Contrary to popular opinion, tuna is one of my favorite foods. If you've ever had a mean tuna melt, then you know what I mean. Now that classes are back in session, you might be looking to spruce up your diet and Food Network star Ellie Krieger is here to help. 

Krieger shared with Spoon two recipes perfect for college students looking for a delicious and fulfilling meal. Keep on reading to see recipes for tuna quesadillas and pasta salad with tuna, white beans and vegetables. 

Tuna Quesadillas

Photo by Ellie Krieger


Serving Size: 1 quesadilla and 2 tablespoons salsa and 1 ½ tablespoons yogurt cup

Per Serving: Calories 240; Total Fat 9g; (Sat Fat 3.5g); Protein 22g; Carb 20g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 650mg; Total Sugar 3g (Added Sugar 0g)


-One 12 ounce can or Two 5 ounce cans of Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna in water, drained

-½ cup packed shredded Monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese (2 ounces)

-2 scallions, thinly sliced (about ¼ cup)

-¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

-1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

-4 whole wheat tortillas (8-inches in diameter)

2 cups coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach leaves

-1 teaspoon olive oil, divided

-½ cup jarred salsa, optional

-1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, optional


1) In a medium bowl toss together the tuna, cheese, scallions, cilantro, and the lime juice.

2) Lay the tortillas onto a work surface and mound a quarter of the tuna mixture (about ½ cup) onto half of each tortilla. Pile ½ cup of the spinach on top of each. Fold other half of the tortilla over the filling to create a half moon.

3) Brush a medium non-stick or cast iron skillet with half of the oil and heat it over a medium-high heat. Put two quesadillas into the skillet and weigh them down with a kettle or plate with a heavy can on top. Cook until the quesadillas are golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melting, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

4) Repeat with remaining two quesadillas in same manner.

Cut the warm quesadillas into wedges and serve with salsa and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream alongside if desired. 

Pasta Salad with Tuna, White Beans and Vegetables

Photo by Ellie Krieger

Serves: 4-6 

Per Serving (based on 6 servings) : Calories 320; Total Fat 10g; (Sat Fat 1.5g); Protein 18g; Carb 41g; Fiber 3g; Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 430mg; Total Sugar 3g (Added Sugar 0g)


-8 ounces rotini pasta or a similar shape, regular or whole grain

-¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

-2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, or 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and dried basil

-½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

-¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

-1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

-1 medium yellow, orange or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces

-1 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed

-¼ cup finely diced red onion

- One 12-ounce can or two 5-ounce cans Chicken of the Sea chunk light tuna in water, drained


1) Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain, then transfer the pasta to a large shallow dish, toss with 1 teaspoon of the oil, and allow it to cool completely.

2) In a small bowl whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, the vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

3) In a large bowl toss together the pasta, tomatoes, bell pepper, beans and onions. Add the tuna and the dressing and toss gently to combine. Season with additional salt to taste.

The pasta salad will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days.