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This Lemon Tuna Pasta Recipe Is A Tasty Summer Delight

This Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe is perfect if you are looking for a delicious and easy recipe that is packed with flavor and an amazing dish anytime of the year.

Lemon Tuna Pasta - Summer Dish

Summer Lemon Tuna Pasta

One of the benefits of this recipe is that the sauce isn’t “cooked” so if you are looking for a delicious meal that won’t heat up your house, this recipe is for you. The other reason this amazing recipe should be a foundational part of your recipe box is because it is flexible with ingredients and is adaptable to almost any occasion. I’ve enjoyed this Tuna Pasta recipe warmed and cold, and it was just as satisfying both ways.

Lemon Tuna Pasta Recipe Ingredient Options

Here are a few things to consider when you are making this Tuna Pasta recipe if you are looking to try some after ingredients or want to use what you already have on hand.

  • Using Garlic – I’ve noticed that using garlic is a popular addition to a Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe, but because this sauce is uncooked, I strongly recommend against adding garlic. The delicate flavors of the lemon and parsley would be overpowered by the raw garlic and not to mention the impact on your breath.
  • Which Pasta – As you probably know, Italians are very specific when you combine a certain shape of pasta with a sauce. The ability to have the sauce cling to the pasta is important, which is why you need to use a long, thin pasta, like spaghetti for this recipe. I used a dried Spaghetti alla Chitarra, but any dried, long and thin pasta will work.
  • Canned Tuna – I discovered this years ago, and I can’t stress this strongly enough: Only use tuna that is packed in Olive Oil. This flavor of tuna packed in water is lacking and not worth it. Also, if you can find tuna in a jar, instead of a can, you will probably be happy with the large chunks of tuna, instead of the ground up piece from the can.
  • Salted Capers – Be careful with your choice of capers. I used the salted version and it is important to rinse and soak them to remove most of the salt. If you forget to do this you risk oversalting this delicate dish. If your capers are not packed in salt, you don’t have anything to worry about.
  • Olives – Some recipes suggest using a black olive, or more specifically a Kalamata olive, but I’m not a big fan. I chose an Italian Taggiasca Olives and I was very happy with the results. This is one of the areas that you should experiment with because tuna, capers and olives “marry” well, so try any types that interest you.

Kitchen Tools And Cookware

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Colander – 5 Qt.

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Pasta MakerGnocchi BoardPasta BoardRavioli Maker
Ravioli Press/StamperRicerBialetti Pasta PotBamboo Cutting Board Set of 3
Silpat Baking MatSantoku KnifeMeasuring Cups and SpoonsStainless Mixing Bowls
Dutch OvenMesh StrainersStainless ColanderStainless Steel Fry Pan
Lemon Tuna Pasta - Large Pieces

Large Pieces of Tuna

Lemon Tuna Pasta Frequently Asked Questions

What Do You Eat With Tuna Pasta?

This Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe is a fantastically balanced meal with a good mix of carbs, healthy fats and protein, so I don’t think there is much more needed with this meal. You could start with bruschetta, which also won’t heat up the house, and enjoy it with a nice, chilled dry white wine. Beyond that, you don’t really need anything else.

How Do Italians Eat Canned Tuna?

Mixing Bowls

Only recently have a realized how great mixing bowls with lids are and these stainless steel beauties are amazing!

Tuna and Cod are very popular, especially here in Rome, and are eaten in a wide range of different dishes. Tuna and Pasta go together well and shouldn’t be missed, but consider raising the bar a little and looking past the canned tuna and grab the tuna in a jar instead. The quality is a bit higher and the chunks of delicious tuna are large enough that it is obvious what you are eating.

Is Tuna Pasta Healthy For A Diet?

I am not a doctor, nutritionist or dietician, so you should take this advice more as an opinion rather than fact, but it is my understanding that tuna has an elevated level of mercury due to the long life of the tuna and because of this it should be eaten in moderation. Apart from the mercury, it is a healthy choice.

Lemon Tuna Pasta - Taggiasche Olives

Delicious Taggiasche Olives

Is Tuna Pasta Meant To Be Eaten Cold?

Santoku Knife

The Santoku style knife is my favorite when I’m cooking and Victorinox makes a great one!

I had the chance to eat this Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe both warm and cold, and I think I preferred the cold leftovers. The lemon really pops when it is cold and tuna can be eaten at any temperature.


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Lemon Tuna Pasta Recipe

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 4
Lemon Tuna Pasta - Ingredients

Lemon Tuna Pasta Ingredients

Lemon Tuna Pasta Ingredients

  • 30-40 Taggiasche Olives

  • 2 Tbsp. (25g) Capers

  • 3-4 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley

  • 8 oz. (250g) Canned Tuna in Olive Oil

  • 1 Whole Lemon

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano

  • Salt and Black Pepper

  • 1 lb. (500g) Spaghetti

Cooking Instructions

  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.

  2. Chop the olives, capers into small pieces and add to a large mixing bowl.

  3. Chop the fresh parsley and add most to the mixing bowl, but setting aside some to top the final dish.

  4. Drain the tuna and save the olive oil. If you are using tuna from a jar, break the large pieces of tuna with a fork and add it to the large mixing bowl. 

  5. Use a micro plane to grate the zest of a lemon into the mixing bowl and juice the lemon into the bowl, making sure not to add the seeds.

  6. Add the olive oil that the tuna was packed in. If the sauce is too dry, add a little additional olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.

  7. Add a pinch of black pepper, the dried oregano to taste. Check the level of salt and add more to taste.

  8. When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook to al dente.

  9. Add the cooked spaghetti into the mixing bowl and combine. You can adjust the sauce with more olive oil, or pasta water, to lightly coat all of the pasta with the sauce.

  10. Add to a plate. Top with some of the fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Lemon Tuna Pasta Serving Suggestions

This Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe can be served warm or cold. It is a fantastically balanced meal with a good mix of carbs, healthy fats and protein, so I don’t think there is much more needed with this meal. You could start with bruschetta and enjoy it with a nice, chilled dry white wine. Beyond that, you don’t really need anything else.

lemon tuna pasta - Warm or Cold

Serve Warm or Cold

These Classic Italian Recipes Might Also Interest You

If you enjoyed this delicious Lemon Tuna Pasta recipe, here are some of other fantastic Italian recipes that are easy weeknight options that you might want to try:

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