Peas are totally underrated. They’re inexpensive, easy to cook or add to recipes, and packed with both protein and fiber. So they’re an excellent item to keep on hand in your freezer to whip up quick and easy dinners, like this Creamy Tuna Pasta with Peas. You only need a few ingredients, about 20 minutes, and you’ll have this warm, comforting dinner that will be equally as good the next day for lunch!
Want more tuna recipes? Check out my tuna recipe archives!
What Type of Canned Tuna Should I Use?
I’m going to admit that I sprung for the more expensive “solid” canned tuna for this recipe so that I could have some larger chunks of tuna meat throughout. You can use “chunk light” tuna, which tends to be more flaky and shredded, which should bring the cost of this recipe down a bit.
What Type of Parmesan is Best?
For some strange reason I couldn’t find basic grated Parmesan in the store today (seriously, where were they hiding it??) so I hand shredded a wedge of Parmesan that I had bought from Aldi a while back. Wedge Parmesan is more expensive and melts better than grated Parmesan, but grated Parmesan is totally doable in this recipe if that’s what is available to you. It may not melt as smoothly, but it will still be yuuuuumy!
Creamy Tuna Pasta with Peas
- 8 oz. pasta ($0.67)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.26)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 1 cup frozen peas ($0.38)
- 1 cup half and half* ($0.75)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan ($0.95)
- 12 oz. can solid Albacore tuna, drained ($2.79)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender. Drain the pasta in a colander.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the rest of the dish. Add the butter and minced garlic to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for about one minute, or just until it is soft and fragrant, but not browned.
- Add the frozen peas and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for a couple minutes more, or until the peas are heated through.
- Add the half and half to the skillet and allow it to come up to a simmer, stirring frequently to keep a skin from forming on the surface or the bottom from scorching. Let the half and half simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or just until it reduces slightly.
- At this point the pasta should be finished and drained. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and stir to combine. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pasta and stir to combine again. Allow the heat to melt the Parmesan as you stir. Once melted, turn the heat off. Taste the pasta and add a pinch of salt and pepper, if needed.
- Finally, add the drained tuna and fold it into the pasta. If you are using whole tuna chunks, break them up slightly as you stir. If you are using chunk light tuna that is already in small pieces, fold gently to avoid breaking the tuna up too much. Serve warm!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Tuna Pasta – Step by Step Photos
Begin cooking 8 oz. of pasta first, because you’ll be able to prepare the rest of the dish in the time it takes to cook the pasta. While your pasta is boiling, add 2 Tbsp butter and 2 cloves of garlic, minced, to a large skillet. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until it is soft and fragrant, but not brown.
Add one cup of frozen peas and a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet. Continue to sauté over medium for a few minutes, or just until the peas are heated through.
Add 1 cup half and half and allow it to come up to a simmer. Allow the half and half to simmer for a few minutes, stirring frequently, so that it reduces slightly. Make sure to stir as it simmers to prevent a skin from forming on top and to prevent the bottom from scorching.
At this point the pasta should be finished cooking. Once drained, add the cooked pasta to the skillet and stir to combine with the cream and peas.
Add the Parmesan and stir to combine. The heat from the pasta and cream will begin to melt the Parmesan. Keep stirring until it is fairly smooth, then turn the heat off. Give it a taste and add another pinch of salt and pepper, if desired.
Finally, add a drained 12 oz. can of tuna. Stir to combine. If your tuna is in whole pieces like mine, you can break it up a bit as you stir. If you’re using tuna that is closer to a shredded consistency, fold it in gently to make sure it doesn’t disintegrate and disappear into the pasta.
And that’s a wrap! You quick and easy Creamy Tuna Pasta with Peas and Parmesan is ready to eat!
Dinner doesn’t have to be difficult. :)
That was delicious! My whole family loved it as well. Three of us don’t really care for fish. Two toddlers, a teenager, husband and wife approved! I sauted the butter, garlic and tuna in the beginning. And, added a squeeze of lemon to each bowl at the end. Perfectly yummy! Thank you for your recipe.
Is there anything that can replace the cream to make it dairy free?
Try replacing the cream with vegan cream or (sugar-free) coconut cream.
Loved the recipe, this is my new go to lunch. I made a few changes and added half the butter and used garlic powder since I didn’t have fresh garlic. I added a can of fire roasted tomatoes with chiles which gave it a nice kick.
Just made this tonight and it turned out amazing! I added a bit of extra garlic and some baby spinach.
Will definitely be making it again. Thanks!
It was exactly as I imagined it would taste- delicious. Thank you!
Made this tonight and it was a winner! We added added a tablespoon of ranch powder and it threw it over the top! Thank you again for another great recipe.
So delicious! I add snipped chives in the summer from my backyard pot.
This was fantastic! We have three adults in the house, so I doubled the recipe so there would be enough for lunch leftovers. I didn’t have half and half, subbed evaporated milk with a bit of heavy cream. Also no fresh garlic, subbed garlic powder. The parmesan adds such incredible flavor!
Just made this exactly as recipe was written. Absolutely absolutely delicious and we’ll make it again!!