Green Bean Pasta is not something very common, but I am sure if I say Tuna Spaghetti then many more people would nod in approval, and this great (filling, light and quick!) recipe is a great way of updating a staple recipe without complicating it at all.
For this easy dinner idea, all you need are six, mostly pantry ingredients: canned tuna, spaghetti (or any pasta shape of choice), green beans, garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes.
Here you can find step-by-step instructions (with pictures) of how to prepare this delicious spaghetti with green beans recipe, followed by some quick tips and suggestions on how to make it yours; should you wish to, you can scroll down to the FREE printable recipe card.
Green Bean Pasta Ingredients
- Whole wheat spaghetti: packed with nutrients and flavor, whole wheat pasta is a great choice when paired with veggies and tuna.
- Tuna: great source of proteins, it works great with the green beans.
- Green beans: the star of the show! Flavorful, nutritious and low in calories, adding this vegetable to the meal is a great way of bulking up many dishes.
- Garlic, red pepper flakes and olive oil: the base for aglio, olio e peperoncino, what better ingredients to give a kick?
- Salt and pepper: standard seasoning.
How to make Green Bean Pasta?
- Bring a large pot of well[-salted water to the boil and cook the green beans and spaghetti to your liking (tips in the notes below). Once cooked, drain the spaghetti with green beans and set them aside.
- In the same saucepan, add the extra virgin olive oil and sautee the freshly chopped garlic, before adding the red pepper flakes.
- Add the spaghetti, green beans and drained canned tuna to the sauce pan and mix well.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if required (salt and black pepper), serve and enjoy!
People also ask [FAQs]
This green bean pasta can be viewed as a simple spaghetti aglio, olio e pepperoncino (classic Italian dish made of spaghetti, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes), with the addition of canned tuna and tender green beans.
To start, bring to the boil a large pot of well-salted water, which you will use to boil the spaghetti and the green beans; spaghetti, depending on preference and manufacturer, usually take between 8 and 12 minutes to cook, while green beans can take as little as a couple of minutes, so you will need to add these two ingredients to the boiling water keeping that in mind. As I like my green beans well cooked, but my pasta al dente, I tend to add the vegetables just a few minutes after the pasta.
Once the pasta and green beans are ready, drain them and set them aside, keeping a bit of the cooking water.
In the same large pot (or you can use a large skillet if preferred), add the olive oil and heat it on medium-low heat; as soon as it is warm, add the freshly chopped garlic and allow it to cook for about 30 seconds, ensuring the smell of rawness goes away, but the garlic doesn’t burn.
Once the garlic is ready, add the red pepper flakes and mix well (if you like your pepper flakes lightly fried, you can add them at the same time as the garlic); at this stage add the tuna and the drained green beans and spaghetti to the mix, together with two tablespoons of the cooking water, which will give the dish, together with the sautéed garlic and the good quality olive oil, a nice creamy texture.
Finish seasoning the pasta by adding some salt and black pepper if required, then serve and enjoy!
This is meant to be an easy, mid-week dinner, that is tasty, quick, nutritious, and inexpensive, so the type of tuna you have in your pantry will be perfect for this recipe. If you are shopping for this recipe specifically, then yellowfin canned tuna tends to offer the best flavor and quality, while still being affordable, as it remains in bigger chunks.
Tuna in olive oil or sunflower oil tends to be much more flavorful when fresh out of the can, compared to tuna in water or brine, however, it has many more calories and fat, and the oil used is not of the best quality; because of this, I prefer using tuna in water, which I drain and use very good quality olive oil for the cooking instead, so to maximize flavor without eating meaningless calories.
As an Italian, I do prefer Rio Mare Tuna when I go to Italy!
For this recipe, you can use either fresh or frozen green beans, but I would not recommend using canned ones, as they tend to be very high in sodium.
If you are using fresh green beans, ensure you wash them and trim them before cooking (unless you purchase them pre-trimmed); you can cut them to your liking or leave them full length.
If you are using frozen green beans, you can cook them according to the package instructions and add them to the cooking pasta as required.
This pasta will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, however, it will taste at its best when freshly prepared. It is important to keep in mind that the green beans will lose their consistency as time passes and the pasta may dry up in the fridge, so it is best to eat it straight away or the day after at the latest.
Tips and tricks
Amendments and substitutes:
Because this recipe is quick, healthy, and comforting it can be used as a guideline, and most ingredients can be substituted, amended in quantity, or skipped altogether!
- Pasta: this tuna spaghetti recipe can use any type of pasta, but make sure you adjust the cooking time with the green beans. Rigatoni, penne, and ribbons work very well and make a great packed-lunch option.
- Bacon or pancetta: if you are not a big fan of fish, tuna can be substituted with some bacon, pancetta, or even cooked ham; if you are going down this route, add the diced meat to the skillet once the garlic is ready and allow it to cook until ready.
- Onion or green onion: for a little added richness, you can also add thinly sliced onions or green onions to this summer vegetable dish. If you were to choose this option, add the onion to the pan once the garlic is nearly ready and allow it to soften until golden before proceeding to the next step.
- Vegetarian: if meat and fish are not your preferred choice, then you can use cheese instead. Try stirring some crumbled feta in the pasta a few minutes before serving.
- Anchovies: anchovies are an extremely underrated ingredient! For added richness, chop a few anchovies and sauté them with the garlic before proceeding to the next step; ensure you do not add too many as they are quite salty.
- Lemon: if you are having this during the hot summer months, then adding a bit of a zing could make this dish even more refreshing. Try adding a little lemon juice (or zest) to this tuna green bean pasta and feel the flavors combine into the best summer dish yet!
Good to know:
Although this tuna spaghetti recipe requires only very few simple ingredients, cooking this healthy pasta dish the right way helps elevate every single bite; here are a few points to take into consideration when prepping and cooking the ingredients for the green bean pasta, especially when calorie counting:
- Tuna: if you are opting for canned tuna in oil, then ensure you drain it as best as you can before adding it to the recipe. The extra oil in the tuna doesn’t only add calories and fat to the recipe, it most probably isn’t of the best quality, meaning you are eating more calories without ripping the benefits of the flavors. While tuna in water may not be as tasty to start with, once you follow the recipe (and maybe add a few touches as suggested above to make this dish yours), it will be delicious, so evaluate whether the extra calories of canned tuna in oil are worth it.
- Pasta shape: when serving this green bean pasta straight away, spaghetti is a great choice, however, if you decide to prepare this for your lunch box, then going for short pasta, like penne, ribbons or rigatoni may be a better idea, as they warm up a bit better. When changing the shape of pasta, remember to adapt the cooking time.
- Green beans: this summer vegetable is so tasty and it is surprisingly complimentary to this tuna spaghetti recipe! Should you wish to bulk it up or multiply the portions without adding too much pasta, then feel free to add some more green beans, as they are filling and nutritious.
- Red pepper flakes: feel free to adjust the amount of red pepper flakes in your green bean pasta when cooking. Should you like your pasta extra hot, you can either increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add some red chili powder instead, depending on the preferred heat level.
- Garlic: for this recipe, you can either thinly slice, crush and chop or mince the fresh garlic, as it works well in any case, however, you can also use frozen garlic, should you have that. I would not recommend using powdered or dry garlic as they smell and taste different.
- Olive oil: good quality extra virgin olive oil is one of those ingredients that are worth spending a little money on! Although it is a bit more expensive to start with, good quality olive oil goes the extra mile as you only require very little when cooking (or dressing) and the flavor does make a difference. I (surprise!) prefer Italian olive oil, however other Mediterranean olive oils, such as Greek or Spanish are good choices too.
This tuna spaghetti recipe is a great dairy-free meal that is low-calorie, takes 30 minutes or less, is easy on the budget, and tastes incredibly delicious!
Green bean pasta is a great dinner idea all year round and is incredibly easy to modify and adapt to suit anyone’s taste while remaining a healthy, delicious, quick, and easy meal for any day of the week.
Have a look at these other pasta recipes that are delicious and take very little time to prepare:
And for more healthy dinner recipe ideas, have a look here!
Green Bean Pasta | Tuna Spaghetti without Tomato Sauce
- 120 g Canned Tuna in Water
- 120 g Dry Whole Wheat Spaghetti
- 180 g Trimmed Green Beans
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1 Tbps Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- Bring to the boil a large pot of water and once boiling, salt it well.
- In the meantime, wash, trim and chop to your preference the green beans; how to chop the green beans comes down to personal preference and shape of pasta chosen.
- Boil the pasta in the well-salted boiling water following the package instructions and add the green beans according to your preference; if you like this summer vegetable quite firm, then add it about 3 minutes before the pasta is ready, but if you like it well done, then you may need 5-7 minutes. I like well-done green beans and spaghetti al dente, so add them together and cook for 8 minutes.
- When the green beans and the pasta are ready to be drained, remove half a cup of cooking water and set it aside before doing so.
- Once the green bean pasta is drained, return the empty pot to the hob on medium-low heat and add the olive oil; once the oil is warm add the freshly chopped garlic and the red pepper flakes. Allow the garlic to cook for about 30 seconds, until the smell of rawness has gone, but do not allow it to burn.
- Next, add the green beans, spaghetti, tuna, and two tablespoons of cooking water to the pan and combine all of the ingredients.
- Mix well all of the ingredients until you obtain a creamy texture; should it be required, add a little more cooking water to the mix.
- Finish off by adjusting the seasoning of the pasta if needed by adding some salt and cracked or powdered black pepper if liked.
- Serve and enjoy!
The green beans can be cut to the preferred length, which will depend also on the shape of the pasta chosen.
Should you not like using cooking water, then you may need to add a little more olive oil, but remember to add the calories if you are counting.
This green bean pasta will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days, but the consistency of it will be at its best when freshly prepared.