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Pantry Tuna Pasta Casserole

I’m excited to share my latest tuna pasta recipe with y’all! This casserole is packed with flavor and easy to make using pantry staples, making it perfect for a weeknight meal.

I always think of tuna casserole recipes during Lent, but because this uses canned tuna and dried pasta, it truly makes a great meal using pantry items all year round.

tuna pasta casserole

Why you’ll love this tuna pasta

  • It uses pantry ingredients I always have on hand, making it perfect as an impromptu meal.
  • I’m always on the hunt for recipes that I can use making ingredients on hand and this tuna recipe fits the bill. Not only is it an easy recipe, it’s a nice change from our usual tuna noodle casserole and Tuna Salad with Egg this time of year.
  • Oh, and dinner on the table in 25 minutes? Sign me up!

Ingredients in this simple tuna pasta recipe

ingredients in tuna pasta

pasta – I like the shape of penne pasta for this recipe, but you can substitute bow tie pasta or macaroni noodles; your choice

extra virgin olive oil

canned tuna in oil – you can use whatever kind of tuna your family likes best

marinara sauce – use a good quality marinara sauce you love. It doesn’t have to be expensive; Aldi has one of my favorites! In a pinch you can use spaghetti sauce or plain tomato sauce since we’ll doctor it up with some Italian seasonings

spices – dried oregano and garlic powder

cherry tomatoes – if you have grape tomatoes, you can use those 

olives – any kind of pitted olives works in this recipe; I like black olives or Kalamata olives for some Mediterranean flair.

cheese – my fav. We’re using shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese

fresh basil for topping – if you don’t have this in your fridge or garden, don’t sweat it. You can still make this without the basil on top

How to make Tuna Pasta

Open and drain the cans of tuna, getting most of the oil out but leaving a little of it around. 

I really like using this smooth can opener because it doesn’t leave sharp edges on the lid of the can. No one wants drama in the meal prep, right?

Check your box of pasta and cook it according to the package instructions. We’ll be cooking the pasta until it’s al dente, which means it’s still firm when you bite it.

This is important because we don’t want to overcook our pasta. Remember, it’s going back into the oven so it needs to be able to hold up for a bit.

When the pasta is done, drain it and add the cooked pasta to a bowl big enough for you to add ingredients and stir.

We’ll be adding our olive oil, tuna, marinara sauce and seasonings. This is a great chance to season it with a little salt and pepper.

tuna pasta

Use a large spoon to gently toss everything together. From here we’ll transfer half of it into a rectangle shaped casserole dish.

tuna pasta recipe

Add half of the mozzarella, then spread the remaining pasta mixture on top. Top with the olives and tomatoes and a little more cheese.

tuna pasta casserole

Then, we bake!!

Top the whole thing with a little parmesan cheese and basil, if you have it. Beautiful, right??!?

tuna pasta casserole

What to serve with tuna pasta casserole

Because this has so many ingredients already in it, I’d take a shortcut and add some steamed frozen green peas. 

Easy peasy! See what I did there??

How to reheat leftovers:

This works as a quick lunch the next day. Reheat individual portions in the microwave until just heated through.

tuna pasta recipe

Recipe Variations

There are so many ways you can customize this tuna pasta. Use the recipe below as a starting point and here are some ideas for additions…

  • Add marinated and chopped artichoke hearts
  • Use whole wheat pasta or a new favorite of ours, chickpea pasta
  • Fold a handful or two of fresh baby spinach to the freshly cooked pasta. The heat from the noodles will help it to wilt.
  • If you like spice, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

More tuna recipes

Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole

More easy pasta recipes

Pasta Pesto Salad with Chicken

Amish Pasta Salad

We had this for dinner tonight and this was a great recipe to add to our Lent dinner ideas. If you make this tuna pasta recipe, leave a recipe rating or comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

made with love, Deanne
Yield: 4 servings

Tuna Pasta Casserole

Tuna Pasta Casserole

I'm excited to share my latest tuna pasta recipe with y’all! This casserole is packed with flavor and easy to make using pantry staples, making it perfect for a weeknight meal.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups uncooked penne pasta or other pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 14 ounces canned albacore tuna in oil, drained
  • 14 ounces marinara sauce
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup black or mixed olives, pitted
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and black pepper, seasoning to taste

Instructions

  1. Boil the pasta according to package instructions (al dente) in a large pot of water. Drain well and discard the pasta water.
  2. Add the drained, hot pasta to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, then add drained tuna, marinara sauce, 1 teaspoon of oregano, garlic powder. Mix to combine and add salt and black pepper as desired.
  3. In a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish, add half of the pasta mixture. Top it with half the mozzarella cheese, then the remaining pasta. top with olives and tomatoes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of oregano and finish with a layer of remaining cheese.
  4. Bake the pasta dish at 400° F for about 20 minutes or until cheese is properly melted.

    Garnish with fresh basil and shredded parmesan cheese.

Notes

Recipe Variations

There are so many ways you can customize this tuna pasta. Use the recipe below as a starting point and here are some ideas for additions...

Add marinated and chopped artichoke hearts

Use whole wheat pasta or a new favorite of ours, chickpea pasta

Fold a handful or two of fresh baby spinach to the freshly cooked pasta. The heat from the noodles will help it to wilt.

If you like spice, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten free pasta.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 632Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1565mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 6gSugar: 8gProtein: 43g

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Tag me on Instagram at @ThisFarmGirlCooks or leave me a comment & rating below.

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Sally

Wednesday 6th of April 2022

Can't waite to try this Recipe.

nancy

Saturday 2nd of April 2022

I enjoy following you. i am a farm wife myself. do you have more specific instructions and measurements for this recipe? It looks amazing!

Deanne Frieders

Saturday 2nd of April 2022

Oh my gosh, thanks for commenting! I've added it back in, I"m not sure how that happened. Thanks for following along, Nancy!

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