Sweet Tomato + Tuna Pasta

Garbage Time.

If you’re a football fan like me, you are well aware of what garbage time is.  For those of you who aren’t as obsessed, it’s that period towards the end of a blowout game where one or both teams take out their best players, putting in subs instead.

I’m a little addicted to fantasy football and garbage time can make or break your fantasy score.  If you end up winning after scoring enough garbage time points, you’re thrilled!!  A game is a game!!  If you lose after some solid garbage time, it is devastating; you question every line-up choice you made.  Nobody likes to watch his or her big W slip away in the last few minutes of Red Zone.

This is exactly how I feel about leftovers.   Leftovers can go one of two ways just as garbage time in fantasy football:

  1. You try to be creative to no avail, leaving you wishing you had gone out to eat. 
  2. You try to be creative with what you’ve got and come up with a meal so good you can’t wait to make it again!!

Today was garbage day in our house, it was time for me to clear out the fridge and see what we’ve got.


See the thing is, is that I hate throwing food away.  In my brain, you might as well throwaway money.  I get this from my Dad.  Growing up he always ate all the food we left on our plates and as a family, we always ate all the leftovers in the house.

One year, my parents planted a garden – the only one I ever remember them planting… And my dad grew like 30 heads of romaine!!  I’m not even joking.  When it was time to pick and eat the romaine, he refused to let any of it go to waste.  He would send us to school with GALLON Ziploc bags filled with romaine in our lunch boxes!  We ate salad for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Every.  Single. Day. 

These memories crack me up whenever they cross my mind but clearly his methods worked!  Twenty years later and I still attempt to never waste an ounce of food.


So, I cleared out our fridge and made three piles:

  1. Food that needs to be eaten ASAP!!
  2. Food that will be chopped up and given to the chickens as snacks!!  They LOVE snack time :)
  3. Food that can just be popped right back in the fridge!

So first things first, I chopped up all the goodies for the chicks and headed out to the coop.  The girls absolutely love the sound of my voice; the minute I start talking, they start flocking toward me.  It is adorable and an absolute joy to go out there and spend time with them! 

After snack time I headed back into the kitchen to start cooking with my first pile, food that needed to be eaten ASAP.  I had 1# of mini bell peppers and nearly 2# of cherry tomatoes so immediately I thought, SPAGHETTI! 

I decided to cut the tops off the bell peppers, deseed them, and throw them into a gallon Ziploc with the cherry tomatoes, some Sun-Coco Oil, and seasonings.  I then placed them onto a sheet pan and popped them into the oven to roast.

While roasting the veggies, I found a few more items that would be just perfect for my sauce!  Half an onion, homemade harissa (which would add an irresistibly smokey flavor, YUM!), minced garlic, and jarred roasted red peppers.  Knowing that all of this would complete my sauce with a few extra spices, I went to the pantry in search of a few more add-ins, ideally something with protein. 

To my delight, we had both chickpeas and canned tuna in the house – both of which would be perfect for my Sweet Tomato & Tuna Pasta.

Once the veggies were out of the oven and slightly cooled, I roughly chopped them and tossed them into a large bowl.  I then added the remaining ingredients I had picked out and folded them together.  Finally, I folded in al denta pasta elbows and poured the entire mixture into my favorite casserole dish.

Quick note on the pasta, I used Ancient Harvest Elbows.  This is the brand I used at the bakery and it was amazing!  We always got compliments on our pasta!  It has a great texture and flavor; however, the key to making it fantastic is cooking it right.  For this recipe, since the pasta will be further baked, make sure it is al dente (firm when bitten).

Back to the dish!!  I topped the pasta off with a touch of dried oregano, freshly grated Parmesan, capers, and a drizzle of olive oil and popped it in the oven.


After 20 minutes our house smelled magical!  But here’s the kicker, it was 9:30a!! Hahaha perhaps I got after it too early??  In any case, dinner was ready to rock n’ roll.


That evening, my girlfriend, Ben, and I sat down for Sweet Tomato & Tuna Pasta filled with herbs, spices, tuna, and chickpeas and it was damn delicious!  We paired the pasta with a cheese platter, Milton’s perfect GF crackers, and a variety of salty olives. 

This was leftovers done right, a meal that I will be making many, many times again, and garbage time for the big fat W!!


Don’t forget to share your creations with @ryliecakesgf, #ryliecakesrecipes.

I cannot wait to see them :)

Lick the Bowl – You Only Live Once,

Tara Rylie


Sweet Tomato & Tuna Pasta

(Yield: Approximately 10 generous servings)



  • 1# mini bell peppers
  • 28 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 4 oz Sun-Coco Oil
  • 2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp pepper, divided
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 16 oz GF Pasta Elbows
  • 4 oz onion, roughly chopped
  • 11.25 oz jarred roasted red pepper
  • 4 oz harissa
  • 3 oz minced garlic
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (12 oz total) tuna, drained


  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 3 oz freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 oz capers, drained
  • QS olive oil


Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a half sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.

  1. Chop the stems off of the mini bell peppers, deseed, and cut in half lengthwise. 
  2. Place halved mini bell peppers in a gallon Ziploc with cherry tomatoes, Sun-Coco Oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, dried oregano, and dried rosemary.  Shake up until all veggies are coated in oil and spices.  Pour veggies onto prepared sheet pan and roast for 40 minutes; rotating pan 180° halfway through.
  3. While veggies are roasting, cook pasta according to package.  I like to cook 1# of pasta in 3-4 QTs of water that is salted like the sea!!  I cooked mine for 8 minutes, stirring often, until it was al dente.  When done, drain pasta and place in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Once veggies are done, remove from oven and let cool slightly before roughly chopping.  Then add veggies to large mixing bowl with pasta.  Turn down oven to 325°F.
  5. Next, add onion, jarred roasted red peppers, harissa, garlic, chickpeas, tuna, and remaining 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of pepper to the large mixing bowl.  Fold all ingredients together.
  6. Pour pasta mixture into a 9x13” rectangular casserole dish or a 14” oval casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle pasta with dried oregano, freshly grated Parmesan, and capers.  Drizzle olive oil over top.
  8. Bake pasta for 20 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to turn golden brown.
  9. Serve warm with a cheese platter, crackers, and a variety of olives :)
  10. Share your photos on @ryliecakesgf, #ryliecakesrecipes