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Easy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe

Easy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe


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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Pasta salad
  • Seafood pasta salad
  • Tuna pasta salad

A super-tasty pasta salad that's quick to make. Enjoy as a side dish or pop into packed lunches.

68 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 4 - 6 servings

  • 210g macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 (185g) tin tuna packed in oil, drained

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to the boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill. Set aside to dry.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the cooled macaroni, mayonnaise, onion and tuna. Adjust seasoning to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(33)

Reviews in English (32)

by Pheobe Alverson

This is so simple! Be sure not to but too much onion in!! I did and ended up picking all I could out to prevent MAJOR heartburn!-05 Oct 2005

by ENGLISHLADY

Simple but satisfying, serve with a nice green salad for nigh on summer lunch perfection! I find light mayonnaise is just as good as full fat for this..and better for you-29 Aug 2005


This recipe was originally published on July 14, 2020. It was updated on May 10, 2021.

Satisfy your whole crew with a recipe that's easy to make but big on flavor with this Zesty ItalianPasta Salad with Tuna. Don't be intimidated by the homemade dressing-- it really isn't that hard! Just measure out and whisk up your dressing ingredients and you're good to go.

Next, you'll mix in your pasta, veggies, and tuna, and dinner will be on the table! This salad is perfect for potlucks, barbecues, summer lunches, and makes delicious leftovers for meal prep!

Who says tuna pasta salad has to have mayo?!

I mean, nothing against mayo -- I'm definitely a fan girl-- but sometimes we need a change of pace, or to feed our "no mayo" friends and family.

And even though we can find more healthy and processed ingredient-free mayos out there these days, sometimes I'm looking for something lighter and healthier.

Or, sometimes, I'm looking for a salad that is more veggie forward or will last for a longer period of time out of the refrigerator. And sometimes I'm looking for a healthier take on traditional Italian pasta salad.

Growing up northeast and Midwest states, Italian pasta salad was a staple. I mean, if you didn't see it at a summer barbecue or potluck, it would make you start to wonder if something was wrong.

The look was borderline iconic -- tri-color rotini pasta tossed in that golden bottled Italian dressing with sliced black olives, a few diced vegetables, cubed cheese, and -- if you were lucky -- diced up salami or pepperoni scattered throughout.

And though I'm not here to dethrone such a legendary dish, I am here to introduce another, just as tasty, but healthier take on Italian pasta salad.

With tuna in place of the salami, and a handful of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese in place of the cubed cheese, we lower the saturated fat in this recipe. The tuna provides lean protein, healthy fats, and minerals (source), not to mention flavor. Oh, and all of those vegetables? They contribute crunch, fiber, and nutrients while making the salad more filling.

Most importantly, I want to encourage you to not be intimidated by the salad dressing. Really!! It's homemade, yes, but it uses all common pantry ingredients and whisks up in no time.

But, of course, if you really don't want to make your own, I won't judge. Primal Kitchen's Italian Dressing is quite good, too, and lacks any weird preservatives or other mystery ingredients!

Either way, you'll be doing good by both your taste buds and your health with this healthy and fresh salad. Make it up for yourself and enjoy it as meal prep throughout the week or be the star of your next barbecue or potluck by showing up with big bowl for your friends. After all, sharing is caring, eh?

Follow me on your favorite social platforms to get all of my new recipes, updates, and posts!

Here at Mae's Menu, we have a variety of readers: those who are more experienced in the kitchen and want to zip straight through to the recipe and those who want to learn more about the dish, potential substitutions, and more.

To skip straight to the recipe, just click "Jump to Recipe" at the top left of this post. To browse the post quickly, just click the headings in the table of contents below.

Table of contents

This recipe is.

  • Light
  • Satisfying
  • Zesty
  • Crunchy
  • Chewy
  • Savory

This is my best Italian pasta salad recipe: it's just like a traditional Italian pasta salad, but with tuna added! It has flavor and crunch and the savory Italian dressing you love and some extra protein to add flavor and fill you up.

Recipe ingredients

This pasta salad is made with ingredients that are pretty easy to find year round in most major grocery store chains!

  • Pasta
  • Canned tuna
  • Olive oil
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dried basil and thyme
  • Garlic
  • Sweet onion
  • Cucumber
  • Sweet pepper
  • Baby tomatoes
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredient substitutions:

  • Vinegar - don't have distilled white vinegar? You can also use white wine vinegar in its place.
  • Oil - avocado oil will also work in place of the olive oil
  • Sugar - this recipe has just a wee bit of sugar, but if you'd rather use a natural sweetener you can substitute honey. It will affect the flavor just a bit, but the overall experience should be pretty close to the same. 🙂
  • Herbs - you can substitute in fresh herbs in place of the dried if you have them on hand. Just use 3 times the amount of fresh ingredients as you would dry.
  • Tuna - flaked canned chicken or small cooked shrimp can substitute well for the tuna

How to make this Italian tuna pasta salad with no mayo.

  1. Boil the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander, rinse briefly with cool water, and let the pasta rest for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
  3. Gently stir the pasta, vegetables, tuna, and shredded cheese into the dressing until the vegetables and pasta are evenly covered with the dressing.
  4. Let the salad cool for 1-2 hours covered in the fridge or serve right away. Enjoy!

Recipe pro-tips:

  1. Boil the pasta in heavily salted water - Salting the water that you boil the pasta in will give you the best-tasting pasta. To salt the water for the best flavor, add 1.5-2 tablespoons of salt for every 2 quarts of water you boil.
  2. Left the salad rest before serving - let the salad rest for at least a few hours before serving. This will let the pasta marinate in the flavors of the dressing, making the dish the most flavorful.
  3. Use your favorite pasta shape - many types of pasta (macaroni, rotini, orecchiette, bow-ties, etc.) work great in this recipe so just use your favorite shape.

Recipe FAQs:

The best type of canned tuna for this salad is solid albacore tuna. It is a meatier type of tuna that has a cleaner flavor than chunk light or other types of tuna. If you don't have or can't find albacore tuna, however, chunk link tuna can work as a substitute.

Unfortunately, this pasta salad does not freeze well.

Yes, you can divide or multiply this recipe by whatever amount you would lik and follow the recipes as directed.

Storage directions:

You can store this leftover Italian pasta tuna salad covered in the refrigerator. It will last 4-5 days, though is best if eaten within the first 2-3 days.

Dietary adaptations:

  • Gluten-free: to make this pasta salad gluten-free, just substitute in gluten-free pasta in the place of traditional wheat pasta
  • Vegetarian: to make this recipe vegetarian, simply omit the tuna from the recipe.

Cold tuna pasta salad serving suggestions:

This healthy salad is delicious served on its own, but it's also super tasty served the following ways

  • On a bed of fresh greens or lettuce
  • Alongside burgers
  • With grilled chicken or salmon
  • With grilled veggie skewers
  • With a glass of Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Tools you need to make this salad:

Other salad recipes:

Other pasta recipes to check out:

If you make and like this recipe, please review and rate it 5-stars at the top of the recipe card. This helps other people to find the recipes and helps this reader-supported publication, too!

Thank you so much for your feedback and support of Mae's Menu!


Tuna Pasta Salad

  • Yield: 10 Servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Course: Lunch, Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons relish , sweet or dill both work well
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni , cooked and drained
  • 1 cup green peas , frozen
  • 12 ounces canned chunk tuna , drained
  • 4 stalks celery , chopped

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 10 Servings, Amount per serving: 322 calories, Calories: 322g, Carbohydrates: 42g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 699mg, Potassium: 253mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 234g, Vitamin C: 7g, Calcium: 28g, Iron: 1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

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Tuna Pasta Salad

Ok, hope you love tuna pasta salad as much as we do! This huge bowl was devoured quick for lunch in the text kitchen. It was the perfect pasta lunch that&rsquos loaded with flavor and texture. The secret to why our recipe is so delicious is because we use lots of tuna. Yes, we love it and added 3 cans to the recipe for maximum tuna in each bite. With the added chopped celery and other awesome ingredients it&rsquos not a boring dish. It&rsquos the party-perfect bowl of easy pasta salad to bring to the next potluck or party.

Video: Best Tuna Pasta Salad

How to Make Easy Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

We already talked about adding extra tuna. Now the part to make this dish great is choosing the pasta. We prefer smaller pasta so that it&rsquos not too filling and so that each bite is loaded with more tuna. Small elbow macaroni, ditalini, rotini and farfalle or bow tie is our favorite. They&rsquore smaller, taste tender and aren&rsquot too filling. All recipe details and photos are in the recipe box below.


Making tuna pasta salad

  • 6.4 oz. package of tuna
  • 16 oz. rotelle pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 5 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 cup chopped sweet pickles
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle juice
  • salt
  • pepper

This yummy pasta salad only calls for a few ingredients, tuna, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and mayo. The star of this salad though, is the sweet pickles and pickle juice.

While the pasta is cooking I quickly chop up my carrots, celery and sweet pickles. You could add onion or pepper but I&rsquom not a fan so they aren&rsquot invited to my pasta salad party.

After the pasta is drained and rinsed I put it in a bowl. I add all of the chopped veggies and pickles, a sprinkling of salt and pepper and a cup of mayo. Then I mix it all up and then add a 1/4 cup of magic&hellipthe sweet pickle juice. Just a little to give it that sweetness.

Next I add the tuna, and mix it all well.

I like my salad to be nice and cold so I&rsquoll stick it in the fridge for an hour or two before I serve it. When I&rsquom ready to eat I just give it a good stir and spoon some on a plate.

A quick and delicious lunch, and you have several days worth just waiting in the fridge for you. It&rsquos also great for picnics and family get-togethers.


Keto Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 – 8 ounce bag of Great Low Carb Bread Company Pasta Noodles, Elbow Pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 – 5 ounce cans of tuna
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Dukes Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt if you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 celery stalks (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small cucumber (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 red onion (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons dill pickle relish

How To Make Tuna Pasta Salad

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package.
Drain tuna fish


Dice onion and celery
Add mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
Mix all together and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Optional Toppings:

Peas
Bacon
Crunchy Onions
In place of mayo, you use 2 tbsp of olive oil and 2-3 sliced avocados.
Hard-Boiled Eggs
For a spicy kick top with diced Jalapenos!

Pin this summer side dish for later!

Classic Tuna Pasta Salad

Serve this classic tuna pasta salad with fruit, crackers or for a complete meal add a soup or salad!


Easy Tuna Carbonara

In just 30 minutes, you can make a delicious, creamy tuna carbonara with ingredients you probably already stock in your pantry and fridge. Simply fry up some bacon, sauté a few vegetables from the crisper, and toss with cream-enhanced eggs, canned tuna, and parsley.


Tuna Pasta Salad

This Tuna Salad Recipe is an easy to prepare summertime favorite. Zucchini and carrots add color and crunch to this picnic staple. Mix up a batch for outdoor potluck parties and 4th of July gatherings.

Ingredients

4 cups of small shell pasta, cooked and drained well
3 cups carrots, shredded
3 cups zucchini, shredded
2 (6 oz.) cans tuna, drained well
3/4 cup of creamy Italian salad dressing

Instructions

Place the drained pasta into a salad bowl.

Carefully fold in the carrots and zucchini.

Blend in the tuna and stir to combine well.

Pour salad dressing over the mixture and stir to coat well.

Chill for a minimum of 2 hours, but do not exceed 24 hours.

For a little extra zing, try adding a few drops of bread-and-butter pickle juice to the dressing. Make sure to taste test before incorporating into the salad.


Kid-Friendly Tuna Pasta Salad

Isn’t it funny how when moms of young children get together, all they do is talk about children? One of the most popular topics, I’ve found, is food. “My child won’t eat vegetables” or “My child eats anything” or “My child won’t eat anything but sausages” or even “My child won’t eat anything at all!”! You really do hear it all. Sometimes the question of what to put in their child’s lunch box comes up, as the every-day Vegemite sandwich and apple can get pretty boring. I try to recall all I’ve read in kids’ issues of Donna Hay magazines to give some advice – pizza muffins, chicken wraps, frittatas, potato salad. I’ve tried a lot of things with my own kids, but they always end up wanting Vegemite or ham and cheese sandwiches (yes, my kids are pretty boring when it comes to food!).

My daughter is the most adventurous. She’ll give up her Vegemite sandwich for a tuna, corn and mayonnaise sandwich on occasion. My 5-year-old son though, he wouldn’t give up his ham and cheese sandwich for anything.

One of the most successful of Donna Hay’s lunch box recipes for children, in our experience, was a tuna pasta salad. It is the easiest sort of recipe you can imagine. In fact, your child could basically prepare this recipe for themselves, except for perhaps cooking the pasta. Just to prove this point, I asked my 7-year-old to make it herself, while I cooked the pasta.

All she had to do was slice a few cherry tomatoes and a cucumber (we usually use Lebanese cucumbers). Then whisk together some mayonnaise, lemon juice and seasoning. Once the pasta was cooked, she stirred everything together with a can of tuna.

And she was done! She did a brilliant job and it tasted fantastic.

She loves this in her lunchbox alongside her sandwich. It adds a bit of freshness to her lunch, which she enjoys.

You can use any type of pasta you like we usually prefer the spiral kind, but we use whatever we have in the pantry. In the case above, we used elbow macaroni.

This pasta salad is super easy and delicious, making a perfect addition to any lunchbox or meal, especially when you don’t want to do a lot of cooking. It would be excellent for a picnic, as well.

Just a side note: if you wish to include this in your or your child’s lunchbox, be sure to include an ice pack if refrigeration is unavailable. Eat the pasta salad as soon as possible, and don’t eat any leftovers from your lunchbox. Although I doubt you’d have any leftovers!


Watch the video: Τονοσαλάτα σπέσιαλ!! (July 2022).


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