Tuna Pasta With Tomato and Olives

This easy to make tuna pasta recipe is smothered in a sauce of canned tuna, tomato, garlic, shallots, olives, and parsley.

Tuna Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives
Elise Bauer

Looking for a quick and easy midweek meal? This tuna pasta with tomato and olives couldn't be easier to make and comes together in 30 minutes, start to finish.

Not only do you likely have everything you need to make this dish already in your pantry, but the combination of tuna, tomato, and olives? Really really good.

Tuna Pasta with Tomatoes and Olives
Elise Bauer

The Best Tuna for Tuna Pasta

Canned tuna makes for a quick and simple meal and, for this recipe, we prefer tuna packed in olive oil. The oil ups the flavor in the tuna and adds moisture to the sauce. If you're using tuna packed in water, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pasta.

More Easy Canned Tuna Recipes

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Tuna Pasta With Tomato and Olives

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings

If you are using water-packed, not oil-packed tuna, add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce. You may also want to add a minced anchovy.

Prep the ingredients while the pasta water is heating.


  • Kosher salt for the pasta water, plus more to taste

  • 12 ounces short pasta (such as shells, macaroni, rigatoni)

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons if you are using tuna packed in water)

  • 1/4 cup minced shallot or onion

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2 (5-ounce) cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained

  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives

  • 1 teaspoon capers

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  1. Boil the water:

    Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil (add 1 tablespoon salt for every 2 quarts of water). While the water is heating, prep the ingredients and start the sauce.

  2. Sauté the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes:

    Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped shallots, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes at the same time to the pan. Let cook for about 30 seconds. (If you are subbing onions for the shallots, let them cook a few minutes before adding the garlic and red pepper flakes.)

    sautéing shallots for canned tuna pasta sauce
    Elise Bauer
  3. Add the tuna:

    Drain the canned tuna and add it to the pan. If you are using tuna packed in water and not olive oil, add 2 or 3 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.

    canned tuna cooking for tuna pasta with tomatoes and olives
    Elise Bauer

    Break up any chunks of tuna with a fork or wooden spoon. Let simmer for 1 minute.

  4. Add the tomatoes, olives, capers, salt, and pepper:

    Stir in the crushed tomatoes, olives, capers, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

    tomatoes, olives and canned tuna sauce for pasta
    Elise Bauer

    Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to the lowest setting to gently cook while you cook the pasta.

  5. Cook the pasta:

    Add dry pasta to the pot of boiling salted water. Cook uncovered at a vigorous full boil until al dente — cooked, but still a little firm to the bite, about 13 to 14 minutes.

    pasta boiling for tuna pasta
    Elise Bauer

    Before draining, remove 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.

  6. Combine the pasta, sauce, Parmesan and parsley:

    Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce. Toss with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley. If the pasta seems a little dry after a few minutes, add back in some of the reserved pasta water.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
415 Calories
17g Fat
37g Carbs
29g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 415
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 1247mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 12mg 59%
Calcium 130mg 10%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 590mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.