Easy tuna pasta salad recipe

Will Dickey

Is the tuna pasta salad a side dish or a main dish? If you ask us, we’d say it’s both! It’s a perfect easy dinner – filled with chunks of delicious albacore tuna, tons of crunchy fresh vegetables and pasta – but it’s just as great for a barbecue!

What’s in Tuna Pasta Salad?

Similar to the Tuna Noodle Casserole, this version of pasta salad has all the classic ingredients, such as frozen tuna, noodles and peas, but becomes fresher than its casserole cousin with the addition of crunchy celery and pepper. The dressing, made with mayonnaise and sour cream, is the perfect creamy binder for the whole dish. The final topping of crunchy potato chips—another nod to casserole—takes this dish over the top!

Which tuna is best for tuna pasta salad?

Although any canned tuna will work, for this recipe the best bet is canned albacore in water. It comes out of the can in thick chunks, which keeps it from breaking up too much when tossed into the pasta salad. Tuna in water is better here, because you don’t need the extra oil of oil-packed tuna (which will work just fine in a pinch). Whatever tuna you use, be sure to drain it before adding it to the salad so the dressing doesn’t become too runny.

Is tuna pasta salad good for you?

Tuna is packed with protein and omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health. Although pasta salads aren’t generally considered “diet foods,” there are several easy substitutions that can make them healthier. First, replace regular pasta with whole-grain pasta. Second, use olive oil mayonnaise or replace half the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt.

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4 – 6


Preparation time:





Total time:





3 tbsp.

fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp.

chopped fresh parsley

1/4 tsp.

ground black pepper


5 oz. cans of albacore tuna, drained

1 ea.

frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 tsp.

chopped celery (about 2 stalks)

1/2 tsp.

chopped red pepper

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  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water to cool the pasta. Let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, parsley, salt, garlic powder and pepper in a large bowl. Add pasta, tuna, peas, celery, bell pepper and onion. Fold gently until well coated, being careful not to break up the tuna too much.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pour into a serving bowl lined with lettuce leaves. Top with fries just before serving.

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