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Weeknight Cooking

5 Easy Dinner Ideas Using Canned Tuna

Turn to this pantry staple for your next cost-saving dinner.
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Published Oct. 12, 2022.

With grocery prices on the rise, this might be a good time to give some of your pantry staples a second look, particularly canned tuna. A can or two of tuna can make a satisfying protein-packed meal, saving you a trip to the butcher counter and a few dollars.

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Everyone knows it’s easy enough to pop open a can, drain the tuna, mix it with some mayo, and load it between two pieces of soft bread for an inexpensive, easy sandwich, but this canned fish is good for other things too.

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Perhaps the most comforting, nostalgic of all is tuna-noodle casserole. You might remember having versions made with canned cream of mushroom soup, but with just a few more ingredients, you can make this warming dish from scratch. All it takes is some cheese, half-and-half, and chicken broth to make up the creamy base for the noodles. A few choice vegetables bolster the pantry ingredients. And a combination of potato chips, white bread, and more cheese makes a supercrunchy topping.

Looking for something a little more refined but incredibly pantry-friendly? Our Spaghetti with Tuna and Capers is where it’s at. Oil-packed tuna plus some briny capers, spicy red pepper flakes, and savory Parmesan cheese come together with a little pasta cooking water to make a velvety, rich sauce for spaghetti. 

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If you prefer a red sauce, Spaghetti al Tonno is another pantry-friendly tuna pasta dish that incorporates some canned tomatoes and anchovies.

If you have some dried cannellini beans hanging around, you can cook them up for our White Bean and Tuna Salad, which looks incredibly elegant but relies on pantry staples such as olive oil, sherry vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Shallot and parsley add a little freshness.

White Bean and Tuna Salad

Creamy white beans and an herby dressing provide a fresh, filling take on tuna salad.
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And if you’re just really in the mood for a sandwich, try taking it up a notch and making a tuna melt for a hot, toasty, supremely satisfying meal.

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Crunchy, creamy, gooey tuna melts at home? We show you the way.
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