Tuna Pasta with Chili and Garlic

This tuna pasta recipe is easy, yet my pride and joy so far… please enjoy it!
spicy tuna

This Tuna pasta with chili and garlic is a simple, yet extremely tasty quick meal which can be a quick mid-week fix or a weekend lunch celebration… that’s how good, yet flexible this dish is! 


Why Tuna Pasta? 


How did this chili and tuna pasta come about is yet another weird – yet common for us – story…


Two nationalities of people, different traditions, all coming together… how romantic! 


Not for longer than 5 seconds! 


What most of the time this means is two separate meals each time, especially when one (read: me) is trying to lose weight and the other one (unfortunately not me) gain it. 


After years of suffering this way, as 


A – we don’t have enough room in the kitchen, 

B – neither of us has enough time to cook so many different meals every week/day and 

C – it’s not fair to constantly compromise, 


I came up with a life-saving recipe I call to the field once or twice a month and that is always a success, not only with Jay but also with guests (of all nationalities!). 


I love boneless fish…


… and so many healthy tuna recipes are available, but how to make spicy tuna fit with something we would both eat? 


Plus… Jay really enjoys cleaning the spicy tuna sauce in the plate with bread topped with our delicious Fluffy Garlic Butter… 


This tuna pasta recipe is easy, yet my pride and joy so far… please enjoy it! 


 ~~ If you are looking for other 30-Minute Pasta recipes, you should definitely check these options too: Broccoli Pasta and Pasta All’Arrabbiata

spicy tuna

Spicy Chili and Tuna Pasta

This tuna pasta recipe is easy, yet my pride and joy so far… please enjoy it!
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Low Calorie
Keyword: healthy, healthy food, Italian, penne pasta recipes, spicy tuna, tuna, tuna pasta
Servings: 2 portions
Calories: 490kcal


  • 130 g dry uncooked pasta I used mezze penne
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g finely sliced red onion
  • 10 g fresh garlic
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 4 anchovies in olive oil
  • 1 tin of tuna in water drained weight 102g
  • 15 g tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dry parsley
  • 300 g tomato passata
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • Water as needed
  • Salt to taste


  • Drain the tuna, chop the anchovies, and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, put a large frying pan on the fire and warm up the olive oil; once this is warm add to it the onion, garlic, red chili flakes, black pepper, and a bit of salt, mix well, cover the pan and lower the flame to minimum.
  • Once the onion becomes transparent and soft (on a low flame it should take about 5-7 minutes) add the anchovies, and turn the heat to medium; once the anchovies are lightly fried (1-2 minutes) add the tuna and mix well.
  • Once the tuna changes color, add the tomato paste and parsley to the pan and fry well; once this is done, add the tomato passata, the granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup of water. Mix well, cover with the lid, and put on low flame again until the tomato sauce is fully cooked. I like to simmer mine very gently for at least 20 minutes.
  • While the sauce is cooking, bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the pasta.
  • Once the pasta and the sauce are ready, drain the pasta (do not over-drain it!) and add it to the frying pan with the sauce. Mix it well through and through while on a low flame for about a minute.
  • The best part of the recipe: serve and enjoy!


Notes on the recipe:
I have added half a teaspoon of granulated sugar to eliminate the acidity of the tomato paste and passata; if the tomatoes you are using are already ‘stabilized’ you may be able to skip this step.
As usual, if you have fresh parsley instead of dry, go for it! I buy fresh bunches only when I know I will use them soon, but as here these are sold very large, this doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.
Be mindful of the salt you use! Anchovies are quite salty, so it is better to put very little to start with and add at the end if needed… and no, the sugar won’t make it sweet, the quantity is very little!
If you do not like or have anchovies, you can eliminate them completely or replace them with some black or green olives (either color will work taste-wise)… I personally find anchovies add a certain level of flavor to this simple - yet unique - recipe!
Just like the anchovies, if you’re not in for a spicy ride, you can eliminate the crushed chili flakes completely, or, to the opposite, you can increase the fire! It’s all about taste and preference and how hot you want this spicy pasta recipe!
For this recipe I use passata, but sometimes I like to mix it up and use some nice chunky chopped tomato to add a different texture to the meal; in that case, I normally use a full tin of 400g.
Like I always like to add, if you amend any parts of the recipe and you are counting calories, please recalculate your totals for the meal!


Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 620mg | Potassium: 1168mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1076IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Share on pinterest
Share on facebook
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Related articles

This opening statement, this blog… they have been a long time coming. 


While looking from afar, I am sure my life does not appear as anything else but ordinary (there were probably three moments that changed the course of my story), some choices I made I hope will encourage change for better health for others, as much as they have for me. 


As any well-respected story, this is how it starts… 


Once upon a time in the late ’80s… 


But that would make this page way too long and way too boring, so flash forward… 



My Personal Favorites
Follow Us

We use cookies to help personalise your experience. By using our website you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Subscribe to our mailing list