The Perfect Lenten Meal: Tuna Pasta

TUNA PASTA / MEAT FREE / LENTEN MEAL / FOOD / RECIPE / nicolemcaruso.com

Tuna Pasta is comfort food for me. I grew up eating it on Fridays in Lent when we were out of pizza ingredients. It's a mixture of whatever things you have in the pantry-- all briney in flavor -- thrown over a few cans of tuna and a pound of pasta.

It's also the perfect meal when you have last-minute dinner guests, because all of the items can sit on your pantry shelves until go time. By the time the pasta is cooked, the whole dinner is ready to eat. How easy is that? 

The ingredients I tend to combine are: black olives, capers, quartered artichoke hearts in water, shallots or green onions if you have them, fresh organic arugula and baby spinach, and wild-caught tuna in olive oil. If you have frozen spinach, or even leftover broccoli, toss it in for an added serving of vegetables and a little splash of green. Fresh herbs like parsley and basil are also delicious additions to this dish. 

There is no science to it. The whole meal is divided in ratios. I don't have specific measurements  because that kind of cooking stresses me out, but if you follow the general idea, it will taste good every time. This meal serves 2-4 hungry people. 

ITALIAN TUNA PASTA

1 BOX PASTA (WE LIKE GLUTEN-FREE BROWN RICE PENNE FROM JOVIAL)

3-4 TBSP HEAT-STABLE OIL FOR SAUTEEING (WE LIKE AVOCADO OIL, REFINED COCONUT OIL, OR BEEF TALLOW)

1 CAN BLACK OLIVES (TRY GREEN, KALAMATA, CASTELVETRANO, ETC.)

2 CANS WILD CAUGHT TUNA OR PINK SALMON (WE LIKE WILD PLANET)

1 CAN QUARTERED ARTICHOKES IN WATER

2 TBSP CAPERS & A LITTLE SPLASH OF THE JUICE

4-5 GREEN ONIONS OR SHALLOTS. COULD ALSO USE 1 SMALL RED OR YELLOW ONION

BIG HANDFUL OF ORGANIC ARUGULA AND BABY SPINACH (ABOUT HALF A BOX)

A FEW SPRIGS OF FRESH HERBS IF YOU HAVE THEM: ROSEMARY, THYME, ITALIAN FLAT PARSLEY, OR BASIL

1 TBSP OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, LEMON JUICE, OR BALSAMIC

*TASTE TEST! THEN SEE IF IT NEEDS A PINCH OF HIMALAYAN SALT (MAY NOT NEED IT FROM THE SALTINESS OF THE OLIVES)

Arrange all of the ingredients on a large surface. Bring the pasta water to a boil and add the pasta in. The Jovial pasta needs 9 minutes to cook. 

In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients except the greens and salt. Keep the pan on medium to medium high. It just needs a quick cook to soften the onions. When the onions look translucent, turn off the heat, add the greens and taste for salt and pepper. 

Plate the pasta with a drizzle of high quality olive oil, then add a few spoonfuls of the tuna mixture over top. Drizzle with more olive oil if you like and serve hot, hot, hot! 

What's your favorite Friday meal? Do you ever eat vegetarian to take a break from meat or save a little on your food budget? 

Nicole M. Caruso

I was born in Manhattan to two native New Yorkers who met working in the Garment Industry. Fashion was the family business. Suburban Connecticut is where I grew up and often daydreamed about someday attending New York Fashion Week.

When I was in college studying Communication & Media, I met the man of my dreams. We married nearly one year after our first date, and have been adventuring together ever since. While we moved around the country for his job, I freelanced as a makeup artist, worked in retail, and blogged about style & beauty as a creative outlet. 

Moving back to New York led to serendipitously working for two major fashion houses, where I learned the ins and outs of the industry, and attended Fashion Week both backstage and in the tents. Soon after, Verily Magazine brought me on as Beauty Editor, which was my dream job. It combined all of my passions and hobbies into one, and granted me a deeper understanding of print and digital media. One year after that, I had my daughter and experienced true fulfillment in motherhood. 

Everywhere I have traveled, I have met incredible women who inspired me to be the best version of myself; to wake up every day feeling confident and ready to Carpe Diem. I want to inspire women to explore their feminine genius by investing in their self-worth. This lifestyle blog is the place where I can share my worldview, my experiences, and my tips and tricks to live a more fulfilling life, which include expert style and beauty advice, tips for healthy living, and reflections on marriage and motherhood.