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the pasta.
  6. Once the pasta and the sauce are ready, drain the pasta (do not over-drain it!) and add it to the sauce pan with the sauce. Mix it well through and through while on a low flame for about a minute.
  7. The best part of the recipe: serve and enjoy!

Notes on the recipe:

The sugar is optional; adding this will help if you find your tomato passata or sauce to be too acidic. You will notice that certain brands will need it and others won’t.

As usual, if you have fresh parsley instead of dry, go for it! I buy fresh bunches only when I know I will use them soon, but as here these are sold very large, this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

Be mindful of the salt you use! Anchovies are quite salty, so it is better to put very little to start with and add at the end if needed… and no, the sugar won’t make it sweet, the quantity is very little!

If you do not like or have anchovies, you can eliminate them completely or replace them with some black or green olives (either color will work taste-wise) or a few capers… I personally find anchovies add a certain level of flavor to this simple — yet unique — recipe!

Just like the anchovies, if you’re not in for a spicy ride, you can eliminate the crushed chili flakes completely, or, to the opposite, you can increase the fire! It’s all about taste and preference and how hot you want this spicy pasta recipe!

For this recipe I use passata, but sometimes I like to mix it up and use some nice chunky chopped tomato to add a different texture to the meal; in that case, I normally use two full tins of 400g each (14 oz each).

Like I always like to add, if you amend any parts of the recipe and you are counting calories, please recalculate your totals for the meal!

Main Course



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