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Tuna pesto pasta in a bowl.
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5 from 2 votes

Tuna Pesto Pasta

This quick and easy recipe is great served warm for dinner with crusty bread or cold as a pasta salad. Perfect for lunch, road trips, or an elegant meal at home.
Prep Time1 min
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time16 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Diet: Gluten Free, Low Lactose, Low Salt
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 233kcal
Author: Alicia


  • 10-12 oz pasta (linguine, fusilli, spaghetti, or penne recommended)
  • 6.7 oz canned or bottled tuna
  • ¾ cup pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • ¼ cup leftover pasta water

Homemade Pesto

  • cup rosted pepitas or sunflower seeds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cups spinach and arugula blend
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper to taste


  • If using homemade pesto, all all ingredients to a food processor and blend till combined, seed particles should be even and small. Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions, then drain, reserving about ¼ to ½ cup of the pasta water.
  • In a large bowl, combine pesto and tuna. Stir in warm pasta, and ¼ cup of the pasta water, till everything is fully coated with the tuna and pesto sauce. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate to serve as a pasta salad.


  • For a more "saucy" pasta, add more pasta water as desired, about 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  • Basil turns black with a lot of heat. It should be fine with the pasta and a little bit of water, but be mindful when reheating. Especially in the microwave. This is also why we toss the pesto in a bowl rather than on the stove.
  • To preserve the flavor and color, I recommend serving leftovers cold or at room temperature.
  • A squeeze of lemon is delicious, if tolerated!
  • Pesto recipe via my nut free pesto.


Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 140mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 53IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg