This delicious creamy dairy-free Canned Tuna Pasta is my go-to recipe when I don’t have time or energy to cook. It’s so easy to make, plus it’s ready literally in minutes. It may look simple, but the taste will surprise you. The combination of creamy cashew sauce, tuna fish, and particular seasonings is amazing. I haven’t met anyone that didn’t like this dish yet. So I strongly recommend you give this pasta recipe a try.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy: This recipe is perfect for busy days. It comes together in just 15 minutes, making it a convenient choice for a delicious meal.
- Creamy and Flavorful: The cashew cream sauce adds a creamy and rich texture to the pasta, while the combination of Italian seasoning and garlic powder enhances the overall flavor. It makes a satisfying and comforting dish.
- Dairy-Free: The use of cashew cream in this recipe makes it dairy-free. It’s a great alternative for those who follow a dairy-free diet but still want a creamy pasta dish.
- Protein-Packed and Well-Balanced Dish: Canned tuna is not only convenient but also adds protein to the dish. It makes the pasta more filling and satisfying.
- Versatile and Customizable: This recipe is super versatile and customizable. It provides a solid base that you can easily customize and adapt to suit your preferences and dietary needs.
- Pasta: Choose your preferred type of pasta for this recipe. Spaghetti was used in this particular version, but feel free to explore other options such as fusilli, penne, or linguine. All types will work perfectly for this recipe.
- Canned Tuna: Canned tuna adds protein and a savory taste that complements the creamy sauce, resulting in a well-balanced dish.
- Cashews: Cashews play a crucial role in creating a creamy and rich texture for the dairy-free cream sauce.
- Hot Water: Water is used to blend the cashews and achieve a velvety texture for the sauce.
- Salt and Pepper: Seasonings enhance the overall flavor profile of the dish.
- Italian Seasoning: This blend of dried herbs adds a delicious herbal aroma and depth of flavor to the dish.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic gives a savory and aromatic flavor. It adds depth and richness to the sauce, enhancing the overall taste.
- Parmesan: Grated Parmesan is a finishing touch that adds a tangy and salty flavor to the dish, and enhances the creaminess of the sauce. Use vegan Parmesan for a dairy-free option.
How to Make Dairy-free Tuna Pasta
To make this simple and delicious dish, follow these simple steps:
- Start by soaking cashews in hot water for about 15-30 minutes. This helps soften them and makes blending easier.
- In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your preferred type of pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the cooked pasta in a colander and set it aside.
- Prepare the sauce by blending the soaked cashews with hot water until smooth and creamy. This cashew cream will serve as the base for the sauce.
- Pour the cashew cream into a large pan and add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook the sauce on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to boil and reaches the desired thickness. This should take approximately 1-2 minutes.
- Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and add the drained pasta to the pan. Stir well to coat the pasta evenly with the creamy sauce.
- Finally, add the drained canned tuna to the pasta. You can choose to leave the tuna in whole chunks or break it slightly and mix it in gently.
- Before serving, top the creamy dairy-free tuna pasta with grated Parmesan cheese for added flavor. If you’re following a dairy-free diet, use vegan Parmesan cheese.
Now, your creamy pasta is ready to be enjoyed!
Expert Tips for the Best Results
- Cook the pasta al dente: To achieve the perfect texture, cook the pasta until it is al dente, which means it is cooked but still has a slight firmness to it. This ensures that the pasta holds its shape and doesn’t become mushy when combined with the sauce.
- Soak cashews for a smoother sauce: Be sure to soak the cashews in hot water for about 15-30 minutes before blending. This helps soften them and allows for a smoother and creamier sauce.
- Adjust the sauce thickness: The cashew sauce will thicken as it cooks. If you prefer a thicker sauce, simmer it for a bit longer. If you want a thinner consistency, add a splash of hot water to achieve the desired thickness.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle some fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, or basil over the pasta before serving. It adds a burst of freshness and a vibrant touch to the dish.
Ideas for Add-ins
If you’ll want to add some interesting twist to this dish, here are a few ideas:
- Green Peas: Add a handful of green peas to the sauce to give it a burst of color and make it reminiscent of a tuna casserole. The sweetness of the peas complements the savory flavors of the dish.
- Spinach Leaves: For a healthy and colorful twist, add a handful of fresh spinach leaves to the pasta during the final stages of cooking. The heat will wilt the spinach, adding a vibrant green hue and an extra dose of nutrients.
- Lemon Zest and Juice: Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the pasta and sprinkle it with lemon zest for a refreshing and zesty flavor. The citrusy notes brighten up the dish, especially during the summer months.
- Red Pepper Flakes: If you enjoy spicy food, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce or sprinkle them on top before serving. The heat of the pepper flakes adds a kick to the creamy pasta, giving it a bit of a fiery twist.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Add a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the pasta for a burst of intense flavor. They provide a sweet and tangy taste that pairs well with the creamy sauce and tuna.
- Olives: Chop some olives and mix them into the pasta. Kalamata olives or green olives can add a delightful Mediterranean touch to the dish.
- Pesto: Add a couple of tablespoons of homemade pesto for a burst of herby and aromatic flavors that complement the creamy base.
- Toasted Pine Nuts: Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet until golden brown, then sprinkle them over the pasta for a nutty and crunchy texture.
These are just a few ideas to inspire you. Feel free to mix and match ingredients based on your preferences and get creative with your own unique twists on this versatile recipe!
- Tuna: If you prefer not to use tuna or don’t have it on hand, you can substitute it with other proteins such as cooked salmon, shrimp, or even tofu for a vegetarian and vegan option.
- Pasta: As mentioned above, you can use any type of pasta you want. Also, you can use gluten-free pasta if you follow a gluten-free diet. There are various brands available that offer gluten-free pasta options.
- Sauce: Feel free to experiment with different sauces based on your preferences. You can use a tomato-based sauce, cream sauce, pesto sauce, or even a combination of sauces to add variety to your tuna pasta.
- Seasonings: Adjust the seasonings according to your taste. You can add herbs like basil, parsley, or oregano for additional flavor. Feel free to incorporate other spices or seasonings that complement the overall taste of the dish.
- Cheese: Instead of vegan Parmesan, you can try using other vegan cheeses like shredded mozzarella, cheddar, or a combination of cheeses. Alternatively, you can add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the sauce instead of cheese to achieve a cheesy flavor.
You can store any leftovers of the dairy-free tuna pasta in the refrigerator, making it a great meal option for the next day. To ensure the best quality, allow the pasta to cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. This helps prevent condensation and maintain the flavors.
The leftovers can be safely consumed for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, simply reheat the pasta in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through. If needed, add a splash of water or a bit of extra sauce to restore the desired consistency.
More Well-Balanced Dinner Ideas
- 4 oz (113 g) spaghetti, uncooked (or other pasta of your choice)
- ⅓ cup (50 g) cashews
- ⅔ cup (160 g) hot water
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 6 oz (170 g) canned tuna, drained
- ⅓ cup (33 g) Parmesan, grated (vegan Parmesan for dairy-free option)
- Soak cashews in hot water for 15 minutes to soften them and make further blending easier.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook spaghetti according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the pasta in a colander and set it aside.
- Add cashews and water to a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. This cashew cream will serve as the base for the sauce. The mixture may appear runny, but it will thicken during cooking.
- In a large pan, pour the cashew cream and add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Cook the sauce over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it starts to boil and reaches the desired thickness. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta to the pan. Stir well to coat the pasta with the sauce.
- Carefully fold in the drained tuna. You can choose to leave the tuna in whole chunks or break it slightly.
- Before serving, sprinkle grated Parmesan on top. Serve and enjoy!