Wondermom » Recipes » Lunch » Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe


Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
5 from 8 votes
Cook Time : 10 mins
Total Time : 15 mins
Jump to Recipe

Last Updated on September 7, 2022 by Corinne Schmitt

This Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is a creamy, mayo-based pasta salad, loaded with tons of flavor. It’s the perfect potluck dish, or easy lunch to pack for work.

If you love easy cold salads then this is the recipe for you. The salad can be served immediately, or chilled in the fridge for an hour or two to allow the flavors to meld, making it perfect for a work lunch.

Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl next to a red cloth, onions, a lemon and celery

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

The first-ever written recipe for tuna salad was discovered in 1907, and by 1914 tons of tuna salad recipes had been published all over the world. 

Tuna is packed with protein and is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which makes this pasta salad recipe a great way to get in your daily dose of omega 3’s.

Why I Love This Recipe

The Tuna Pasta Salad is an easy, creamy pasta dish that you can make for any occasion – from potlucks to work.

  • Ready in under 30 minutes
  • Easy to make
  • Perfect for picky eaters

If you love protein-filled cold salads you may also enjoy this Classic Egg Salad recipe.

close up of Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl next to a red cloth, onions, a lemon and celery

Ingredients

The ingredients for this recipe are simple and easy to find. You may already have most of these ingredients on hand, which can save you a trip to the grocery store. 

  • Dry Pasta
  • Mayonnaise
  • Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • Lemon Juice, to taste
  • Sweet Pickle Relish, optional
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Dried Dill Weed
  • Canned Tuna, drained
  • Celery, diced
  • Red Onion
Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe ingredients

Substitutions

Greek Yogurt: Instead of mayo you can use all greek yogurt if you prefer. 

Relish: Instead of using sweet pickle relish, you can use dill relish if you aren’t a fan of the sweet flavor.

Equipment Needed / Helpful Tools

You only need a few kitchen tools to help you make this easy family-friendly tuna salad recipe. 

How to Make This Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

This Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe comes together in just a few simple steps. Follow the steps below and you will have a delicious pasta salad recipe in no time at all. 

Step 1: Prepare the pasta according to the package instructions

Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. Cool slightly before proceeding with the recipe.

Step 2: Mix together mayo, yogurt, and lemon juice until combined

In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, and lemon juice until smooth and combined. Add sweet pickle relish, if using.

mayo, yogurt, and lemon juice in a glass bowl with a spatula in it

Step 3: Season with salt and pepper and dill

Season with salt, pepper, and dill.

salt and pepper and dill being added to the mayo mixture

Step 4: Toss the pasta in the dressing and add tuna

Toss the cooked, cooled pasta in the dressing, then add the tuna and stir to distribute well.

tuna and pasta in a glass bowl

Step 5: Add in the veggies and serve 

Add the diced celery and red onion and toss to combine.

tuna, pasta, sauce and veggies in a glass bowl

Variations / Options / Add-Ins

If you want to add some extra flavor or crunch to this recipe, consider adding one of the following ingredients:

Protein:  Add more protein to this recipe by adding boiled eggs, diced chicken, or crumbled bacon.

Veggies: Do you love more veggies in your pasta salads? You can add shredded carrots, chopped broccoli, cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, or frozen peas.

Fruit: If you like a sweet touch to your creamy salad, you can also add grapes, diced apples, or mandarin oranges.

Nuts & Seeds: Craving a little crunch? You can add a little crunch with sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, or chopped pecans.

a close up of tuna pasta salad on a spoon

Tips

Here are a few tips to make sure that your tuna macaroni salad turns out perfect every time:

  • Make sure to cook the pasta just until it is al dente. Overcooked pasta will make your salad mushy.
  • If you are making this ahead of time, wait to add the tuna until just before serving. This will prevent the pasta from getting soggy.
  • This salad can also be served as a main dish or side dish.
  • For a light lunch, try serving this salad over a bed of mixed greens. 
  • I like to dice my red onions finely so that they mix well. 
  • My family prefers to use elbow macaroni noodles for this salad, but you can use any type of pasta that you have on hand, like bow tie pasta or penne if you are out of elbow noodles.
  • Be sure that you drain your pasta well so that your salad does not become runny. 
  • Add more flavor to the salad by adding a dash of mustard or garlic powder to your dressing.

FAQs

Do you have questions about this creamy tuna pasta salad recipe? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about this recipe.

How to store

This tuna salad will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Be sure to store it in an airtight container so that it doesn’t dry out.

Can I freeze tuna pasta salad?

No, I would not recommend freezing this tuna pasta salad recipe. The mayonnaise dressing can separate when frozen and thawed, and the pasta will become mushy.

How to make this tuna salad recipe healthier?

If you are looking for a healthier version of this recipe, you can try using light mayonnaise or swapping out the mayo for avocado. You can also use whole wheat pasta to increase the fiber content.

Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl next to a red cloth, onions, a lemon and celery

More Salad Recipes

If you like salads, give these recipes a try:

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

Ready to get cooking? Print off the recipe card below or toggle on Cook Mode to keep your screen from going dark while you follow along on your phone or tablet.

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

Corinne Schmitt
This Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is a creamy, mayo-based pasta salad, loaded with flavor.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 282 kcal

Equipment

  • large pot or dutch oven
  • knife and cutting board
  • Large bowl
  • measuring cup and spoon
  • wooden spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups Dry Pasta
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Sweet Pickle Relish optional
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Dill Weed
  • 6 ounces Canned Tuna drained
  • 2 Celery stalks diced
  • 1/4 cup Diced Red Onion

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Cool slightly before proceeding with recipe.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, greek yogurt and lemon juice until smooth and combined. Add sweet pickle relish, if using.
  • Season with salt, pepper and dill.
  • Toss the cooked, cooled pasta in the dressing, then add the tuna and stir to distribute well.
  • Add the diced celery and red onion and toss to combine.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 282kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 11gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 210mgPotassium: 169mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 76IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Need to run to the store for a few ingredients first? Don’t forget to pin this recipe so you can find it when you’re ready to cook!

top image is a close up of a spoonful of tuna pasta salad, bottom image is a tuna pasta salad in a bowl with title text in the center reading Tuna Pasta Salad recipe

4 thoughts on “Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe”

  1. I really enjoy the tuna salad recipes around the summer time. When we have the heat wave coming. But I also like to eat regular salads. When you don’t want to cook.

    Reply
    • Yes, salads are great for when it’s too hot to cook, or you just don’t feel like cooking. Thanks for commenting.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.