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A healthy twist on classic tuna noodle casserole! This tuna pasta bake is packed with protein, veggies, and tomato sauce. Only 10 ingredients, it’s easy, nutritious and the perfect pasta for dinner! Recipe uses canned tuna as a convenient, quality protein source.

Tuna tomato pasta bake with vegetables in a white baking dish.

If you’re looking for a protein and veggie-packed recipe that the whole family can enjoy, look no further! This healthy tuna noodle casserole is delicious, nutritious, and oh-so comforting.

I used canned tuna in this recipe to add a punch of nutrition benefits, like quality protein that makes it that much more filling and satisfying. As a dietitian, it’s one of my favourite pantry staples for easy meals like this.

In addition to canned tuna, this recipe is filled with vegetables, like carrots, spinach, peppers, and tomato sauce. The flavour profile is different to a classic tuna casserole made with mushroom soup, corn, and breadcrumbs, but it is still absolutely delicious.

That said, you could easily modify this recipe to use up the veggies you have in the fridge. I hope you enjoy it 🙂

Want more pasta recipe inspiration? Check out my roundup of 20+ easy, healthy pasta recipes for more ideas. If you like this recipe, you may also enjoy my Canned Mackerel Pasta or my Canned Salmon Pasta!

A serving of tuna tomato pasta bake with vegetables in a bowl.

Ingredients needed & possible swaps

All you need to make this tuna pasta recipe are 10 simple ingredients:

  1. Short pasta of choice: While a classic tuna noodle casserole uses egg noodles, you can use any short pasta shape of choice (penna, farfalle, shells, macaroni, etc.) I personally used rigatoni here! For a gluten-free option, use certified gluten-free pasta made from either brown rice, quinoa, or legumes.
  2. Canned tuna: I will typically purchase tuna canned in water for most of my recipes. Choosing canned LIGHT tuna (or “skipjack”) also ensures a lower mercury content than albacore (or “white” tuna).
  3. Fresh garlic: For extra flavour! Feel free to add more than the recipe calls for if you like things extra garlicky.
  4. Bell pepper: Feel free to use orange, red, or yellow sweet bell peppers! The only type I would avoid are green ones, as they aren’t as sweet and juicy.
  5. Carrots: You can use any type of carrot here – the classic orange ones, yellow, or purple.
  6. Spinach: I just use boxed or bagged baby spinach for something quick to use!
  7. Green olives: You can use any green olive variety. This would likely work with black olives too, if you’re in a pinch! Olives add a nice salty flavour that pairs so well with tuna.
  8. Tomato sauce: You can use any store-bought or homemade tomato sauce. I personally enjoy marinara or a tomato-basil one. For something spicier, you can use an arrabbiata instead!
  9. Olive oil: This is used to pre-cook the veggies prior to baking, as well as to prevent dryness in the pasta.
  10. Cheddar: I used freshly grated aged cheddar, but you are welcome to use a pre-shredded variety as well. Cheddar is added to the top of the pasta before baking – it melts beautifully. For a vegan option, use a vegan/dairy-free alternative for cheddar. If you can’t find these, you can try using a different variety of vegan “cheese,” like mozzarella or parmesan.
  11. Optional: diced onion or shallots, for added flavour – add it at the same time as the garlic. It would taste great, I simply just don’t digest onions very well!
  12. Optional: fresh herbs, like chopped basil or green onions to garnish the finished pasta bake

Full ingredient measurements and detailed instructions are located in the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Got other veggies in the fridge? Feel free to use or include different veggies – for instance you could use some chopped broccoli, sliced cremini mushrooms, corn kernels, or some torn kale leaves in here, too.

If you like a little spice, feel free to add in some red pepper flakes!

Recipe ingredient flatlay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should tuna pasta be hot or cold?

While I love a cold tuna pasta salad, this tuna pasta bake is meant to be enjoyed hot 🙂

Can you cook canned tuna?

Because canned tuna is already pre-cooked, you are able to eat it directly from the can without any extra cooking. That said, it’s totally fine to cook it too!

As you can see in this recipe, the canned tuna is both cooked on the stovetop and in the oven. I find it has zero negative affect on the texture or flavour of canned tuna!

Step-by-step: how to make this tuna pasta bake

Chopped carrots, peppers, olives, and garlic sautéed in a pan.

While the oven heats and pasta cooks, start by sautéing garlic in olive oil. Then, add your chopped bell peppers, carrots, and green olives and cook for 5-7 minutes.

Canned tuna and spinach stirred into cooked vegetables.

Next, stir in baby spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Then, stir in canned tuna. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Tuna and vegetable mixture in a baking dish.

Then, transfer the cooked vegetable and tuna mixture to a casserole dish.

Cooke pasta on top of tuna vegetable mixture in baking dish.

Add cooked pasta to the casserole dish.

Tomato sauce being poured over cooked pasta, canned tuna, and vegetables.

Add tomato sauce and additional olive oil.

Cooked pasta, canned tuna, cooked vegetables stirred together in tomato sauce in a baking dish.

Stir everything together until well-combined.

Freshly grated cheese on top of pasta in casserole dish, prior to baking.

Spread pasta mixture in an even layer in the baking dish. Try to have more of the pasta exposed on the top, so that it gets nice and crisp! Sprinkle cheddar cheese overtop of everything in an even layer.

Baked tuna pasta casserole.

Transfer baking dish to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Remove from oven, add fresh herbs to garnish (if desired), and serve hot!

Storage & reheating tips

This recipe will keep for about 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. You can easily reheat leftovers in the microwave or in the oven.

Leftover pasta bake can also be frozen in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. It will maintain best quality for 1-2 months, but will be safe to eat beyond that time.

After thawing in the fridge, it will keep for an additional 3-4 days. If thawing in the microwave, it should be eaten immediately.

Vegetables and canned tuna sautéed in a large pan.

What are the health benefits of canned tuna?

One of my favourite easy protein sources is canned tuna. It’s so convenient to keep in the pantry to throw into meals like this pasta bake!

Tuna is an awesome source of:

  • complete protein, with a standard 3 oz (85 gram) serving of tuna provides about 22 grams
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • micronutrients like:
    • selenium
    • vitamin D
    • iron

TIP: Choosing canned LIGHT tuna (or “skipjack”) also ensures a lower mercury content than albacore (or “white” tuna).

Tuna tomato pasta bake with vegetables.

More healthy pasta bake recipes:

Did you give this Healthy Tuna Tomato Pasta Bake Recipe a try? Let me know by leaving a comment and recipe rating below!

If you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram or Pinterest – seeing your creations always makes my day. You can also subscribe to my email list to never miss a new recipe or nutrition education post!

Get the Recipe: Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole (Pasta Bake)

A healthy twist on classic tuna noodle casserole! This tuna pasta bake is packed with protein, veggies, and tomato sauce. Only 10 ingredients, it's easy, nutritious and the perfect pasta for dinner. Recipe uses canned tuna as a convenient, quality protein source that makes this meal so filling and satisfying!
Tuna tomato pasta bake with vegetables in a white baking dish.
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5 from 4 votes
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Ingredients

  • 3 cups small pasta shape, dry (I used rigatoni!)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, cored + chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped (approx. 2-4 carrots, depending on size)
  • 8 large green olives, chopped (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 4 cans tuna, drained (see note for size + type)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (e.g. marinara)
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, freshly grated or shredded
  • Optional: chopped basil or green onion, to garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain when done.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Sauté garlic (and onion if using) for 2 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned.
  • Then, add bell peppers, carrots, and olives. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Then, stir in canned tuna and tomato sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer cooked vegetable and tuna mixture to a large baking dish. Add pasta, remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and stir everything together until well-combined.
  • Spread pasta mixture in an even layer in the baking dish. Try to have more of the pasta exposed on the top, so that it gets nice and crisp! Sprinkle cheddar cheese overtop of everything in an even layer.
  • Transfer baking dish to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
  • Remove from oven, add fresh herbs to garnish (if desired), and serve hot!

Notes

*SERVINGS: Recipe as written makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you and your family are 😉
*CANNED TUNA:
  • I used 4 standard sized cans for this recipe (170 grams or 6 ounces per can). If you can only find the larger cans of tuna, use 2 of those instead of 4!
  • Choosing canned LIGHT tuna (or “skipjack”) also ensures a lower mercury content than albacore (or “white” tuna).
 
*LEFTOVERS:
  • This recipe will keep for about 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Leftover pasta can also be frozen in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. It will maintain best quality for 1-2 months, but will be safe to eat beyond that time. After thawing in the fridge, it will keep for an additional 3-4 days. If thawing in the microwave, it should be eaten immediately.
 
*RECIPE MODIFICATIONS:
  • For a gluten-free option, use certified gluten-free pasta made from either brown rice, quinoa, or legumes.
  • Feel free to use different pasta shapes, such as penne, farfalle, or macaroni. Just be sure to use a short shape!
  • For a vegan option, use a vegan/dairy-free alternative for cheddar. If you can’t find these, you can try using a different variety of vegan “cheese,” like mozzarella or parmesan.
  • Feel free to use or include different veggies – for instance you could use some chopped broccoli, sliced cremini mushrooms, corn kernels, or some torn kale leaves in here, too.
  • For extra flavour, feel free to add some chopped onion to the veggies (I personally just don’t digest it well!)
  • If you like a little spice, feel free to add in some red pepper flakes!

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know by leaving a recipe rating below, or by tagging @walderwellness on Instagram. I love seeing your beautiful creations!

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