Tuna pasta bake.

I’ve got a question for you. Have you met John West? “No, who’s that?” you ask. Sure you have!
He’s that tin of tuna sitting at the back of the pantry shelf, hanging out with the collection of canned goods that have been there for ages (the ones you have no idea what to do with).

Would it be correct to say that there’s probably some variety of tinned vegetable (maybe even some beans, or a random tin of soup) in there as well? Well it’s time to bring this humble little tin of tuna to the front. Why?

Tuna is...

  • Cheap
    You can get a single-serve tin of tuna (95g) for just 90 cents at both Coles and Woolies.
  • Nutritious
    Just a small tin of tuna (95g) has 23 grams of protein – which is around half of a females’, and just over a third of a males’, recommended daily intake. Talk about bang for your buck! Tuna also contains Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are beneficial for heart health and in decreasing the risk of stroke.
  • Versatile
    You can eat it by itself, toss it through a salad, make tuna pasta bake – the list goes on! Some favourites of mine include draining a can and making a tuna and salad wrap for lunch, adding some chopped onion, bread crumbs and eggs to make tuna patties, or even tossing a can through pasta. Just search ‘tuna recipes’ on Google, and you’ll be spoilt for choice.
  • Tasty
    Whether you’re a ‘straight from the tin with a cracker’ type of person, or someone who likes to incorporate it into a full-blown meal, you can’t deny it: tuna tastes good! You can also change it up a bit and try some of the different flavours.

So that little tin of tuna sitting in the back of your pantry is starting to sound pretty good, hey?

While you can use that tin in so many different ways, here’s my favourite — a recipe for a Tuna Loaded Baked Potato. It’s perfect for those weeks when money is a bit tight, and you don’t know what to cook. Did I mention it costs less than A$5? Keep reading.

A golden baked potato straight out of the oven.

Tuna loaded baked potato


  • 1 large potato
  • Oil or butter (optional)
  • 1 small (95g) tin of tuna
  • ¼ of a large (400g) tin of corn
  • ½ carrot, grated
  • 1 tomato, diced


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Stab the potato with a fork several times, coat it with oil and place it on a baking tray. You can use an oven-proof bowl if you don’t have a tray. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until soft.
  3. If you’re strapped for time, you can zap the potato in the microwave instead. One potato (pierced with a fork) will cook on high in about 4–6 minutes and will have the same texture as an oven-baked potato on the inside (it’s just a little less crispy on the outside).
  4. Once cooked, cut the potato in a cross shape halfway down to open up the center. Then add a chunk of butter and allow it to melt into the potato.
  5. Drain the tin of tuna and spoon onto the open potato.
  6. Drain the corn and add it to the top of tuna. Save the rest of the corn for another day.
  7. Grate the carrot, dice the tomato, and pile it on top.
  8. At this point add anything else that you like (and have available at home). If you have some coleslaw – chuck it on. If you’ve found some cheese at the back of the fridge, it will be perfect. And if you like tomato sauce? Why not?

If you prefer sweet potato (or if it’s cheaper this week), you could use it instead.

Keen to add more flavour? Opt for a flavoured tin of tuna. Of course, if you don’t like tuna at all, you can also use tinned salmon, sardines or even tinned chicken! It’s amazing what’s available in a tin, and costs next to nothing.

On that note, all of the ingredients (except the oil and butter) in this recipe will add up to under A$5 at the checkout. Yes, I’m not joking. So if you’re a bit strapped for cash and don’t know what you’re going to have for dinner, just ask John West. That little legend has your back.

What else have you tried on a baked potato, or with a tin of tuna? The team here would love to hear about your fabulous recipes. Send your ideas to healthpromotion@swinburne.edu.au.

Further support
  • Aim4Me offers simple, easy advice that can help us students feel better about what we eat (and how it makes our bodies feel).

Written by Nicole Missen, Master of Dietetics student, in collaboration with Robyn Delbridge, Dietitian (AdvAPD) and Lecturer, Master of Dietetics, Swinburne.

Did you know?

Swinburne offers on-site health services and fully confidential counselling to students at all campuses. To book a session with our Hawthorn on-campus dietitian, simply call +61 3 9214 8483 or register and make an appointment

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