Simply Healthy Family: Pasta Tuna Nicoise: What to Make for Dinner When You Don't Feel Like Making Dinner...


Pasta Tuna Nicoise: What to Make for Dinner When You Don't Feel Like Making Dinner...

Some days I'm so exhausted from trying to keep 4 kids alive that I have zero desire to make anything for dinner. Apples and popcorn anyone? After I pull myself together {relatively speaking} and take a deep breath I drag myself into the kitchen to see what's in the pantry that can literally be thrown together. This is the biggest reason why I don't keep junk food in the house, to ward off the temptation to eat boxed or frozen dinners which are full of preservatives, additives and nutrient deprived. Where I do cheat is keeping canned beans handy for when I forget to soak and prep dried beans. I also always have brown rice, lentils and whole grain pasta in my pantry. Canned light tuna and canned Alaskan salmon are great pantry staples as well and can be thrown into pasta or rice to make a complete meal in minutes when veggies are added.

Here is one of those dinners that were a big hit with the kiddos and more importantly, healthy and adult friendly as well. When I was little we had tuna casserole once or twice a month. Do you know the casserole I'm talking about? The one with canned tuna, cream of mushroom soup, frozen peas and crushed Ritz crackers sprinkled over top and then served on top of wide egg noodles. Ahhh, now that's nostalgic magic!

Well it was a big treat back in the day and a change from the beans and cornbread or fish and rice that we usually ate. I suppose frugality played a big role in us having that tuna casserole so often for dinner, as did my mom having 4 kids running around the house like wild monkeys as do I. Images of my 5 year old brother putting the car into gear while my mom was closing the garage door and driving it through the garage and into our living room are popping into my head. It's amazing she didn't just throw bird seed at us for dinner.

So, as much as I love to cook and as much as I want to enjoy a really wonderful meal, some days it's just not in the cards. Again, without resorting to Kraft Mac N' Cheese or hot dogs you can easily throw together a fuss free and healthy meal. This pasta is a healthy and adult spin on Tuna Casserole. I omitted the cream of mushroom soup or mayo that's usually in tuna casserole and opted for a light citrus dressing that is flavored with fresh herbs. Spring, pole beans replace the frozen peas since they are in season but feel free to use any veggies you have on hand, frozen works just as well.

TIME  15 MINUTES        SERVES  6-8


1 lb. whole grain pasta, cooked according to package directions
2-6oz cans light tuna or Alaskan salmon, drained
1-14 oz. can Organic cannelini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 lb fresh pole beans or snap peas
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 teaspoons dried tarragon (goes great with tuna, yum)
1 fresh lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

Putting  Throwing it All Together:

In a large stock pot bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pole beans and cook for just 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, drain.

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, tarragon, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl combine tuna, white beans, pole beans, tomatoes, red bell pepper, onion, cooked pasta, chives and parsley, toss to combine. Add dressing and toss to coat.

That's it!

What's your favorite 'Fuss Free' dinner?

This post is linked to Kitchen Corners for her May Cook off: Your favorite 'Go To' recipe.



  1. Looks delicious. I'm on a seafood jag these days for my family. Must get those omega-3 fats! My 12-year old would gobble your salad right up (everything expect the tomatoes)!

  2. Thankfully, my mom never heard of any of these casseroles that used cream of whatever soup and ritz crackers otherwise I'm sure we would have had them every night. LOVE this nicoise pasta salad! Especially since it makes so much many yummy leftovers!

  3. Your salad looks wonderful. I'm not surprised the kids loved it. My favorite quick meals are pastas with simple sauces.This is my first visit to your blog so I've been browsing through your earlier posts. You've created a lovely spot for your readers to visit and I've really enjoyed the time I spent here. I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  4. This is something I can never turn down. The salad looks just wonderful. I love the combination of all flavours. 4 kids are a big challenge to feed. God bless you.

  5. HAHAHA! This is my kind of dinner! I constantly need easy healthy quick dinner!Thanks dear!

  6. This looks so great! And easy.

  7. My favorite fuss free dinner?? Breakfast for dinner!!!!
    I am glad you found ,y blog via babble...It lead me to yours as well!

  8. This looks great! I just printed it out and will try it out this weekend and see how the fam likes it!

  9. Let me know how you like it!

  10. Since I NEVER feel like making dinner, this is right up my ally! Thanks a zillion! Oh and check out my Funky Vintage Lovely giveaway this week - you could win a pretty necklace from a fun shop! Would look fabulous with your new TEA shirt!

  11. Well done!! I can relate as I also have 4 kids and there are times one just wants to call for pizza - this is SO much better - in just about every way. I will remember this next time I'm tempted to make that call!
    Thanks so much

  12. I love your modern, healthier version of tuna casserole. My fave fuss-free dinner is usually some type of sauteed veggies on quinoa, pasta, or rice. Might be curry or Italian, just depends on my mood!

  13. Visiting from Lady Blogger Society and now a new follower!

  14. This sounds perfect! My no-fuss dinner (for myself) is usually a salad topped with tofu, nuts, chickpeas or seeds. For my partner I'd make oven baked meatballs or salmon as a quick dinner.


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