Garlic Tuna Pasta

This garlic tuna pasta recipe is something that came completely by chance, and it’s now one of my favourite pasta dishes!

It’s also somewhat nostalgic for me, as when my husband and I first got together (and I had no idea what to cook), he said one of his favourite quick, low budget meals is canned fish and rice. This garlic tuna pasta is a bit of an upgrade from that, but honestly, it really is canned fish and pasta.

Yet, the simplicity of it is so homey, so comforting, so sweet.

We were stuck at home for some days during Chinese New Year as it was raining literally all day, and since it was public holiday, nothing was open — which is actually quite uncommon here. Shops are open til 10pm and restaurants are buzzing late into the night, and there’s tons of supermarkets are open 24/7. Even on Christmas.

We were thinking as it’s a holiday to have takeout, preferably some pho soup as it was raining, because raining = soup in my household. (That, and I’ve been weirdly craving pho noodle soup the past few weeks.) However, no restaurant was open, and the few that were didn’t want to deliver. So, into my pantry I went, and I was going to do this simple tomato sauce and pasta. My husband said he’ll have the same, and picked up the last can of tuna from the pantry and said he’ll add it to his bowl for extra protein.

“That’s a good idea,” I said. “Share, please?” And took the tuna before he could protest.

And boy did that little extra make a difference — out came this simple, filing, hearty pasta dish. It was the perfect comfort food that night, and is now in my recipe repertoire and a perfect busy mid-week dinner idea. (If it’s on the blog, it’s in my rotation, since I blog to remember my recipes in the first place!)

Not to mention, this garlic tuna pasta dish is full of nutritional goodness. Though I still prefer to use fresh ones, canned tomatoes are still full of antioxidant vitamins A and C. Likewise, canned tuna is full of omega 3 fatty acids; an excellent source of vitamin B12 and protein for the body. Together with delicious olive oil and garlic, with their anti-inflammatory properties, this dish is full of nutrients, delicious and so comforting — I hope you’ll enjoy this cozy, quick and easy meal.

Garlic Tuna Pasta

Serves 2-3


  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can / 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs mix
  • 1 can of tuna
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and pepper


1. Drizzle the olive oil onto pan on low medium heat. Add the garlic and fry until golden.

2. Add the chopped tomatoes, including the juice from the can, onto the pan. Add the Italian herbs, some salt and pepper, and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes, until the juice have evaporated and the sauce thickens.

3. While cooking, make your pasta al-dente and reserve about 2 tablespoons of the pasta water. Set aside. Next, drain the water from the can of tuna and set aside.

4. Add the pasta water to the sauce, stir it in and allow the sauce to simmer just a bit more. When the tomato sauce is done, turn off the heat. Add the tuna into the pan and mix gently. Taste the sauce and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.

5. Stir in the pasta with the butter into the sauce (or do it separately, as I did in the photo above) and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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P.S. More Italian goodness: Authentic Spaghetti Bolognese SauceFresh Summer Penne and Super Easy Italian Tomato Sauce.