Quick Tuna Cabbage & Pesto

Tuna Cabbage & Pesto

Warm cabbage is my go-to when I’m looking for an alternative to a big bowl of pasta. Especially this Quick Tuna Cabbage & Pesto recipe.

It ticks all the same boxes of deliciousness, ease and comfort.

But it’s even quicker to cook than most pastas.

AND so much better for you.

No bloat or heavy feeling after you’ve eaten.

This combo of tuna and pesto is so so delicious. I could eat it every day.

I have been using my stash of frozen pesto I made back in the Summer when my basil was abundant, however it’s great with store bought pesto as well.

If you have some cabbage in the fridge and a jar of pesto and a can of tuna in the pantry, this dinner is literally only 10-15 minutes away.

No excuses for dialling a pizza!

Quick Tuna & Pesto Cabbage
5 from 5 votes

Quick Tuna Cabbage & Pesto

Course Dinner
Cuisine modern
Keyword cabbage, dinner, pesto, quick, recipe, simple, tuna
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2


  • 1/2 small cabbage or 1/4 large about 500g / 1lb
  • 2 medium cans tuna 200g / 7oz each, drained
  • 6-8 heaped tablespoons pesto
  • a good glug extra virgin olive oil
  • shaved parmesan to serve (optional)


  1. Bring about 2cm (1in) salted water to the boil in a large saucepan.
  2. Slice cabbage, leaving as chunky of fine as you like. Simmer cabbage, covered for 3-4 minutes or until cabbage is softened but still has some bite. You want it to be ‘al dente’ like cooked pasta. Drain.
  3. Return cabbage to the pan and stir in tuna, pesto and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season with salt and more pesto as needed. Serve in big bowls with or without the shaved parmesan.

Recipe Video

Substitutions Quick Tuna Cabbage & Pesto

short on time – use pre-sliced cabbage.

different veg – also wonderful with broccoli or cauliflower. Just simmer these for a little longer – usually 5 minutes is enough. Pesto and tuna also work really well tossed through cooked greens like chard / collards / kale / spinach.

different protein – see vegetarian options or replace tuna with roast macadamias, walnuts or hazelnuts.

vegetarian – replace tuna with crumbled tofu, ricotta, cooked chickpeas, cooked lentils, walnuts, macadamias, avocado (not technically a protein but you get the idea). Or serve the pesto cabbage with a fried or poached egg or two.

carnivore – replace tuna with cooked sausages or chicken.

fresh fish – if you’re not a canned tuna fan, serve the pesto cabbage as a side to pan fried fish or toss in some cooked peeled prawns (shrimp).

more substantial (carb lovers) – hello cooked pasta!

more substantial (low carb) – use more cabbage and be generous with the pesto and oil. More tuna is another option. Add roast almonds and shaved parmesan.

Low FODMAP – a little cabbage (as long as it’s not savoy / Napa cabbage) is OK. But a whole meal of cabbage like this might be too much! Best to replace half the cabbage with some cooked rice or steamed potatoes or other low FODMAP veg like kale or spinach.

dairy-free – skip the parmesan and use a dairy-free pesto or replace with roast almonds.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

cabbage – will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for weeks, even months. Can be frozen but will have a wilted texture once defrosted.

cans tuna / extra virgin olive oil – keep them in the pantry.

pesto – commercial jars of pesto will keep for months in the pantry. Fresh pesto will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Cover with olive oil to prevent exposure to air and browning reactions.

parmesan – keeps for longer in a chunk so only grate when you’re cooking. I wrap in waxed paper or baking paper and then keep in an airtight container or a sealed ziplock bag. I prefer this over just wrapping in cling wrap because the air in the container allows the cheese to breathe and not sweat but the container / plastic bag prevents from drying out in the dry fridge air. Either way will keep for months.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the extra parmesan separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks or can be frozen. Either serve cold from the fridge or warm in a pan with a little olive oil.

Tuna Cabbage & Pesto

More simple recipes similar to Tuna Cabbage & Pesto

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x

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  • 5 stars
    This was very quick, very filling and very delicious!
    I used the thinner slicing blade setting on my mandoline and followed the recipe as shown, as it was my first taste.
    No salt for me next time (the jarred pesto I use and the Parmesan add enough), but perfect as it is.
    Another winner for my meal rotation! Thank you :)

  • Do you have a recipe for your homemade basil pesto?I have an abundance of basil right now. Thank you.

  • 5 stars
    Was told I need to eat more dark leafy greens and fish, but really struggled to work out how. Enter this recipe (and a kale pesto)….. I’m now on to my third cook up and omg I’m still loving it, thank you!!!!
    (Also, your entire collection is incredible, I am so grateful to have found your page! Simple, quick recipes that taste amazing – the best!!)

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