With al-dente spaghetti tossed in delicious Japanese-style seasoning, this Miso Butter Pasta with Tuna and Cabbage makes a quick meal you’ll love. It takes only simple pantry ingredients and ready in 15 minutes!
Looking for best pasta recipes that call for just a handful of pantry ingredients and little prep work, but still deliver big flavors? This Miso Butter Pasta with Tuna and Cabbage is exactly what you’ll need.
Why You’ll Love This Japanese-Style Pasta
Japanese home cooks take advantage of canned fish for busy days or when we don’t have time to shop. In my kitchen, I always have a few cans of sardines, anchovies, and tuna. They are survival food with lots of potentials. When you combine the canned fish with essential pantry staples like rice and pasta, it turns into a full-blown meal, like this Japanese-style pasta.
In this recipe, I used a combination of canned tuna and long-lasting cabbage in the pasta, and season it with Japanese flavors. While cabbage lends freshness and crunch, the tuna adds bulk, depth, and complexity.
The whole meal takes me only 15 minutes to put together. It’s delicious, super convenient, and economical!
What You’ll Need to Make Miso Butter Pasta
Here are what you need to make this pantry-focus pasta:
- Spaghetti – Or any kind of pasta you prefer/have.
- Cabbage – Substitute with frozen peas or other greens you have on hand.
- Canned tuna – For vegan/vegetarian, use deep-fried firm tofu, tofu puffs, or more vegetables.
- Garlic – It adds extra flavor!
- Miso – It can be any kind of miso you enjoy.
- Butter – I use unsalted, but if you only have salted butter, please adjust the amount of salt in the pasta water, miso, or soy sauce.
- Soy Sauce – A splash of soy sauce makes a difference, yes, really!
Miso For Extra Umami
As simple as the pasta sounds, it doesn’t compromise on flavor. Thanks to miso, the secret weapon in my Japanese pantry, it gives the dish a much needed sweet-savory umami oomph.
Although you can use any type of miso for this recipe, my recommendation is this organic Kodawattemasu Miso by Hikari Miso. It is by far my favorite miso that I have been using for over a decade! I’ve been sharing delicious and easy miso recipes every month in partnership with the company, so do check out if you enjoy miso in the recipe.
And remember that every type and brand of miso has a different level of saltiness. So it’s important to taste your miso first, then adjust the desired amount of miso for each recipe.
Keep this Miso Butter Pasta recipe in your back pocket now, and throw it together any night of the week when simple is your life mantra.
Cooking for kids? Feel free to sprinkle over with some shaved parmesan. Enjoy!
If you like this miso-infused pasta, check out my creamy miso pasta with tofu and asparagus. It’s vegetarian friendly!
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Miso Butter Pasta with Tuna and Cabbage
- 1 Tbsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (for cooking pasta)
- 7 oz spaghetti
- 2 cloves garlic
- 5 oz cabbage (3 leaves)
- 1 can canned tuna (2.8 oz, 80g)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp miso
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp mirin
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Cook Spaghetti
- Start boiling 4 quarts (16 cups, 3.8 L) water in a large pot (I used a 4.5 QT Dutch oven). Once boiling, add salt and spaghetti.
- Stir to make sure spaghetti doesn’t stick to each other. Tip: I usually reduce the cooking time by 1 minute if I have to continue cooking the pasta afterward. Drain if you finish cooking the spaghetti first, but you should be able to cook the rest of the ingredients in 10 minutes while spaghetti is being cooked.
To Prepare Ingredients
- While cooking pasta, we prepare the ingredients. Peel the garlic cloves and thinly slice them.
- Remove the tough core of the cabbage and cut into 1-inch square pieces.
- Drain the canned tuna. If you use a big chunk, you can cut/break into smaller pieces (optional).
To Cook Tuna and Cabbage Japanese Pasta
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. While the oil is still not hot yet, add the garlic to start infusing. Make sure to coat the garlic with oil.
- When the garlic is sizzling and well-coated with oil, add the cabbage and coat with the oil for 2 minutes or so.
- Add the canned tuna and toss it together with the cabbage.
- Add freshly ground black pepper, unsalted butter, and miso. Stir to mix well and let the butter melt completely.
- Reserve ¼ cup (60 ml) of pasta water and add to the frying pan.
- Shake the pan and mix all the ingredients together. Make sure the miso is dissolved while mixing by this time.
- Add the soy sauce and mirin.
- When the spaghetti is done cooking, pick up the noodles with a pair of tongs (or you can quickly drain in the sink) and add to the pan. Toss the spaghetti to mix all together.
- Season the spaghetti with freshly ground pepper. Taste and add salt if needed. The reserved pasta water I added has enough salt so I do not add additional salt here. Serve the pasta to individual dishes. Enjoy!