Our Tuna pasta salad is reminiscent of your mom’s or grandma’s classic tuna recipes. It’s a bit updated but just as delicious as tuna dishes you might remember from your childhood. Pasta salad recipes are easy, economical and family-friendly.
Pasta recipes are a great go-to meal during the week, and this tuna pasta salad will quickly become one of your favorites.
So let’s get started!
What I Love About This Recipe
Tuna pasta salad is easy to make but so satisfying to eat! You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry and fridge. This recipe is a winner for so many reasons:
- It’s Total comfort food!
- Family-friendly-kids Love this salad
- Quick prep time
Tuna Pasta Salad Video Tutorial
On your phone? Check out my web story here.
Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe Notes
This tuna pasta salad recipe uses ingredients that are easy to find and budget-friendly as well. Here are a few suggestions to help make this pasta salad one of your family’s favorites.
Pasta: This recipe is written for 12 ounces of dry pasta. If you use additional noodles, be sure to make a little more dressing. You want to be sure every noodle is coated in the yummy dressing. Elbows are a great choice here because the dressing flavors each hollow noodle from the inside out.
Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes tend to have very firm flesh which is why we like them in this dish. If you’re using a different type of tomato and it has lots of liquid, dice it and put a little sprinkle of salt on it. Then let the tomato pieces drain in a colander for about 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
Tuna: If your family has a favorite seasoning for tuna (maybe lemon pepper) you can use that in your tuna pasta salad too. It will add an extra layer of flavor to an already tasty meal.
Onion: Red onion adds a nice kick to this creamy dish. If you have a different type of onion at home, that will work well too. Scallions are also a great substitute here.
Dressing: Tuna pasta salad gets better when the noodles have time to absorb the dressing. This is a great make-ahead meal because the flavor improves with time. If you find that the dressing has gotten a bit too thick, toss with 1 tablespoon at a time of milk or water. This will return the dressing to its perfect, smooth consistency.
Cooking your pasta to al dente, or slightly undercooked, ensures that the noodles don’t get soggy when they soak up all that delicious dressing. The noodles should still be a bit firm when you bite into them.
Tuna stays fresh longer when it is kept as cold as possible in the fridge. Try not to leave your pasta salad out on the counter too long, and any leftovers you have will be perfect for a snack later.
Can You Freeze This Best Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe In The World?
Many of the ingredients in the tuna pasta salad don’t do well when frozen. The pasta and celery tend to get soggy if frozen, and the mayo doesn’t stand up to the freezer well either. Don’t worry though, this recipe is so good, you probably won’t have leftovers!
How Long Can You Keep This?
Once the tuna is removed from its can (or pouch), it will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator. Remember to keep it cold and well-covered when you’re not nibbling on the tuna pasta salad.
One of the best things about pasta salad is that it’s so simple to customize it. Swap out ingredients to make a meal that your hungry family is sure to devour.
Can I Make This Tuna Pasta Salad No Mayo Added?
This tuna pasta salad can easily be made with a vegan, egg-free mayo substitute. Vegan mayo is simple and uses only a handful of ingredients. There are several options available at your market, or you can try making it yourself. The Vegan mayo I use when I make this for my Paleo loving daughter is Sir Kensington’s Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. I buy mine on Amazon Prime for about $8.14 for a 16 (not 30-like Best Foods) ounce jar. The only issue I have with this great tasting mayo is that it’s significantly more expensive than regular mayo.
Another option is to use a combination of flavored vinegar and oils to create your own dressing. An herb-infused vinegar or a spicy chili oil adds a whole new dimension to tuna pasta salad.
What Other Proteins Can I Try For This Recipe?
This tuna pasta salad recipe is versatile and can be made with any of your favorite proteins. If you’d like to use different seafood, try shrimp pasta salad. If you prefer chicken pasta salad, it’s easy to substitute the main ingredient and it tastes just as good!
Can I Try Other Dressing?
If you would like a zesty, mayo-free meal, try pasta salad with Italian dressing. For a light dressing that uses fresh basil as the main ingredient, check out pesto pasta salad.
Is Bacon A Good Substitute For Tuna?
Yes! Bacon is always a good choice! If you would like bacon to be the star of the recipe, try BLT pasta salad. Another delicious option is bacon ranch pasta salad. Either dish is sure to be a hit with the bacon lovers at your house.
Can Tortellini Be Used In This Recipe?
Using stuffed pasta like tortellini adds extra flavor and texture to your pasta salad. A mild cheese filling works wonderfully with the other ingredients in a tortellini pasta salad. Try experimenting with different fillings (how about sausage?) to make your favorite version of tortellini salad.
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 12 ounces pasta cooked according to package instructions to al dente and well drained
- 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup celery finely chopped
- 1 cup red onion finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh dill roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons relish
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups Roma tomato (about 3-4 tomatoes) seeds removed and chopped
- 5 (5 ounce) cans tuna drained
- In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, milk, celery, red onion, relish, dill, salt, and pepper until smooth.
- Fold in pasta until evenly coated then gently fold in tomato and tuna. If dressing becomes too thick, fold in 1-2 tablespoons, as needed, of milk or water to thin.
Fans Also Made:
None foundRATE THIS RECIPE
More Pasta Salad Recipes
If you love pasta salads as much as we do, check out our other recipes for quick, family-friendly meals.
- Antipasto Salad
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Dill Pickle Pasta Salad
Tuna pasta salad is quick-cooking and adaptable, making it great for busy families. This recipe is destined to become a popular dinner at your house!
Did you make this recipe? Do you have questions? Please share your comments below.
Joan Lisowski says
This recipe sounds excellent. I can’t wait to make it for our next cookout or for a meal. One question, for the relish, are you using sweet relish or a dill pickle relish?
Hi, Joan! I use sweet relish 🙂
Very good salad! I was able to add dill pickle and some of its juice cause all I had was sweet relish. I also added some green onion along with the red. You are right; cider vinegar takes a minimum of 2 Tb. I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes. God bless!
Hi Tammy! So happy to hear that you enjoyed the Tuna Pasta Salad! I hope you find many more recipes you enjoy! Happy cooking <3
Followed your recipe exactly but cut all ingreds in half for just the 2 of us. Still made plenty. It’s so good, I was looking for a change from my same old. Love your easy American chop suey recipe too, always on rotation here. Ty for sharing.
You’re welcome, Cheryl! This made my day ?
Dave G says
Made as directed. Best I ever had
Thanks, Dave! 😀
Thislooks delicious. What kind of relish did you use?
Hi June. I like sweet relish <3
5 cans of tuna seems like a lot.
Hi Judy. You can adjust the number for your preferences. I like lots of tuna with the pasta!
You left out the tuna…..oops.
Is that important? Oh HEAVENS! Thank you Christine, I just amended the recipe <3!