This Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe with Feta Cheese is made with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, shallots, garlic, lemon zest, tuna, and rigatoni pasta.
I needed to try this TikTok Feta pasta trend so I decided to add a twist to it with tuna. Canned tuna is so underrated - they’re inexpensive, require no cooking, and are packed with protein. It is super easy to add this tuna to the amazing Tiktok Feta Pasta dish.
What is a Tuna Pasta Bake?
Tuna pasta bake is a delicious and comforting dish made with pasta, canned tuna, vegetables, cheese, and a creamy sauce. It's typically baked in the oven until bubbly and golden on top, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal. Tuna pasta bake is a popular dish in many cuisines, and variations of it can be found in different regions around the world. It's a great way to use pantry staples like canned tuna and pasta to create a hearty and flavorful meal that is loved by both kids and adults alike. Tuna pasta bake can be customized with different types of pasta, vegetables, cheeses, and seasonings, making it a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit individual tastes and dietary preferences.
Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Feta cheese
- Cherry tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Red pepper flakes
- Can of tuna
- Rigatoni or bite sized pasta
See recipe card for Tuna Pasta Bake with Feta Cheese quantities.
How to make Tuna Pasta Bake
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large ovenproof making dish, place the feta in the center of the dish and add the tomatoes, shallot garlic, and olive oil around. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until tomatoes are bursting and feta is golden on top.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to pasta instructions. Add the cooked pasta and tuna and stir.
Add parmesan cheese on top or even extra crumbled feta cheese.
Hint: Don't forget to cook the pasta al dente!
What to serve with Tuna Pasta Bake
- Salad: A fresh, crisp salad can complement the rich flavors of a tuna pasta bake. Consider serving a simple green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a tangy vinaigrette. A Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing can also be a great option. Check out my Fennel Salad Recipe.
- Garlic bread: Warm, crusty garlic bread is a classic side that pairs well with a tuna pasta bake. You can make it easily by spreading butter and minced garlic on slices of baguette or Italian bread, then toasting them in the oven until golden and crispy.
- Roasted vegetables: Roasted vegetables are a flavorful and nutritious side dish that can complement the creamy tuna pasta bake. You can roast vegetables like broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, or asparagus with some olive oil, salt, and pepper until tender and slightly caramelized.
- Feta Cheese: I would get Greek feta which is briny, tangy and sharp. You must get the block as getting the already crumble cheese won’t melt well.
- Tomatoes: You can use cherry or grape tomatoes that are small and burst perfectly.
- Shallot: I used a shallot but you can use a ¼ cup onion, finely diced.
- Garlic: You can smash the garlic or mince it.
- Olive Oil: I would use extra virgin olive oil for best quality and taste.
- Tuna: I went for a better brand of tuna than usual with larger chunks of tuna. You can also use the “chunk light” tuna, which is more shredded and flakier – either canned tuna works!
- Pasta: I used rigatoni but you can use any bite size pasta.
Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe Variations
- Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Bake: Add Mediterranean flavors to your tuna pasta bake by using ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese. You can also incorporate Mediterranean herbs and spices like oregano, thyme, and basil for added aroma and flavor.
- Veggie-loaded Tuna Pasta Bake: Boost the nutritional value of your tuna pasta bake by adding a variety of vegetables. You can include chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, peas, or any other veggies of your choice to add color, texture, and nutrients to the dish.
- Cheesy Tuna Pasta Bake: If you love cheese, consider adding extra cheese to your tuna pasta bake. You can use a combination of cheeses such as cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, or Gruyère to create a rich and gooey cheese sauce that melts beautifully over the pasta and tuna.
- Pesto Tuna Pasta Bake: Use pesto sauce as a base for your tuna pasta bake instead of the traditional creamy sauce. Pesto made with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil can add a burst of herbaceous and nutty flavors to the dish, which pairs well with the tuna and pasta.
Check out this Pink Sauce Pasta.
- Baking dish: A baking dish or casserole dish is essential for baking the pasta bake in the oven. Choose a size that can comfortably accommodate all the ingredients and allow room for the dish to expand as it cooks.
- Pot for boiling pasta: You'll need a pot to cook the pasta until it is al dente, or firm to the bite. Choose a pot that is large enough to hold the amount of pasta you plan to use, along with plenty of water for boiling.
- Mixing bowls: You'll need mixing bowls to prepare and mix the sauce for the tuna pasta bake. Choose bowls that are large enough to hold the sauce ingredients and allow for easy stirring and mixing.
- Utensils: You'll need basic kitchen utensils such as a spatula, a wooden spoon or silicone spoon for stirring, a whisk for mixing the sauce, and a slotted spoon for draining the pasta.
- Knife and cutting board: You may need a knife and cutting board to chop vegetables, garlic, or other ingredients, depending on the recipe you are following.
- Oven: A standard kitchen oven is required for baking the tuna pasta bake. Make sure your oven is preheated to the recommended temperature in the recipe before baking.
- Optional: Blender or food processor - If you're making a sauce that requires blending, such as a creamy sauce or pesto sauce, you may need a blender or food processor to puree the ingredients until smooth.
- Optional: Grater - If you're using cheese that needs to be grated, such as Parmesan or mozzarella, a grater can be handy for shredding the cheese.
How to store Tuna Pasta Bake
- Allow the tuna pasta bake to cool to room temperature. It's important not to store hot or warm food in the refrigerator, as it can raise the temperature inside the refrigerator and potentially spoil other foods.
- Transfer the leftover tuna pasta bake to an airtight container or wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. You can also cover the baking dish with aluminum foil if it's oven-safe and has a tight-fitting lid.
- Place the container or covered baking dish in the refrigerator. Store the tuna pasta bake in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If using a baking dish covered with aluminum foil, make sure it's tightly sealed to prevent any air from entering and causing the pasta bake to dry out.
- Alternatively, you can portion the tuna pasta bake into individual servings before storing to make it easier to reheat and serve later.
- Avoid freezing tuna pasta bake, as the texture and quality of the dish may deteriorate when frozen and thawed.
Tuna Pasta Bake Recipe Top tips
- Use quality tuna: Since tuna is the star ingredient in a tuna pasta bake, using high-quality canned tuna can make a big difference in the flavor and texture of the final dish. Opt for solid or chunk tuna packed in water or olive oil for the best results.
- Cook pasta al dente: When boiling the pasta, be sure to cook it al dente, which means it should be firm to the bite. This is because the pasta will continue to cook as the dish bakes in the oven, and you don't want it to become overly soft or mushy.
- Add flavor with herbs and spices: To enhance the flavor of your tuna pasta bake, experiment with herbs and spices. Basil, oregano, thyme, and parsley are commonly used in pasta dishes and can add a burst of flavor. You can also add garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes for an extra kick.
- Include vegetables: Tuna pasta bake is a great opportunity to sneak in some extra veggies. You can add vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, spinach, peas, or broccoli to the dish to boost its nutritional value and add color and texture.
- Don't over-bake: To prevent the pasta bake from becoming dry, be careful not to over-bake it. Follow the recommended baking time in the recipe and keep an eye on it while it's in the oven. You want the cheese to be melted and golden, but not overly browned or burnt.
- Let it rest before serving: Allow the tuna pasta bake to rest for a few minutes after removing it from the oven before serving. This will help the dish set and make it easier to slice and serve.
- Leftovers can be delicious: Like many baked pasta dishes, tuna pasta bake can be even more flavorful the next day as the flavors meld together. Don't hesitate to enjoy the leftovers for a tasty and convenient meal.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove