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bowl with fork of pasta with beans and tomatoes and tuna with glass of wine

Easy Nicoise Pasta

This tasty dish takes everything that’s appealing about the traditional French Nicoise salad and transforms it into an easy weeknight supper. Colorful, flavorful, and healthful, this pasta is packed with protein, vegetables, and fresh basil, all with a family-friendly price tag. It can also be enjoyed room temperature as a pasta salad. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 3 to 4
Calories 456 kcal
Author Katie Morford


  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed (snapped in half if very long)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 anchovy filets packed in oil, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 five-ounce cans tuna drained
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, torn in half
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook for 8 minutes. Add the green beans to the pot and cook until the penne is done, about 2 more minutes. Scoop up ½ cup of pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and beans in a colander.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the garlic and anchovies saute for about 1 minute, being sure the garlic doesn’t brown or burn. Add the tomatoes, tuna (flaking it into pieces with a fork), olives, basil, and half the pasta cooking water. Stir well. Add the cooked pasta and beans, salt, and several generous grinds of black pepper. Stir well. Tastes and add more salt and pepper if needed, and more pasta cooking water if the pasta isn't moist enough.

  3. Remove from heat and serve in bowls with Parmesan cheese to grate over the top.