Easy Tuna and Green Bean Pasta Recipe

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I love this easy green bean pasta recipe because it’s so quick and easy to prepare. It’s great for weeknights when you don’t feel like grocery shopping because it uses mostly pantry ingredients and comes together in under 20 minutes.

the finished dish, tuna and green bean pasta in a bowl.
The finished tuna and green bean pasta. And it took less than 20 minutes!

Green beans and tuna are such a classic combo. It’s for good reason there have been some famous casseroles and salads that feature them together! This tuna green bean pasta recipe has a bit of a tuna casserole energy but is way quicker because you don’t have to bake it, and it has some tomato sauce which freshens things up.

The ideal pantry pasta

I think it’s so important to have several different recipes up your sleeve for those days when you don’t feel like grocery shopping but you still want a healthy and substantial dinner. This pasta is an example of that. I always have pasta and canned tuna on hand, and there’s almost always a green vegetable (often green beans) in my crisper drawer, if not in my freezer. I often have sour cream on hand too, but if not, it’s an easy one to grab from the convenience store. And in a real pinch, I would just leave it out (and maybe add a knob of butter).

boiling green beans and pasta.
Cooking the green beans and the pasta together is such a time saver.

What you’ll need to make this recipe

  • Canned tuna – packed in water or oil, your choice.
  • Pasta – I like penne for this because it’s the same shape as the green beans.
  • Fresh green beans – but really, you could use frozen peas, zucchini, broccoli, or any other veggie you want.
  • Garlic – because why not?
  • Lemon – you’ll be using the zest and the juice.
  • Tomato sauce – straight out of the jar. Just pick your favourite kind!
  • Sour cream (full-fat) – it’s what makes this recipe nice and creamy. I love using sour cream because it tastes great and it’s easy to use up the leftovers.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – my favourite oil for cooking any pasta.
  • Fresh parsley – it really wakes up the flavour of this dish.
  • Red pepper flakes – optional, but I love finishing the pasta with a little sprinkle of heat.
trimmed and chopped green beans.
I love fresh green beans. Remember, you only need to trim the stems, not the tails!

How to make this Tuna and Green Bean Pasta

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven and season with a good amount of salt.
  2. Cook the pasta. Set your timer for 3 minutes shy of what the package says is the cooking time.
  3. While the pasta cooks, prepare your fresh green beans by removing the stem end and cutting them into 1-inch lengths. Set the green beans aside.
  4. Zest the lemon and set it aside, and open and drain the can of tuna.
  5. Three minutes before the pasta finishes cooking, add the trimmed green beans to the pot and allow them to cook for the remaining minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and the green beans through a strainer and set them aside. Save some of the pasta water in case you need it for the sauce.
  7. Return the pot to the stove and add the olive oil. 
  8. Grate in the garlic, then immediately add the tuna so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  9. Add the tomato sauce and the sour cream, then add the pasta and green beans and stir to combine. 
  10. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of pasta water until it loosens up a bit.
  11. Sprinkle in the parsley, the lemon zest, and the juice of half the lemon, and stir.
  12. Finish with a squeeze of additional lemon juice, some shredded parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional).
adding pasta sauce.
Adding the marinara sauce and the tuna to the pot.
stirring the creamy sauce together.
After adding the sour cream.

Success tips

Do not try this with light sour cream! You need that fat to make a creamy sauce. If you’re looking to lighten this up or you don’t do dairy, just omit the sour cream and use a bit more marinara sauce with some pasta water.

Use fresh green beans if possible! Frozen ones are ok too, but canned are… um… not great here. 

When shopping for pasta, look for a brand that has a cooking time of 11 minutes or more. That indicates that the pasta is quite thick, which is generally a good thing. Thin pasta noodles are a bit flimsy and they’re hard to get al dente. 

I think it’s very worthwhile to shop around for a good, reliable marinara sauce that you really like. Once you find it, stick with it, and keep it on hand at all times. A jar of sauce can go a long way to getting dinner on the table!

adding pasta and green beans back to the pot.
Adding the green beans and pasta to the sauce.

What goes well with this Tuna and Green Bean Pasta?

This pasta is a meal unto itself, so there’s no need to think about side dishes. A glass of red or white wine would be a lovely addition though.

Storage, freezing, and reheating tips

I wouldn’t advise making this in advance, mostly because it’s just so easy and quick to make, so why bother? If you do have leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days and eat them cold out of the fridge (surprisingly good) or reheat them in the microwave for a quick lunch.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use any other canned fish for this recipe?

Definitely. The idea for this recipe is to use what you have on hand. If you’re more of a canned salmon or sardine person, go for it. 

What if I can’t find fresh green beans?

If it’s not green bean season or you can’t find fresh green beans where you live, you can absolutely use frozen green beans. Or, you can swap out the green beans for broccoli, zucchini, frozen peas, or basically any other veggie you have on hand.

What if I don’t have sour cream?

Add a bit of extra marinara sauce, a splash of pasta water, and a knob of butter. It’ll be good.

the finished dish, tuna and green bean pasta in a bowl.

Still hungry?

Try these easy pastas next:

the finished dish, tuna and green bean pasta in a bowl.

Easy Tuna and Green Bean Pasta Recipe

I love this easy green bean pasta recipe because it’s so quick and easy to prepare.
No ratings yet!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Comfort Food, Italian
Servings 2
Calories 767 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large pot or Dutch oven

Ingredients
  

  • 200 grams dried penne pasta (2 heaping cups)
  • 200 grams fresh green beans (2 scant cups)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 can tuna
  • 1 lemon (zest)
  • 1/2 lemon (juice)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 200 ml marinara sauce (2/3 cup)
  • 125 ml sour cream (1/2 cup)
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp salt (for pasta cooking water)

Instructions
 

  • Bring 3 litres of water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven and season with 1 tablespoon of salt.
  • Cook the pasta. Set your timer for 3 minutes shy of what the package says is the cooking time.
  • While the pasta cooks, prepare your fresh green beans by removing the stem end and cutting them into 1-inch lengths. Set the green beans aside.
  • Zest the lemon and set it aside, and open and drain the can of tuna.
  • 3 minutes before the pasta finishes cooking, add the trimmed green beans to the pot and allow to cook for the remaining minutes.
  • Drain the pasta and the green beans through a strainer and set aside. Save some of the pasta water in case you need it for the sauce.
  • Return the pot to the stove and add the olive oil.
  • Grate in the garlic, then immediately add the tuna so the garlic doesn’t burn
  • Add the tomato sauce and the sour cream, then add the pasta and green beans and stir to combine.
  • Sprinkle in the parsley, the lemon zest, and the juice of half the lemon, and stir.
  • Finish with a squeeze of additional lemon juice, some shredded parmesan cheese, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional).

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 225gCalories: 767kcalCarbohydrates: 82.7gProtein: 41.9gFat: 30.5gSaturated Fat: 10.3gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 565mgPotassium: 1380mgFiber: 7.9gSugar: 11.3gCalcium: 212mgIron: 9mg
Keyword pasta, tuna
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