This tuna pasta salad recipe makes a simple yet unforgettable summer meal that will delight your taste buds.
Cold pasta salad with tender chunks of tuna, and crisp and vibrant salad vegetables, all combined with a mayonnaise dressing. It'll be the star of your next picnic, BBQ or potluck.
One of the best things about this pasta tuna salad is its adaptability. Whether you have picky eaters at home or family members with differing preferences, this dish can be easily customized to suit everyone's taste. We will give you lots of suggestions below.
Busy weeknights during the warm weather call for recipes that come together quickly and without fuss. This tuna pasta salad ticks all those boxes, making it your new go-to meal when time is of the essence.
Intrigued? I thought so! Watch the video below to see as we delve into the flavourful world of creamy tuna pasta salad.
Or read on for more guidance and suggestions on alternative or additional ingredients to add to the tuna pasta recipe.
Before we dive into the recipe for this easy meal, let's take a moment to talk about the everyday ingredients we have chosen that make tuna pasta salad truly exceptional.
Cooked pasta provides the perfect base for soaking up the tuna mayo. Choose any shape you like – from a tuna macaroni salad, fusilli, farfalle, penne or rotini – the choice is yours!
We used girandole spiral-shaped pasta from Waveney Mill, a local pasta mill from Norfolk.
A drizzle of olive oil adds a touch of richness to the dish and prevents the pasta from sticking together.
Choose high-quality canned tuna for a tender, flaky texture that melds beautifully with the other ingredients.
Drained tuna in spring water or brine will do the trick, but if you want softer chunks, use tuna in sunflower oil.
Canned sweetcorn adds a pop of colour and sweetness to the salad, providing a lovely contrast to the savoury ingredients. Plus, it's an easy way to sneak in some extra veggies!
Finely chopped red onion lends a zesty bite and more colour to the dish. Its sharp flavour pairs beautifully with the creamy tuna mayo pasta salad. A brown onion will give a sharper taste.
You can use white salad onion, spring onion or green onions instead for a lighter onion flavour.
Crisp, refreshing cucumber adds a delightful cool crunch to the pasta salad with tuna.
The mayonnaise you choose to use will depend on your dietary preferences.
For the optimum flavour, make your own mayonnaise or use a good quality store-bought variety.
Opt for a low-fat mayonnaise for a healthy tuna pasta salad. You could use sour cream or Greek yogurt in direct replacement of the mayonnaise to change the taste.
A dollop of wholegrain mustard adds a subtle kick and crunch to the dish. Its tanginess complements the creaminess of the mayo, creating a delightful contrast.
You could substitute for English or Dijon mustard if you like, or use fresh lemon juice or rice wine vinegar instead to add some tang.
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce bring a savoury depth to the tuna salad.
Salt and Black Pepper
Seasoning is key to bringing out the best in any dish. A pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper will enhance the flavors and tie everything together beautifully.
Chop up some fresh dill, parsley or baby spinach, and scatter over the top of your tuna pasta salad to add a herby touch and more colour.
Feel free to make this tuna pasta salad recipe your own by adding or swapping ingredients to suit your taste.
Chopped hard-boiled eggs, pine nuts, frozen peas (cooked before adding), olives, red bell peppers/ salad peppers, chopped cherry tomatoes, or a squeeze of lemon juice are all excellent options to personalize your Tuna Pasta Salad.
Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad
By making a few adjustments, you can indulge in a Tuna Pasta Salad that's both delicious and nutritious, perfect for those who seek healthier alternatives without sacrificing taste.
To create a healthy Tuna Pasta Salad, replace part or all of the regular mayonnaise in the recipe with a combination of 0% fat-free Greek yoghurt and low-fat mayonnaise.
Experiment with the ratio to find the perfect balance of creaminess and tanginess that suits your palate. You can also boost the tuna salad with pasta nutritional value by incorporating whole wheat pasta and an abundance of colourful vegetables.
We will go into some detail below, but the full recipe card with measurements is available here.Jump to Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe Card
Begin by bringing a large saucepan of cold water to a boil, adding salt once it starts boiling.
Next, add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, adjusting the time depending on the shape and brand used. If you prefer al dente pasta, cook for slightly less time than stated.
Once cooked, drain the pasta and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
Transfer the pasta to a serving dish and let it cool while you prepare the tuna mayonnaise mixture.
Preparing Tuna Mayonnaise
To prepare the tuna mixture, start by draining the liquid from the canned tuna and sweetcorn, then add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the diced red onion and cucumber to the bowl as well.
Mixing the Dressing
Add the following to the large bowl of tuna salad to make an easy dressing. Mayonnaise, wholegrain mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and season with salt and black pepper.
Combining the Tuna Pasta Salad
Mix all the tuna and dressing ingredients together into the cooled pasta until well combined. Feel free to add more mayo if you prefer a super creamy consistency.
Finally, garnish the salad with a sprinkle of fresh parsley leaves / fresh dill or any herb you choose. You could add some spring onion (green onion) or chives instead.
Your tuna pasta salad is now ready to serve immediately.
Tuna Pasta Salad is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in various ways, either as a main course or a side dish. A fabulous recipe served cold in a small bowl for lunch or an airtight container for a meal prep meal, perfect for packed lunch.
If you're looking for a more indulgent and gourmet pairing, try serving the tuna pasta salad as a side to pancetta and mozzarella stuffed mushrooms.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 500 g Pasta any shape
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- 2 tin Tuna in Spring Water (204g drained)
- 1 can Sweetcorn (165g drained)
- 1 small Red Onion finely diced
- ½ Cucumber finely diced
- 10 tablespoon Mayonnaise we use low fat
- 2 tablespoon Wholegrain Mustard
- 2 splashes Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt and Black Pepper to taste
- 5 sprigs Fresh Parsley Leaves or other herbs
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add 1 teaspoon Salt once boiling.1 teaspoon Salt
- Add 500 g Pasta and cook to the time stated on the packaging directions (time will vary depending on shape/brand used). Cook for less time than stated if you like it al dente.500 g Pasta
- Once cooked, drain and add a Drizzle of Olive Oil to prevent it from sticking together.Drizzle of Olive Oil
- Transfer to a serving dish, and allow it to cool while preparing the tuna mayonnaise mixture.
- Drain the liquid from 2 tin Tuna in Spring Water and 1 can Sweetcorn , add to a large bowl.2 tin Tuna in Spring Water, 1 can Sweetcorn
- Add the diced 1 small Red Onion and ½ Cucumber.1 small Red Onion, ½ Cucumber
- Add the dressing ingredients 10 tablespoon Mayonnaise and 2 tablespoon Wholegrain Mustard, 2 splashes Worcestershire Sauce and season with Salt and Black Pepper. Mix all together until well combined. If you like it creamier, add more mayonnaise.10 tablespoon Mayonnaise, 2 tablespoon Wholegrain Mustard, Salt and Black Pepper, 2 splashes Worcestershire Sauce
- Pour the mixture into the cooled pasta.
- Mix until evenly spread through.
- Add a sprinkle of 5 sprigs Fresh Parsley Leaves. Or whatever herb you prefer.
- Ready to serve.
Proper storage is essential to ensure that your Tuna Pasta Salad remains fresh and safe to consume.
After preparing the pasta for tuna salad, allow it to cool down to room temperature before mixing in the remaining ingredients.
Transfer the cooled pasta salad to an airtight container. Using an airtight container will keep the salad fresh, prevent any potential contamination, and avoid the absorption of odours from other foods stored in the refrigerator.
It's important to store tuna pasta salad in the refrigerator; it is recommended to consume it within three days of preparation.
Tuna Pasta Salad is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
Remove only the portion you plan to consume from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a short period before eating.
More Tuna Recipes
Here are a collection of other tuna recipes you may like. Our rice salad recipe is another great cold salad recipe which goes well with tuna.
We hope your whole family enjoyed our creamy tuna pasta salad recipe. Please leave us a review and let us know what you add to yours.