A different take on a family-favourite – Tuna Pasta Bake! The dish is transformed with the addition of pesto, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella. Simple to make, budget-friendly and certainly full of flavour, our Tuna Pesto Pasta Bake is a fancier take on a more traditional pasta dinner!
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Humble Tin of Tuna
Tinned tuna is something we always have at home. There are so many things you can do with it:
- traditional Tuna Pasta Bake
- jacket potatoes with Mexican Tuna Salad
- sandwiches (Tuna Sweetcorn Sandwiches or Tuna Cucumber Sandwiches)
- a lovely Nicoise salad
- Tuna Fishcakes
- Tuna and Grapefruit Rice Salad or Tuna Pasta Salad
Need more ideas? Head to our Canned Tuna Lunch Ideas to find the right recipe for you!
So many recipes in our repertoire, but this tuna and pesto pasta bake has to be one of Seb’s favourites!
Does Pesto Go With Tuna?
Pesto somewhat enhances the flavour of the fish, so this recipe is definitely for people who don’t mind strong-tasting fish. We love the pasta with the sheer amount of spring onions, mixed with rich basil pesto and topped with melted stringy mozzarella.
The idea to first make this dish was born when I tried a lovely salmon and pesto lasagne dish on our holiday in Venice. Fish and pesto was never a combination I used, but it seems to work perfectly with any oilier fish. I’ve opted for a simple bake to show off the amazing combination of tinned tuna and pesto. So here’s our 7-ingredient tuna pesto pasta bake!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- pasta: choose the shape of pasta that has lots of nooks and crannies to catch all that pesto. We like fusilli or conchiglie, but penne will work too!
- tuna: tinned tuna chunks in spring water or brine. Avoid tuna in oil.
- lemon: you will use zest and juice, so choose unwaxed lemons.
- green pesto: we used basil pesto.
- cherry tomatoes: or baby plum tomatoes, cut in half
- spring onions: finely sliced. Omit the spring onions if you don’t like onion flavour, or substitute with other fresh herbs, such as a mixture of parsley, chives and basil.
- mozzarella ball: drained
Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than stated on the packet and drain, reserving approximately 100ml of starchy pasta water.
Whilst the pasta is cooking, drain the tuna and tip it into a large mixing bowl. Halve your cherry tomatoes and add to the tuna. Zest and juice the lemon into the same bowl too. Finely slice all of your spring onions, but only add about ⅔ to the tuna bowl. Reserve the rest for later. Finally add the pesto, some seasoning and mix.
Once cooked, mix in the pasta and 100ml of pasta water.
Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish. Tear the mozzarella ball into pieces and scatter it across the top. Finally, scatter the remaining spring onions on top. Bake the tuna pesto pasta for 20 minutes until mozzarella melts and starts to brown slightly!
What To Serve With Tuna Pesto Pasta Bake?
If you are looking for side dishes for tuna pesto pasta, we have you covered. Try it with:
Other Delicious Pasta Recipes
If you like making pasta dishes for weekday dinners, you may be tempted by our other simple but delicious recipes. Looking for something rich and meaty? Try our Pasta Al Forno!
- Tagliatelle Pasta with Feta, Broccoli & Fried Lemon
- Squid Ink Seafood Pasta in White Wine Sauce
- Easy Lentil ‘Meatballs’ and Spaghetti
If you want something a bit fancier, try making pasta yourself – here’re a couple of articles to get you started:
- Filled Pasta: How to Make Ravioli, Tortellini & Other Shapes at Home?
- Home-Made Pasta: Three Easy Pasta Dough Recipes & Ten Different Shapes
Cheesy Tuna Pesto Pasta Bake
- 280 g pasta fusilli, penne, or conchiglie
- 320 g tinned tuna chunks in spring water or brine (2 tins) drained
- 1 lemon zest and juice
- 190 g green pesto
- 200 g cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 100 g spring onions (approx 6-7) finely sliced
- 125 g mozzarella ball drained
- Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than stated on the packet and drain, reserving approx 100ml of pasta water.
- In a large bowl, mix the tuna, lemon juice, zest, pesto, halved tomatoes and ⅔ of spring onions. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the cooked pasta and 100ml of pasta water.
- Transfer the mixture to an ovenproof dish. Tear the mozzarella ball into pieces and scatter across the top. Finally, add the remaining spring onions. Bake for 20 minutes until mozzarella melts and starts to brown slightly.