Tuna Pasta Salad is an easy lunch or side that’s refreshing and perfect for spring or summer. With elbow noodles, tuna, peas, lemon juice, and celery.
TUNA PASTA SALAD
If you want a quick, simple, kid-friendly lunch then you’ve come to the right place. Tuna Pasta Salad is the perfect easy lunch. The tuna, pasta, and mayonnaise all make a wonderful, creamy combination. Then you get some crunch from the celery and peas, and plenty of flavor from the lemon juice and relish.
The pasta and the tuna go great together. Plus, adding in the macaroni noodles is an easy way to make the dish more filling without having to put the tuna in a sandwich. You just grab a fork and dig in!
Tuna Pasta Salad keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days, so I always like to make a big batch. It’s great to make it as a side dish with Pulled Pork or Crispy Fried Chicken. Whip up a little extra, then you can store the leftovers for lunches in the next few days. Sometimes I even store them in multiple serving-sized tuperwares. That way, I or anyone in the family can grab it for a quick lunch without worrying about any prep.
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HOW TO MAKE EASY TUNA PASTA SALAD
- Prep: Cook the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions until tender, then drain. While the noodles are cooking you can chop up the celery.
- Dressing: Mix together the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and relish in a serving bowl. It’s up to you if you want to use sweet relish or dill relish. Both taste amazing!
- Salad: Toss in the cooked pasta, chopped celery, and peas. Add in the tuna, and mix all the ingredients together until they’re coated in the dressing.
- Set: Cover the bowl of salad and leave it in the fridge for at least 2 hours. After letting it set in the fridge your Tuna Pasta Salad will be ready to serve.
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VARIATIONS ON TUNA PASTA SALAD
- Meat: If you don’t want to use tuna, just exchange it for another meat. You can use chicken, turkey, or even pork. When I have leftover Grilled Chicken I love to shred it and toss it in a salad like this one.
- Pasta: Instead of using elbow noodles you can use any other kind of short cut pasta. Penne, Rigatoni, or Orzo could all make nice changes.
- Yogurt: To lighten up your Tuna Pasta Salad, you can always use Greek yogurt in place of the mayonnaise in the recipe. The greek yogurt is much healthier than mayonnaise, and it will give you a similar creamy texture. It will alter the taste a little, if you want to keep the taste closer to the original, just use a light mayonnaise instead of full fat.
- Add-ins: For some flavorful add-ins try mixing in chives, cilantro, paprika, or garlic powder. If you want to toss in some extra veggies chop up some cucumber, cherry tomatoes, or broccoli. You can also sprinkle some shredded cheese over the top right before serving.
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HOW TO STORE TUNA PASTA SALAD
- Serve: Due to the mayonnaise and tuna, you don’t want to leave this recipe at room temperature for more than an hour or two.
- Store: Tuna Pasta Salad can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Make sure to cover it tightly in plastic wrap, or put it in an airtight container.
- Freeze: Unfortunately, creamy mayo salads like this one won’t hold up well in the freezer. If you haven’t finished it after 4 days it’s better to just throw it out and make a fresh batch.
- 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
- Mix mayonnaise, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and relish.
- Toss with pasta, celery, and peas.
- Carefully mix in tuna until coated with dressing.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.