Spaghetti with Tuna-Caper-Olive Pesto

Not only does this dish taste splendid, it’s perfect for when you are simply hungry and are craving something satisfying but don’t have the time (or energy) to cook! Other than preparing the pasta, there is no cooking involved in this dish. It’s a simple pesto that can be pulled together in minutes.

For those of you that like canned tuna with pasta and the idea of cooking a quick dinner for two, this dish is a must try this. Here’s a little secret: you can be extra lazy this weekend (and selfish) and make a batch of the tuna-caper pesto and eat one half of it for lunch and the rest for dinner — all — by — yourself. Yay ME!

Sommer-Tomaten auf dem Markt
Mixed tomatoes at the farmers market

For a little extra summer freshness, just add a handful of chopped up sweet cherry tomatoes after you have tossed the pasta with the pesto mix. There are so many varieties and colors (!) of cherry-like tomatoes available at the farmers market this time of year — love it! The Rindermarkthalle in Hamburg St. Pauli (also a famous soccer team) also has an amazing selection. I find it hard not to add them to every summer dish I make!

This dish is also fabulous topped with something green. In the summer months, when my salad cravings are at an all-time high, I love to top my pasta off with a generous handful of tender baby arugula leaves. So healthy, fresh and delicious!

Regarding tuna packed in brine, I’ve tried it and believe me, you need to use tuna packed in olive oil. It’s moister and tastes better. And even though I buy olive oil packed tuna, I drain it as I have my own favorite olive oils and…well…I’m convinced that not all olive oil is created equal, so I like to supplement it with my own special choice. But I’ll leave that one up to you to decide.

Spaghetti with Tuna-Caper-Olive Pesto
5 from 1 vote

Spaghetti in a Tuna-Caper-Olive Pesto

A quick no-cook sauce for a pasta. Spaghetti tossed in a tuna-caper-olive pesto with cherry tomatoes and for greens fans, top with arugula. The perfect midweek healthy and easy meal.
Course Main Course
Category Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 606 kcal
Autor Elle


  • 250-350 g spaghetti
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar or tin albacore tuna packed in olive oil, drained and flaked (I used a 190 g jar)
  • 2 tablespoons capers (brined) (50 g), finely chopped
  • 6 pitted green olives, finely chopped
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • parsley, garnish
  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes, diced (optional)


  1. Fill the large pot with cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and add pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook according to packet instructions, until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the shallot, garlic, tuna, capers, and olives. Season with a pinch of cayenne and salt and pepper. Using a fork, mix together until well combined. Stir in a little olive oil. Continue to add more olive oil until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. It should become a smooth-ish paste.
  3. Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto. Transfer to two serving plates, garnish with parsley and finish with a dribble of olive oil (and cherry tomatoes, if using) Enjoy!


I have a dried red chili pepper grinder, so I like to add a little fresh ground red chili pepper for an extra kick.

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