This homemade, creamy pesto tuna pasta is the easiest 20-minute recipe! Served hot or cold, this versatile dish is full of protein, delicious, & healthy!

three white bowls of pesto tuna pasta  with tomatoes next  to a saucer with homemade pesto sauce

What Makes This Recipe Great

Creamy pesto, gluten-free pasta, chunky tuna, tomatoes, and walnuts make this fresh, flavorful pesto tuna pasta the yummiest, easiest dish of the summer! In just 20 minutes, you’ll have a protein-packed lunch or dinner that the whole family will love.

Serve hot with a delicious side salad for dinner, or cold as a BBQ take-along pasta salad, you just can’t go wrong with this tasty pesto pasta with tuna.

Ingredient Notes

nesting bowls filled and labeled with recipe ingredients

Chunk Light Tuna: My personal favorite brand of canned tuna is Wild Planet. You can find this at most local grocery stores, as well as some Costco’s! Safe Catch is another great brand if you are watching your mercury intake.

Jovial Foods Fusilli Pasta: This is my favorite gluten-free pasta brand. Feel free to use this or your own favorite! Banza pasta would add in some extra protein.

Mayo: I like avocado oil mayo from brands like Sir Kensington’s and Primal Kitchen. You can always sub in vegan mayo if you don’t do eggs!

Pesto: In this recipe, I provide steps to make the easiest homemade creamy pesto, but in a pinch, you can always use a jar of your favorite pesto if desired.

Nutritional Yeast: This is deactivated yeast that has a “cheesy” flavor. It is a great vegan sub for parmesan! If you tolerate dairy, feel free to sub in regular parmesan cheese.

Recipe Step by Step

four quadrants of step by step photos for how to make this pesto tuna pasta recipe
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
  2. Combine the basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, olive oil, mayo, and water in a food processor. Pulse a few times until ALMOST smooth but still a little chunky. 
  3. Add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, tuna, and creamy pesto to a large bowl and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy (hot OR cold as a pasta salad)!

Mary’s Tips & Tricks

Protein: Feel free to sub chopped cooked (or canned) chicken instead of tuna, or omit the tuna completely. 

Nut Free Pesto: If you prefer not to use walnuts, feel free to sub in sunflowers seeds!

Serving: Serve hot as a delicious pasta dinner or cold as a pasta salad!

Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and serve warm or cold. Give it a good stir before serving!

a closeup shot of three white bowls filled with pesto pasta and tomatoes.

Recipe FAQs

Is this pesto pasta with tuna healthy?

One serving of this pasta is 406 calories and 19 grams of protein. This is significantly healthier than other pasta dishes with higher calorie counts.

What else can I make with this homemade pesto?

The creamy pesto this recipe calls for would also make amazing tuna sandwiches! Simply omit the pasta and add in another can or two of tuna. Serve the tuna on your favorite gluten-free bread or on top of greens for a delicious pesto tuna salad.

Can I add cheese to this pasta?

Yes! If you’re not dairy-free and would prefer to sub in parmesan cheese instead of the nutritional yeast in this pesto pasta with tuna, go for it!

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Pesto Tuna Pasta

This homemade, creamy pesto pasta with tuna is the easiest 20-minute recipe! Served hot or cold, this versatile dish is full of protein, delicious, & healthy!
5 from 6 votes
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, sub sunflower seeds for nut free!
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, feel free to sub parmesan if dairy is tolerated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 12 oz box of Jovial Foods Fusilli, or gluten free pasta of choice
  • 2 cans chunk light tuna, drained and mashed up with a fork

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions, then drain and set aside.
  • Combine the basil, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, olive oil, mayo, and water in a food processor. Pulse a few times until ALMOST smooth but still a little chunky. 
  • Add the cooked pasta, tomatoes, tuna, and creamy pesto to a large bowl and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy (hot OR cold as a pasta salad)!

Notes

Protein: Feel free to sub chopped cooked chicken instead of tuna, or omit the tuna completely. 
Serving: Serve hot as a delicious pasta dinner or cold as a pasta salad!
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and serve warm or cold. Give it a good stir before serving!

Nutrition

Calories: 406kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 24mg, Sodium: 412mg, Potassium: 282mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 583IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 36mg, Iron: 3mg