A Healthy Tomato Tuna Pasta Bake is an easy budget friendly family meal that's ready in less than 30 minutes. It can also be made from store cupboard or pantry ingredients which makes it a great go to on busy days. Instead of a heavy cheese based sauce, I've used a tomato sauce, thickened with a little soft cream cheese and it's all topped off with a delicious cheesy topping. Tinned tuna is cheap, a great source of protein and perfect in pasta bakes.
More delicious pasta bake recipes
Pasta Bake recipes are easy, budget friendly and great for feeding the whole family
Gluten Free Tuna Pasta Bake
If you need to make a gluten free pasta bake, this recipe couldn't be simpler as the only ingredient you need to swap here is the pasta for a gluten free pasta.
Recipe Tips and Variations
This is an easy recipe you can make in advance then just pop in the oven when you are ready at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 to heat through for 20 minutes. Store it in the fridge once assembled.
Pasta. I've used a wholewheat pasta as it is healthier than white pasta and packed with nutrients. You can of course use any pasta and any pasta shapes. If you are preparing the tuna pasta bake in advance, it's best to cook the pasta until it is 'al dente' or still has a little bite. This is because it will continue to soften in the dish.
Tinned or Canned Tuna is widely available, fairly cheap and can be bought in vegetable oil, brine or spring water. You may find that tuna in oil has a slightly stronger taste than the ones in brine or spring water. This is because none of the oil from the tuna is lost in the vegetable oil. It's important to drain the tuna well before adding it to your pasta bake. You could also make this recipe with tinned salmon.
Cream Cheese. A soft cream cheese such as Philadelphia helps to thicken up the sauce and also adds a nice creamy texture. Using a low fat version will give you the same flavour but is healthier than a full fat version. If you don't want to use cream cheese, you can leave it out.
Cheese. For the topping I've used grated or shredded mozarella cheese as it has a nice gooey texture when melted and a mild taste which is fine as tuna has such a strong flavour. You can use any hard grated cheese such as cheddar. Buying cheeses that are already grated is an easy option, but you should be aware that packet grated cheeses contain additives to stop it clumping together in the bag which also means it won't melt as well as a cheese that you grate yourself.
Vegetables. I've added some spinach to the pasta bake as it's such an easy vegetable to add and takes no cooking. You could also add in red or yellow peppers, sweetcorn, mushrooms, spring onions, broccoli. or kale.
How to make it
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water as per the packet instructions, then drain.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic for the last 2 minutes.
- Add the canned chopped tomatoes and stir in the cream cheese (optional). This will take a couple of minutes to melt and mix together with the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach, tuna and pasta to the pan and stir until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.
- Transfer to a casserole dish, sprinkle the grated or shredded cheese over the top making sure the top is lightly covered and grill for around 5 minutes to melt the cheese. If you have made the pasta bake in advance and it needs heating through, place it in the oven on the middle shelf at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for around 20 minutes until piping hot.
- Serve it together with a side of green vegetables or salad, or just on its own.
You don't have to serve this tomato tuna pasta bake with anything else as it already contains vegetables, carbohydrates with the pasta and protein with the tuna. However, if you like you could add a side serving of garden peas or a green salad for some extra colour and nutrition.
When it comes to fish, try to buy fish that has been sustainably sourced. This means making sure it has been fished in a way that is not harmful to other marine life and that protects the stocks of Tuna. The Marine Stewardship Council has a Good Fish Guide which lists all types of fish. You can also look out for their logo on the fish you buy to make sure the fish meets sustainable standards.
A Pasta Bake is also an ideal dish for using up leftover vegetables and helping reduce your food waste. In the recipe, I use an onion, but you can add in other vegetables such as peppers, mushrooms, spring onions. Green leaves such as spinach or kale also work well. You could also use up any leftover bread and sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top for a lovely crunchy cheesy topping.
How to store Tuna Pasta Bake
You can store Tuna Pasta Bake in the fridge for 2 - 3 days. You can also freeze any leftover pasta bake although the texture of the pasta will be a little softer when it is thawed.
Can you reheat Tuna Pasta Bake?
A tuna pasta bake can be reheated and leftovers are great for lunch the next day. If you are reheating a single portion, you can do this in a microwave. If you are reheating several portions, it is best to reheat it in the oven. Cover the top loosely with tin foil to prevent further browning. Reheat it on 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Make sure your tuna pasta bake is piping hot. You should only reheat it once.
Healthy Tomato Tuna Pasta Bake
- 280 g pasta shapes wholewheat, organic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 1 onion organic, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic cloves organic, peeled and crushed
- 800 g tinned chopped tomatoes organic
- 100 g soft cream cheese low fat, organic, (optional)
- 1 dash salt
- 1 dash black pepper organic, fairtrade, freshly ground
- 100 g spinach
- 370 g tinned tuna organic, in spring water, drained weight
- 100 g mozarella cheese low fat, organic, grated or shredded
- Cook the pasta in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water as per the packet instructions, then drain.280 g pasta shapes
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic for the last 2 minutes.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 onion, 1 garlic cloves
- Add the chopped tomatoes and stir in the cream cheese until melted and mixed through. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 2 minutes.800 g tinned chopped tomatoes, 100 g soft cream cheese, 1 dash salt, 1 dash black pepper
- Add the spinach, tuna and pasta to the pan and stir until the pasta is well coated with the sauce.100 g spinach, 370 g tinned tuna
- Transfer to a casserole dish, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and grill for 5 minutes to melt and brown the cheese. Alternatively, bake in the oven for 20 minutes. at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4100 g mozarella cheese
StorageYou can store Tuna Pasta Bake in the fridge for 2 - 3 days. You can also freeze any leftover pasta bake although the texture of the pasta will be a little softer when it is thawed.
Can you reheat Tuna Pasta Bake?A tuna pasta bake can be reheated. If you are reheating a single portion, you can do this in a microwave. If you are reheating several portions, it is best to reheat it in the oven. Cover the top loosely with tin foil to prevent further browning. Reheat it on 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Make sure your tuna pasta bake is piping hot. You should only reheat it once.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.