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Tuna Pesto Pasta with Fried Capers

Tuna pesto pasta is an easy-to-make and delicious meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights my version adds crispy fried capers and breadcrumbs.

If you use store-bought pesto this dish can go from your cupboard to your table in a little over 15 minutes. Even if you make your own homemade pesto you are looking at around 30 minutes!

Overhead tuna pesto pasta with crispy capers, golden breadcrumbs and fresh basil.

Quick and Easy Zingy Tuna Pasta

Tinned or canned tuna is a versatile and relatively affordable ingredient that can be used to make a variety of delicious dishes.

I use it in recipes as diverse as my Thai-inspired tuna fish cakes and this delicious tuna and tomato pasta.

Here it sits at the heart of an easy tuna pesto pasta that is perfect for busy weeknights when you need to whip up a quick and satisfying meal using store cupboard staples.

The glorious al dente pasta is topped with a crisp and golden crumb that also features fried capers.

Whether you use homemade pesto or store bought this delicious dish will go from your cupboard to your table in well under 30 minutes.

Just add some garlic bread and dinner is served.

If you like this recipe then you will love my simple garlic prawn pesto pasta and chicken pesto gnocchi recipes too!

Tuna pesto pasta with crispy capers, golden breadcrumbs and fresh basil.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it best to use homemade or store-bought pesto?

Homemade pesto is absolutely wonderful, but it does require a little bit of planning although it does not take much time.

So long as you buy good quality store-bought pesto this recipe still sings beautifully.

Can I use different types of pasta?

Yes, of course!

I use fettuccini in this recipe but any long broad pasta like tagliatelle or even pappardelle works well. You could even use spaghetti, farfalle and fusilli.

The only thing I would avoid is tubes like rigatoni or penne because there is not a lot of sauce to fill them.

Can I use tuna in oil or brine?

I chose to use tuna in spring water in this recipe because I find that tuna in oil adds too much oil to the recipe and tuna in brine adds too much salt.

Do I have to fry the capers?

No, but if you have not tried them do give them a go, we are frying the breadcrumbs anyway so it is not a great deal of extra effort.

They add a wonderful texture and incredible bursts of flavour in this recipe.

Close-up tuna pesto fettuccini with crispy capers, golden breadcrumbs and fresh basil.

Serving Suggestions

Pasta is a simple light one-bowl meal for me and this tuna and pesto number is no different!

That’s not to say that I don’t serve it with a bit of garlic bread or cheesy garlic bread.

You could also add a side salad if that is your thing, this simply dressed rocket salad with pine nuts would be ideal.

Overhead close-up tuna pesto fettuccini with crispy capers, golden breadcrumbs and fresh basil.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think they make a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Colander or sieve.
  • Serving, stirring spoons and or tongs.
  • Kitchen paper.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.

If you are making homemade pesto you also need:

  • Mini blender or mortar and pestle.
  • Grater.
  • Small frying pan, although you could use the large frying pan mentioned above.
Canned tuna pesto pasta with fried capers, golden breadcrumbs and fresh basil.
Yield: 2 Servings

Tuna Pesto Pasta Recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

Quick pasta dinners are a must-have for the home cook and this tuna pesto pasta is glorious, it combines canned tuna, fettuccini and basil pesto then tops it with crispy fried capers and golden breadcrumbs... and all in around 15-20 minutes!


  • 200g (7oz) Dried Pasta I used Fettucine
  • 125g (½ Cup) Basil Pesto
  • 110g (4oz) Tin Tuna Steak in Spring Water
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 25g (¼ Cup) Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Capers
  • Salt for Boiling Pasta
  • Fresh Basil to Garnish

Ingredients for Homemade Pesto

  • 20g (2 Tbsp) Pine Nuts
  • 25g (¾-1 Cup) Basil Leaves
  • 15g (3 Tbsp) Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Olive Oil


  1. Bring a 20cm or 8" saucepan of water to a boil and season with 1½ teaspoons of salt and cook as per packet instructions. This should've 10-12 minutes.
  2. Heat a 12" or 30cm frying pan over a medium-high heat and when it is hot add the olive oil.
  3. Dry the capers on some kitchen paper and then fry them in the olive oil for 2 minutes tossing regularly.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs to the capers and cook until golden, then transfer to kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
  5. Drain the tuna.
  6. Drain the pasta reserving around 75ml (⅓ Cup) of the cooking liquid.
  7. Add the pasta to the pan you cooked the capers and bread crumbs in and return it to a medium heat.
  8. Throw in the tuna and pesto and stir everything together adding as much liquid as is needed to create a nice coating on the fettuccine.
  9. Serve the pasta, then top it with the fried bread crumbs and capers along with some fresh shredded basil.

Instructions for homemade Basil Pesto:

  1. Toast the pine nuts in small a dry frying pan.
  2. Transfer to a mini blender or pestle and mortar and add the remaining ingredients and blitz until an appropriate texture is achieved.
  3. I like to transfer my pesto to a pestle and mortar and pound it for a minute or two to get the oils from the basil and pine nuts flowing. This is optional!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 752Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 1052mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 32g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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