Tuna Pasta Salad

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.

This creamy salad takes the best parts of Tuna Salad and Pasta Salad and combines them into one easy Side Dish. It’s perfect for potlucks, cookouts, or family get-togethers.

Tuna Pasta Salad in white bowl

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. 

Tuna Pasta Salad ingredients in metal mixing bowl

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.

Tuna Pasta Salad in mixing bowl with ingredients mixed

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Tuna Pasta Salad

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.
Yield 10 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 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

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 699mg | Potassium: 253mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 234IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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