Wholewheat Spaghetti with Tuna, Garlic & Peas

Have you ever needed to make something out of nothing from the content of your store cupboard?

I’m sure everyone from impoverished students to hyper-busy workers and crazy-busy parents all have times when we’re out of food, energy, cash or all three! You name it, there’s more than one reason why we might occasionally need to turn to the humble can of tuna hiding at the back of our kitchen shelf.

This week was one such time. I currently have a glut of canned tuna steaks – I buy the tins in multipacks to reduce cost as they last months. The small tins were good for feeding The11yo during his brief phase of liking tuna mayo sandwiches. The larger tins I used to make into a quick tomato, sweetcorn pasta dish, for those ultra-busy mid-week suppers, usually to ensure I could get out to my choir rehearsals on time. We all got a bit bored with that particular recipe after a while and not knowing any other tuna recipes (except a Nicoise salad, which just doesn’t cut it in the colder winter months!), I stopped feeling inspired to use it.

This week I found the tins hiding at the back of my cupboard, so I was keen to find some different ways to use it up before its sell-by date and also to make those post Christmas pennies go a little further this month and I turned to Google in search of some inspirational canned tuna recipes!

The basic premise of the Salt and Lavender was just five simple ingredients: spaghetti, tuna, garlic, lemon and parsley.

Natasha’s website was full of positive feedback from readers who had tried this particular recipe, so I was confident it would be worth trying. I tweaked my own version a bit, substituting frozen chopped garlic and frozen flat leaf parsley for fresh and threw in the end of a bag of frozen peas which was lying about in my freezer.

As promised, it was inexpensive, tasty and super quick to make. A 60g can of tuna at £13/kg is a fraction of the cost of fresh (£24-33/kg) but I was pleased to learn it is still a low calorie, high protein (16g), low fat (<0.5mg) option and of course most of that fat is valuable omega 3s. Tuna is also a good source of selenium and Vitamin D to help beat those January blues! Although often slammed for being high in salt, my little 60g tin only had 0.6g of a daily 6g RDA, so while you may not need to add further salt to the dish, it shouldn’t be a problem now and then unless you’re on a particularly reduced sodium diet.

The lemon juice, parsley and garlic gives the dish loads of flavour, beautifully complimenting the tuna; the fresh bright green of the peas added attractive colour as well as flavour and extra protein and a portion of wholewheat spaghetti added satisfying slow release carbs.

Here’s my version for the perfect, quick and healthy mid-week meal (or link to Salt & Lavender‘s original version and many other delicious looking recipes for tuna and much more).

Serves: one

Prep: 5 mins

Cook: 12-15 mins


50g wholewheat spaghetti

1 small can tuna in spring water (60g)

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 tbsp spoon frozen chopped garlic (about 1 clove fresh)

1 tbsp chopped fresh/frozen parsley

2 tbsp lemon juice (or 1/2 a fresh lemon, squeezed)

1 tbsp olive or other vegetable oil

Ground black pepper to taste (you probably won’t need salt as canned tuna already has quite a salty flavour)


1. Boil spaghetti or other pasta of your choice according to packet instructions

2. Meanwhile, mix frozen parsley, garlic and lemon juice with tuna fish until flaked and combined

3. Heat a large frying pan or wok on a medium heat and add the oil before adding the tuna, garlic and parsley mixture and stirring gently to warm through

4. Add the frozen peas with a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking liquor to cook through a few minutes more, until soft but still bright green

5. Drain the cooked pasta and toss in the sauce, seasoning well to taste with coarsely ground black pepper

Eat and enjoy!

If you try my recipe, I’d love to know what you think or if you have your own favourite canned tuna recipe, please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

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