4.59 from 75 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 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.82
Makes: 6
mains
Italian
Freezable

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.

Close up photo of baked tuna pasta with golden browned cheesy topping and parsley.

Why this recipe works

This creamy tuna pasta is super cheesy and indulgent, whilst taking into consideration the fat/calorie level with some ingredient swaps and tricks. Try these other pasta bake recipes; Healthy Baked Ziti Inspired Pasta Bake and Aubergine Parmigiana Pasta Bake 

Ingredients

Ingredients to make the tuna pasta laid out on a pale blue back ground and labelled.

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. I also love using tuna in salads and to make Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice (Budget Recipe)

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. Try some other recipes using cream cheese: Creamy Philadelphia Chicken Pasta and Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese

Sweetcorn
The best veggie pairing for tuna when served cold so we shouldn’t mess with perfection when whipping up this warm pasta dish. I used a tin of sweetcorn, but frozen corn can also work in this recipe, and you’ll be sure its frozen at peak freshness, it’s so easy to prep and is super affordable. For sweetcorn lovers, enjoy Cowboy Caviar and Halloumi Tacos

Rigatoni
Feel free to substitute your favourite pasta shape. Spirali would work amazingly, macaroni would be great. Try this Spicy Rigatoni alla Vodka and this Mushroom Rigatoni Ragu

How to make this tuna pasta bake

Start by preheat oven to 180°C – Grill

  1. Next, add the onions and olive oil to the pan on a low/medium heat (Image 1).
  2. Gently fry for around 5 minutes until softened (not caramelised). Add the garlic in for a couple minutes to fry once softened (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with raw onions in pan, the second with onions fried until transluscent.

3. Add the rigatoni to salted boiling water, set the timer, follow the packet instruction time minus 2 minutes (Image 3).

4. 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 (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, thepasta in water in large saucepan, the second with onions, cheese, tuna and cream cream in a frying pan.

5. Add extra pasta water as necessary. Add the lemon juice and dijon mustard and stir into the sauce. Then season with salt and lots of pepper (Image 5).

6. To a large baking dish, add the drained rigatoni, sweetcorn and cheesy tuna pasta sauce (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first cheese sauce with tuna in a frying pan, the second with pasta and sauce added to white rectangle baking dish.

7. Stir to incorporate everything and top with the remaining cheddar (Image 7).

8. 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 (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, the first pasta, corn, tuna and suace anded to white rectangular baking dish, the second with the pasta baked and golden browned on top.

Tips and Tricks

  • Choose a pasta shape that can hold the creamy sauce, such as rigatoni, penne or fusilli. Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions.
  • To reduce calories use canned tuna packed in brine.
  • Use a mix of cream cheese and cheddar for that cheesy sauce!. Reserve some cheese for the topping.
  • Add your favourite seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
  • Add extra veggies for flavour and texture such as chopped red peppers, frozen peas and green beans for some colour and added nutrients.

Try some sweet recipes after the tuna pasta; Chocolate Tiffin Recipes, Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe and Simple & Easy Brownies

FAQs

Can you freeze this recipe?

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.

Try some other pasta recipes: Creamy Chicken & Bacon Pasta, Creamy Tomato Tortellini Pasta Soup and Creamy Gochujang Pasta

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!

Here’s some other meal prep recipes for you to enjoy; Rigatoni Fiorentina, Crustless Pizza Bowl and Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

overhead shot of golden browned pasta bake topped with fresh parsley on a green background.

If you tried this Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

Creamy Tuna Pasta Bake

Print
4.59 from 75 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.82
mains
Italian
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.

Notes

  • Choose a pasta shape like rigatoni, penne, or fusilli that can hold creamy sauce and cook until al dente.
  • Reduce calories by using canned tuna packed in brine.
  • Create a cheesy sauce using a combination of cream cheese and cheddar, adding favorite seasonings and vegetables for flavour and texture.

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. Christine | 1 year ago

    I made this last night, and it was so delicious! I covered the tray with foil and lost track of time, so it was baking in the oven for 15 minutes, then I left it uncovered for 10 minutes giving it a nice broil at the top. It takes like a seafood chowder. Definitely going to be making this every other month. Great recipe!5 stars

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

    1. Mimi Harrison | 2 years ago

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

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