Tuna Marmitako is a basquiat traditional dish that hits all the right notes: delicious, easy and super healthy. It’s a light soup paired with fresh fish (in this case tuna) which can be made in under 40 minutes and will always turn out great – plus you can make it in just one pot. For the best flavor profile try to find dried pepper paste (pasta de pimiento choricero), but if this is not a possibility, depending on your location, you can replace it with tomato paste and smoked paprika.

Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan from Spain Including Tuna Soup

The Spanish diet is often thought to be one of the healthiest in the Mediterranean.  Spanish cuisine is known for a wide array of simple recipes using fresh ingredients.  They are best known for tapas, small plates of food eaten at bars and restaurants.  Here is a 1 day Mediterranean Diet Meal Plan from Spain.

Breakfast: Pan Con Tomate

As with much of the Mediterranean, breakfast in Spain is usually simple and sometimes not eaten at all.  Many areas of Spain have some version of Pan Con Tomate, which is a slice of toasted baguette with tomato.  Our recipe comes from Guadalajara Spain and uses a tomato-garlic-olive oil puree.  It is a fast breakfast that can be made in 5 minutes.  A protein can be added such as egg, but the preferred protein is usually an aged ham such as Jamon Serrano or Jamon Iberico.  If you can’t find that, you can try prosciutto.

Lunch: Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Potato Omelette)

Also known as Tortilla Espanola, this dish is as popular in Spain as the hamburger is in the U.S.  It is eaten at lunchtime throughout Spain and is often served cold with a slice of bread.  You might also enjoy this with a salad or a bowl of soup.  Finish off your hearty lunch with a fruit salad or just a piece of fruit.

Dinner: Tuna Soup plus Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables.

Dinner is the main meal and most people in Spain wouldn’t just eat tuna soup.  They often will have some type of greens such as Sautéed Swiss Chard with Garlic plus a salad.  Tuna soup can either the main meal or can be a side for a larger Sunday dinner.  Personally, I love a nice simple salad when I eat tuna soup.

How to Cook Tuna

You will notice that the tuna filet is not added until the very end of making the soup.  This is so you don’t overcook the fish.  Tuna should only cook for about 5 minutes.  Some people in Spain don’t even leave the heat on when they add the tuna so that it will only cook minimally.  Cooking for a few minutes is the perfect way to make sure you have cooked the tuna enough.

Health Benefits of Tuna in the Mediterranean Diet

Fresh tuna (as well as canned) has been shown to have many health benefits in large part because of it’s high levels of omega-3 fats.  Omega-3’s, found in most fatty fishes, has been found to decrease heart disease risk as well as potentially reducing risk of depression, mental decline, and even ADHD.  Tuna is an anti-inflammatory food and can also improve your immune health.  Tuna is also a great protein source if you are trying to lose weight.

Tuna Soup Marmitako

Tuna Soup from Spain (Marmitako)

Mediterranean Living
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 370 kcal


  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 small red pepper chopped
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried pepper paste (pasta de pimiento choricero) or 1 tbsp tomato paste plus 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 cups potato cut into small cubes
  • 4 cups fish stock or 4 cups water
  • 1 pound fresh tuna fillet
  • 1 small bunch parsley de-stemmed and chopped


  • Heat a Dutch oven or large pot to medium and add the olive oil.
  • Add the garlic clove, red pepper, green pepper and onion and sauté for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the dried pepper paste (or tomato paste and smoked paprika) and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.
  • Add the potatoes and fish stock. Bring to a light boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • While the soup is simmering, cut the tuna into 1/2" cubes.
  • After 20 minutes of simmering, add the fish and cook for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve and garnish each bowl with fresh parsley.


Calories: 370kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 35gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 868mgPotassium: 1152mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 4397IUVitamin C: 80mgCalcium: 124mgIron: 4mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.

Spanish Tapas to serve with Spanish Filet of Tuna Soup

Tortilla de Patata (Spanish Potato Omelette)

Pan Con Tomate (Toasted Baguette with Garlic Tomato Puree)

Roasted Veggie Flatbread

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  1. Luis April 7, 2023 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I am unsure whether the marmitako is considered a soup or a stew in the US.
    In Spain, it is typically classified as a stew (guiso), but the nuances of the words may differ between languages.
    The same happens when legumes are prepared, in Spain they are usually considered a stew.

    Could someone please clarify this for me? Thank you.

  2. Luis April 7, 2023 at 4:30 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Good recipe for “marmitako”. The recipe is similar to the one I have cooked during my work as a chef in northern Spain, which is the same as my grandparents used to make at home and in their restaurant 100 years ago. However, my grandmother used to “apañar” the marmitako at the end. In a pan with a little olive oil, she would brown some garlic, and once removed from the heat, she would add a couple of tablespoons of “pimentón” paprika. She would then add this “apaño” to the marmitako when it was ready.
    My grandfather was from Navarre with Basque ancestry. As you may know, the marmitako was a typical dish that fishermen ate when they were at sea. Although it has a different name, it is common in Asturias, Cantabria, and of course, in the Basque Country.

  3. Ravi April 25, 2022 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    4 stars
    Easy to make, healthy, and quite filling. My husband, who is a very picky eater, says this is a “Do Again” :)

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. April 26, 2022 at 11:37 am - Reply

      Like to hear picky eaters wanting more! Thanks for the comment.

  4. Phil February 25, 2022 at 11:20 am - Reply

    I’m allergic got Bell Peppers, can you suggest veggies to substitute them in this dish?

    • Bill Bradley, R.D. February 27, 2022 at 7:37 am - Reply

      You might try zucchini or even a chopped tomato.

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