Tuna and Kale Pasta – One-Dish Meal
Who doesn’t love an excellent one-dish meal? No sides are needed, and the sauce is ready when the pasta is cooking. Bingo. If I had to eat one dish for the rest of my life, this tuna and kale pasta recipe would be among my top considerations!
Why Tuna and Kale Pasta is a Winning Recipe
- Fast – on the table in 30 minutes
- Budget-friendly – Costs about $3/serving
- Delicious – it will convert any kale skeptic
- Fantastic leftovers – warms up nicely in the microwave the next day
- Pantry Meal – easy to keep canned tuna and pasta on hand
Easy to Grow Kale in the Garden
I have altered the original recipe, Tuna Pasta with Arugula and Lemon, by adding kale. This recipe came to me through a bridal shower recipe book. Everyone invited was asked to provide a favorite recipe for the bride. Thank you, Alexa, for submitting this delicious tuna pasta recipe. I also grow kale in my garden, making it a staple in our family. According to Farmer’s Almanac, kale can be seeded or planted six to eight weeks before the first fall.
Give Kale a Massage – Say What?
A trick to making this dish extra yummy is to massage the kale leaves. This may seem weird that a vegetable needs a massage, but it improves the kale’s texture and digestibility. I’m sure this tuna and kale pasta recipe will win over any kale cynics.
- Pasta – I like this recipe’s penne rigate (with ridges) because the sauce holds well to the surface area. But other pasta will work – linguini, rigatoni or ziti.
- Tuna – buy the best that you can afford. The more expensive tunas are wild and sustainably caught. If you buy tuna in oil, read the label for healthy fats. Eat This, Not That! It is an excellent resource for choosing canned tuna.
- Fresh Lemons only – no substitutes because the lemon zest offers so much to the taste of this dish.
- Red Pepper Flakes – save the little packets that come with your pizza if you do not keep this fantastic spice on hand – no subbing, please, but you can reduce the quantity if heat is an issue.
- Garlic – jarred garlic in a pinch, but fresh is best
- Olive oil – no subs
- Kale–arugula is a great alternative, but you do NOT need to massage the leaves in lemon juice.
- Kalamata Olives – offer them on the side for picky eaters but try these yummy Greek pearls. Use capers if you are not an olive fan.
- Parmesan Cheese – The best tasting and most authentic is Parmesan Regioanno -see tip below.
Are there any pasta swaps for dietary preferences?
You can swap out the pasta to meet your nutritional goals. I use gluten-free pasta for this recipe, and other options are whole wheat pasta, palmini noodles, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles. Just adjust the cooking time as needed according to the noodles you use.
How to Shop for and Use Parmesan Cheese
- Purchase Parmesan cheese in block form. Pre-grated cheese is convenient but grate just before using it for the best flavor.
- Parmesan Reggiano, called Parmigiano-Reggiano in Italy, is a variety only made in four regions of Italy and is a popular cheese choice for pasta. It’s a hard cow’s milk cheese with a rich, sharp flavor that is aged at least two years.
- Parmesan cheese that is not produced in Italy can be used. There are suitable varieties of Parmesan cheese made in the USA. Look for an aged cheese in block form. Try both Parmesan Reggiano and Parmesan and decide for yourself, but using Italian cheese will keep the recipe closer to its heritage.