Mediterranean Tuna Pasta

Quick and easy! Tuna pasta with canned tuna, tomato, red onion, kalamata olives, lemon, capers, and Mozzarella cheese

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 2 5-ounce cans of albacore tuna (preferably packed in olive oil), drained*
  • 1 tomato, cored, cut in half crosswise and squeezed of excess juice, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup pitted, kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp capers, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (more if you are using tuna packed in water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta, dry
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

*If you are using a good quality brand of canned tuna, packed in good quality olive oil, there is no need to drain. The oil is highly flavored. If you question the quality of the olive oil, drain it, and add back the same amount of your own good quality olive oil (about 2 Tbsp, listed in the ingredients).


1 Put pasta water on to boil: Heat 2 quarts of salted water (1 Tbsp kosher salt), to a boil. While heating the pasta water, prep  the ingredients.

2 Stir drained tuna with tomato, olives, onion, parsley, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper: Place drained tuna in a medium bowl. Stir with a fork to break up the largest chunks of tuna. Add the tomato, olives, red onion, parsley, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.


3 Boil pasta until al dente: When the pasta water comes to a boil, add the pasta and boil, uncovered, on a rolling boil until al dente (cooked through, but still a little firm to the bite). Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

4 Add pasta to tuna mixture, sprinkle with Mozz: Drain the pasta and immediately add the pasta to the tuna mixture.

Sprinkle with the grated Mozzarella cheese and stir until everything is well combined. If the pasta seems a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and/or some more olive oil.

mediterranean-tuna-pasta-method-1.5 mediterranean-tuna-pasta-method-2

Serve warm.

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  • the connasewer

    Wild Planet at Costco is tops and a 4-pack deal.

  • Barb

    It was very good! I made this during winter when fresh tomatoes aren’t very good, so I did omit it and also cooked the onion because I wanted it as a hot dish rather than a salad.


  • Nana

    American Tuna is the only brand I buy anymore. Pricey but worth EVERY RED CENT! USA caught and canned and of exquisite taste. Never going back to fake tuna again. Canned and cook so has its own oils. Awesome sauce!!!!

  • Karen

    Just wondering what brand tuna everyone is using? I’m not a fish eater but trying to train myself to like it for health purposes. I always just bought Chicken of The Sea, Bumblebee, etc) in the can. Also I heard that albacore has a lot more mercury in it than the darker tuna. I stopped buying tuna in oil years ago so I’m really at a loss. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m determined to start eating vegan so fish must be in the diet ….

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Karen, I usually use “Wild Planet” brand tuna. It’s excellent.

      • Karen

        Thanks Elise! I just got home from the grocery store and didn’t see that brand. I guess I’ll have to head to Wegmans or Whole Foods or maybe even Amazon to look for Wild Planet.

        • Teresa Brodek

          We get wild planet tuna at Costco. So much better than any other tuna I’ve ever eaten

  • Betty Haniotakis

    This turned out great – I used 500 grams of gluten-free rotini (hate having uncooked pasta left over), a handful of cherry tomatoes (quartered), and double most of the ingredients except the tuna. I used the olive oil from the tuna which gave a nice flavor. Did not have Mozzarella, so used a bland cheese blend plus some flavorful Greek cheese (not feta). We added some pantry items to each plate to taste (prepared horseradish, soy sauce, good balsamic vinegar), Thanks for the inspiration.


  • Peg Shryne

    I’ve made this several times, for the 2 of us, for company, and (doubled) to take to a potluck. It’s always devoured! Such an easy, simple recipe that packs a ton of flavor! Like most, I tweak it depending on what’s in the pantry, but it’s so versatile that it’s always delicious!

  • Erin

    Long-time lurker here :) This is one of my fav recipes I’ve ever made from SR and is s go-to in our house. I actually do a “gluten free” version most often, swapping out the pasta for a can of garbanzo beans. I find that one 5oz. can tuna + one can garbanzos gives me two meals. And it’s so versatile – salmon swap for tuna, green olives in lieu of kalamata, out of onion but got shallots? sure! I also always add a clove of garlic, prefer cilantro to parsley, and no cheese due to allergy, but it always tastes fab no matter what goes into it. Thanks for the inspiration!


  • patti

    changed up the pasta with penne)) tuna in can with good olive oil is the best

  • Karen Steffen

    This is DELICIOUS! It is so easy to make and tastes like it should be more complicated! The olives and capers takes this up another notch! Has become one of our “go to” meals! Love your site! Thanks!


  • Carly

    This is way more delicious than one might expect given the simplicity and already-have-it-in-the-cupboard nature of the ingredients. I think that the lemon juice added a critical balance, and though I would normally shy away from using tuna packed in oil, I think that that also made a huge difference.

    I’ve been tweaking with the leftovers and can recommend adding sundried tomatoes, (frozen) kale or spinach, and even hot sauce if you like your food with a kick.

    THANK YOU Elise, for your incredibly reliable recipes and the care with which you present them!

  • Carol

    Like the commenter above, I pan sauted some sockeye salmon and combined all warm and right out of the pan. It was delicious and this will be a regular at our house. We have enough leftovers for another meal. I made the recipe exactly as you wrote it as we like all those ingredients. No changes here—well, ‘cept for the sockeye. Yum yum

  • Karen

    I made this for dinner tonight, with one change. I had some leftover sockeye salmon, so I used that instead, and it was delicious. Next time I’ll use tuna, which I’m sure will also be delicious. This is a great quick recipe using things I’m likely to have on hand. Thanks!


  • marilyn

    This sounds great, but can it be served as a cold dish?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Marilyn, I’ve had it both cold and hot, and it’s better warm. If you want to make it a pasta salad, I recommend leaving out the cheese and adding a spoonful or so of mayo.

  • Ginny

    This sounds wonderful! Is there something that you could suggest that I might substitute for the pasta to make it lower in carbs?

    • Elise Bauer

      Zucchini ribbons? Blanched cauliflower? Or just skip the cheese and pasta and serve the tuna mixture in a lettuce cup.

      • Ginny

        Thanks, Elise

        After I sent my comment, I thought, I wonder if cauliflower would work. If I don’t like that I’ll try zucchini!

  • Gary

    The pictures are awesome but the dish is incredibly good. This is the type of dish that is good even at 3pm as a snack at the office. The capers add that extra slight vinegar taste which blends well with the tuna, pasta, kalamata olive. If I want to impress my friends with a dish at a picnic! This one is a total winner because it is the kind of dish I can make hours ahead and still will taste wonderful.

  • Torrey

    This is fantastic! Great combination of flavors, especially with summer heirloom tomatoes. I used whole grain einkorn pasta, and it was a good match. Definitely making again.

  • Missy

    I come to your site a LOT but never comment-thought it was high time to tell you I LOVE it. We have been using your bruschetta recipe for umpteen years-it’s what led me here. Today I needed a muffin recipe for a ladies thing tomorrow. Thank you for being here-and the lovely photos because I hate recipes without photos. Cheers to you!

  • Denise P.

    I made this last night for DH, and he gobbled it. Used good quality tuna packed in olive oil and fresh tomatoes from the garden. This was fantastic!

  • Danielle

    Eating right now, so good and easy! Thank you, Elise! You always have the best recipes!

  • Alicia

    Worth the splurge on some quality tuna packed in oil and whole wheat pasta. I found some awesome domestic parmesean that I may use instead (we lactose intolerant types tend to digest the harder cheeses easier) and I think this parm with a balsamic vinegar rind would give this an extra kick.

  • Sherry C.

    Very good! I may add some fresh spinach next time. I have a kitchen scale, so I weighed the pasta, however one box is one pound and you could just use about 3/4’s of a box.

  • Natalie

    About how many 1 cup measuring cups (8 oz dry) of pasta is 3/4 lb? Also, glad to hear you have a sweetheart. Lucky sweetie, if you test recipe development often!

  • Robert

    I do something similar for this for my lunches at work. Usually just noodles, chicken, a salad dressing and veggies. I am definitely going to try this!

  • Sandy S

    This looks great! I will drop the mozzarella, to stay dairy free but with all of the other flavorful ingredients it should still be very tasty.
    Must say Elise that I could live on the July recipes! Man-alive! you just kept hitting it out of the park! Thanks for keeping us good-to-go with such terrific, yet easy in season recipes!

    • Elise Bauer

      Thank you Sandy! Gotta love the summer with all the great produce available.