Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon and Dill

Quick and easy weeknight pasta with Tuna, Lemon, and Dill

Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon and Dill is a straight from the pantry meal full of vivid Mediterranean flavors. Ready in under 30 minutes, this is weeknight eating at its best.

Simple Pasta with Tuna, Lemon, Dill, and Olives

If you’re smart you’ll memorize this recipe, and you’ll be so glad you did — the very next time you’re at your wit’s end after a busy day and there’s nothing left in the fridge… all of a sudden it will hit you that, yes, you can make this! I can’t tell you how many times I resort to scrambled eggs because I think anything else is beyond me,  so I have a soft spot for effortless pasta dishes like this one that get tossed together off the heat, without any cooking or fussing whatsoever.

I also have a soft spot for pasta dishes that don’t rely on garlic or Parmesan cheese for flavor. This dish is so zesty you won’t miss either.

It all comes together with a short list of pretty fabulous ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, tuna, red onions, lemon, dill and olives.

Just thinking about the combination gets me salivating — every element in the lineup carries its weight and contributes a punch of flavor.

30 Minute Pasta with Tuna and Lemon

The genius of canned tuna is that it makes a complete and satisfying meal out of this pasta, and it’s sitting there right in the pantry.

That means no last minute trip to the supermarket. It took me a while to grant canned tuna the respect it deserves, but now I see it as an elegant and super healthy ingredient that can lend a little European elegance to pastas and salads. I keep a few cans around at all times, both the water and the oil packed.

Love canned tuna?

Quick and easy weeknight pasta with Tuna, Lemon, and Dill
3.58 from 56 votes

Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon and Dill

Spaghetti with Tuna, Lemon and Dill is a straight from the pantry meal full of vivid Mediterranean flavors.  Ready in under 30 minutes, this is weeknight eating at its best.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Time 20 minutes
Yield 4 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 3/4 lb spaghetti
  • 4 Tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 5-ounce cans best quality tuna packed in water, drained I didn't quite use all of the second can, that's up to you
  • large handful of fresh dill fronds chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup Greek olives pitted
  • about 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • freshly cracked black pepper


  • Cook the pasta in lots of well salted boiling water according to the package directions until just al dente. As a general rule I taste the pasta a full 2 minutes before the cooking time on the package.
  • Put the rest of the ingredients in a large skillet. Break up the tuna with a fork into large chunks and heat gently on medium just until everything is hot.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the skillet, it's ok if a little cooking water comes along. Toss everything well and add a little more oil if needed.

Cook's notes

recipe slightly adapted from Olive Magazine
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

spaghetti with tuna pin

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  • Reply
    August 8, 2020 at 9:54 am

    What does ‘heat everything through’’ mean? Do you heat it up after adding the tuna and if so, how?

    • Reply
      August 8, 2020 at 12:44 pm

      Sorry you were confused Heather, I just rewrote the steps to be more clear.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Can you serve this as a cold salad? Anyone tried?

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 8:22 pm

      I’m sure you could tweak this to be a cold salad, Nancy, and I also have another cold tuna pasta salad on the blog:

    • Reply
      July 22, 2020 at 5:46 pm

      5 stars
      Made this with some leftover noodles and peas I had in the fridge! Used tuna in olive oil from TJ added a little of the oil and sautéed green onion. Through in noodles to heat through and rest of ingredients. It was very good! Definitely make again! Thanks for the idea

  • Reply
    August 10, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    5 stars
    Made this tonight and really enjoyed it. I made a few small changes that I think made it even better. I added some capers, a little pasta water instead of the extra oil, and a teaspoon of creme fraiche – because I had an open container that I needed to use up. I also served with freshly grated cheese despite your desire to exclude it 🙂

  • Reply
    May 25, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    5 stars
    We tried this tonight, and it was fabulous! My daughter wants it again tomorrow night! Thank you for a simple and delicious recipe, perfect on nights I am home late!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2015 at 5:27 am

      I’m so glad you liked this Hollie, in our house it’s a favorite my husband’s and mine, but I could not, try as I might, ever get my kids to like tuna. You’re ahead of the game with your daughter!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 18, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Yes I could eat this once a week! I used to love tuna fish and noodles when I was a kid so I know this would be my grown up favorite. Lovely Sue!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 5:15 am

    Ha! Scrambled eggs are totally my dinner go-to also. But I see this pasta working it’s way into the weeknight mix as well!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    5 stars
    I am all for quick pasta dishes, this sounds so good with the lemon and fresh dill!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

    To be honest, I’m not that crazy for tuna, but this looks and sounds fantastic.

    • Reply
      November 17, 2014 at 10:54 am

      I hope you try this Kathryn, it might just change your mind!

  • Reply
    [email protected]+Hungry+Healthy+Happy
    November 17, 2014 at 6:41 am

    5 stars
    This looks like my perfect pasta dish and I am in love with dill at the moment. It goes so well with tuna.

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