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Tuna Pesto Pasta


Easy tuna pesto pasta made cheesy with extra flavor. This comforting dish is baked in the oven and is sure to satisfy the cravings.

If you are looking for an even more simple recipe with canned tuna, check Instant Pot tuna casserole made with minimal steps and prep time!

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close up shot of cheesy casserole in a white baking dish

Recipe Features

  • This balanced dish has everything: carbs, protein, and leafy greens.
  • The pesto is made with beet tops that are often not used and really are underestimated.
  • This cheesy casserole serves the whole family.
  • All the ingredients are easy to find.

Key Ingredients

tabletop with beet greens, pecans in the small dish, salt in the dish, canned tuna and package with pasta

Ingredient Notes

  • Beet greens. Some beets at the grocery stores don’t have a nice-looking top, make sure to pick the best-looking bunch of beets.
  • Tuna. Choose to use pure tuna in water, not in oil.
  • Cheese. I used Irish cheese since it is more available. Any cheese with a hard texture, like cheddar, will work in this recipe.
  • Olive oil. Choose quality olive oil if possible. It really makes the dish.

How to Make It

1. Gather the ingredients. In a large pot filled with water cook pasta according to the package’s directions. Cover the pot with a lid to bring water to boil faster. While pasta is cooking, wash and rinse the beet greens. Remove the large stems.

bowl with soaked greens in the water and cutting board with leafy greens

2. In a food processor, place beet greens and pecans. Pulse several times till crushed, open, scrape the sides. Add olive oil and salt, pulse a couple of times.

food processor with greens and pecan nuts

3. Shred the cheese. Drain tuna, using fork mush into smaller pieces while still in the can—Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

cutting board with shredded cheese and two cans of drained tuna

4. Once pasta is cooked, drain and place in the oven-safe baking dish. Add pesto, one cup of shredded cheese, drained tuna. Mix well to combine. Add one more cup of cheese as the top layer, spread evenly.

baking dish with ingredients to make casserole

5. Bake for 10 minutes on the second to the top shelf, so the cheese melts. Serve warm.

white baking dish with baked yellow cheesy casserole

Recipe Tips

I recommend cooking pasta al dente or firm. It will hold the shape better in the casserole.

Beet greens are always really dirty, make sure to soak and rinse several times.

Remove all the large red-colored stems from the beet greens to ensure the pesto doesn’t have a bitter flavor.

Variations

To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta (as pictured).

To make it low-carb, use spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

Instead of beet tops, feel free to use spinach or swiss chard.

Instead of pecans, use pine nuts or walnuts.

Optional ingredients if you feel like adding the extra flavor. Feel free to add: grape tomatoes, fresh peas, minced garlic, capers.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What cheese is best in pesto?

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese or other hard cheese variety (Pecorino Romano, Asiago) would work the best in the pesto.

a serving spatula with a slice of cheesy casserole

Related Recipes

Did you try this recipe? I love hearing from you! Don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below.

close up shot of cheesy casserole in a white baking dish

Tuna Pesto Pasta

Natalia-Flavorful Home
Easy tuna pesto pasta made cheesy with extra flavor. This comforting dish is baked in the oven and is sure to satisfy the cravings.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 684 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 12 oz gluten-free pasta
  • 3 cups beet greens
  • 1/2 cup pecans , raw
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups irish cheese , divided
  • 2 cans canned tuna

Instructions
 

  • Gather the ingredients. In a large pot filled with water cook pasta according to the package's directions. Cover the pot with a lid to bring water to boil faster. While pasta is cooking, wash and rinse the beet greens. Remove the large stems.
  • In a food processor, place beet greens and pecans. Pulse several times till crushed, open, scrape the sides. Add olive oil and salt, pulse a couple of times.
  • Shred the cheese. Drain tuna, using fork mush into smaller pieces while still in the can—Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.
  • Once pasta is cooked, drain and place in the oven-safe baking dish. Add pesto, one cup of shredded cheese, drained tuna. Mix well to combine. Add one more cup of cheese as the top layer, spread evenly.
  • Bake for 10 minutes on the second to the top shelf, so the cheese melts. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 684kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 30gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 733mgPotassium: 381mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1940IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 371mgIron: 2mg
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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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