4.67 from 56 votes

Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake

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This protein-packed creamy tuna pasta bake is so comforting and delicious. Whip it up for meal prep or to share with family/housemates.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
£0.82
Makes: 6
mains
Italian
creamy tuna, pasta bake, tuna pasta
Freezable

Table of Contents

  1. Why this recipe works
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to make this recipe
  4. FAQ
  5. How to meal prep this recipe

Why this recipe works

This creamy tuna pasta bake is so comforting, as any pasta bake should be. It’s perfect now that the nights are getting a bit cooler and we’re looking to food (mostly pasta) to warm us up. It’s super cheesy and indulgent, whilst taking into consideration the fat/calorie level with some ingredient swaps and tricks.

Close up shot of golden brown cooked tuna pasta bake

Ingredients

Tuna

I used tuna stored in brine in this recipe, which reduces the calories in comparison to oil packed tuna. It’s also more flavourful than tuna in water, in my opinion.

Cheddar

Mild cheddar adds a perfect richness to the creamy sauce and provides thickness and body to the sauce once melted. It also obviously crisps up amazingly to form the most flavourful golden cheese layer on top of the pasta bake.

Low-fat cream cheese

With most creamy tuna pasta bakes, you’ll find that many people use a roux (flour, butter and milk) to form the base of the cheese sauce. I wanted to keep this recipe super simple by using cream cheese, cheddar and pasta water to create the cheesy sauce. This reduces the prep time before the oven for the pasta bake.

Sweetcorn

The best veggie pairing for tuna when served cold so we shouldn’t mess with perfection when whipping up this warm pasta dish.

Rigatoni

Feel free to substitute your favourite pasta shape. Spirali would work amazingly, macaroni would be great. Or if you wanted to make.

INgreidnets shot for tuna pasta bake

 

How to make this recipe

Preheat oven to 180°C – Grill Start by adding the rigatoni to salted boiling water, set the timer, follow the packet instruction time minus 2 minutes.

rigatoni boiling in a pot

Gently sweat the diced onion in olive oil until translucent.

diced onion sautéing in a non-stick frying pan

In the same pan, add the drained tuna, cream cheese, grated cheddar and two ladles of pasta water. Stir until the cheese melts and a creamy sauce is achieved. Add extra pasta water as necessary.

cheddar, cream cheese and tuna are stirred into the non-stick frying pan

Add the lemon juice and dijon mustard and stir into the sauce. Then season with salt and lots of pepper.

creamy tuna pasta sauce

Then add the drained rigatoni, sweetcorn and cheesy tuna pasta sauce into to a large baking dish.

rigatoni, sweetcorn and cheesy sauce are stirred into a baking dish

Stir to incorporate everything and top with the remaining cheddar.

overhead shot of uncooked tuna pasta bake

Pop the cheesy tuna pasta bake under the grill for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is crispy and golden brown. Top with fresh parsley and season with salt and lots of black pepper.

FAQ

Can you freeze it?

Yes definitely! I’d cook the whole batch in one baking dish and then divide into individual portions and freeze once cooled.

How do I reheat this recipe?

You can either reheat the tuna pasta bake in the microwave or oven. If you pop your heat proof meal prep dish under the grill for a couple of minutes you’ll get a better crispy cheese layer, but the microwave works just fine in a rush.

Can I use full fat cream cheese?

Yes you can, just bare in mind the fats/calories will increase.

How to meal prep this recipe

Cook the whole batch as described in the recipe. Allow to cool and then divide into 6 meal prep containers. Store the parsley separately. When it’s time to eat, remove from the fridge/freezer and in the oven for 10 minutes or under the grill until crispy and golden. Season with salt and lots of black pepper and enjoy!

Golden brown cooked tuna pasta bake in white baking dish

Love meal prep?  This recipe belongs to one of my exclusive weekly meal plan found in The Budget Club. Click here to check out what we have to offer!

Other tuna recipes…

Tuna and Courgette Burgers

Tuna-Mayo Courgette Salad

Other pasta bake recipes…

Healthy Baked Ziti Inspired Pasta Bake

Aubergine Parmigiana Pasta Bake 

 

Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake

Print Pin It
4.67 from 56 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
£0.82
mains
Italian
creamy tuna, pasta bake, tuna pasta
Freezable
Servings: 6
This protein-packed creamy tuna pasta bake is so comforting and delicious. Whip it up for meal prep or to share with family/housemates.

Ingredients

  • 400 g rigatoni (£0.65)
  • 1 onion,finely diced (£0.09)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (£0.69)
  • 3 tins tuna, drained (£0.59x3)=(£1.77)
  • 100 g (60g+ 40g cheddar) (£1.74/2)=(£0.87)
  • 200 g cream cheese (£0.79)
  • ¼ lemon, juiced (£0.69/4)=(£0.17)
  • 260 g (1 large tin) sweetcorn (£0.35)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C – Grill
  • Start by adding the rigatoni to salted boiling water, timer set to 2 minutes minus the packet time.
  • Next, add the onions and olive oil to the pan on a low/medium heat. Gently fry for around 5 minutes until softened (not caramelised). Add the garlic in for a couple minutes to fry once softened.
  • Then, add the drained tuna, cream cheese, cheddar and two ladles of pasta water. Stir until the cheese melts and a creamy sauce is achieved. Add extra pasta water as necessary.
  • Stir the lemon juice and dijon mustard into the sauce and season with salt and lots of pepper. Pour the rigatoni, sweetcorn and creamy tuna sauce into a baking dish (around 12 inch x 10 inch). Stir to incorporate everything and top with the remaining cheddar. Pop under the grill for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and crispy.
  • Top with fresh parsley to serve.

Nutrition

Servings: 6 servings
Fat: 19g
Calories: 540kcal
Carbohydrates: 57g
Protein: 34g

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Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I hope you loved it. I’d be so grateful if you could leave a comment/rating - it makes my day hearing your feedback!

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Comments

  1. Tried this recipe yesterday and it was delicious and very easy. Will be looking at more recipes to try.5 stars

    1. Mimi Harrison | 8 months ago

      So glad to hear that Sally! Thanks for your message and hope you enjoy my other recipes 🙂

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