The Cozy Cook

Tuna Pasta Salad

This creamy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is served with macaroni, eggs, celery, onions, peas, and of course- tuna fish. This makes an easy lunch, snack, or side dish that is pulled straight from the fridge and served cold!

A bowl with Tuna Pasta Salad with creamy macaroni, eggs, tuna, and peas.

Tuna Pasta Salad

I wish that I had created this recipe years ago, because it is a major life saver in the summer months when you have a hungry family bopping around. My husband just hopped off the lawn mower and this is my new favorite protein-packed snack to give him. (He even loves having it for dinner!)

It also makes a great lunch to pack up for work, school, camping, road trips, etc. 😁

A glass bowl with ingredients for making Tuna Pasta Salad before being stirred.

How to Make It (Summary)

Note: **See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Combine dressing ingredients and set in the fridge to chill.
  • Boil macaroni in salted water until just al dente and rinse with cold water. Drain well.
  • Combine pasta, tuna, celery, onions, peas, hard boiled eggs, and toss with the dressing.
  • Transfer to a clean serving dish and garnish with paprika and/or diced green onions.
  • Chill for 4 hours prior to serving.

Pro Tips

  • Drain the tuna very well to prevent the tuna salad from becoming watery.
  • Drain the pasta very well as well and rinse it until completely cooled.
  • If you have older eggs, use those as they’re easier to peel. You can also add ½ teaspoon baking soda to the water if using fresh eggs, which will help with peeling as well.
  • Chopped bacon makes a great garnish for this as well.

Make-Ahead Method

  • This can be made 1-day ahead of time.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish just before serving so that you can stir it first. 

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

A glass serving bowl filled with Tuna Pasta Salad with a spoon.

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Tuna Pasta Salad

5 from 3 ratings
This creamy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is served with macaroni, eggs, celery, onions, peas, and of course- tuna fish. This makes an easy lunch, snack, or side dish that is pulled straight from the fridge and served cold!

Ingredients

  • ¾ lb. macaroni
  • 3 (5 oz.) cans tuna packed in water, drained well.
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, see notes
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, thawed

Dressing:

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup sweet relish
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne, optional

Optional Garnishes

  • Pinch paprika
  • Diced green onions

Instructions

  • Combine dressing ingredients and set in the fridge to chill.
  • Boil macaroni in salted water until just al dente, about 7 minutes (verify time on package).
  • Drain and rinse with cold water until the water comes through the bottom of the strainer cold. Drain as much of the water as possible, (I lay my macaroni on a dry dish towel).
  • Cut the hard-boiled eggs into pieces of desired size, reserve some to garnish on top if desired.
  • Add the pasta, dressing, and all remaining ingredients to a large bowl. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir until evenly combined. Transfer to a clean serving dish.
  • Garnish with green onions and paprika.
  • Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or up to overnight. The pasta will absorb more of the dressing during this time. Serve!

Notes

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs:
• Submerge the eggs in 2 inches of cool water in a pot on the stove-top.
• Gradually bring them to a boil.
• Once the boil is reached, cover the pot and remove them from the heat.
• Let them sit for 12 minutes.

Pro Tips:
• Drain the tuna very well to prevent the tuna salad from becoming watery.
• If you have older eggs, use those as they’re easier to peel. You can also add ½ teaspoon baking soda to the water if using fresh eggs, which will help with peeling as well.
• Chopped bacon makes a great garnish for this as well.

Make-Ahead Method
  • This can be made 1-day ahead of time.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish just before serving so that you can stir it first. 

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 545mg, Potassium: 176mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 238IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 26mg, Iron: 1mg

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10 comments on “Tuna Pasta Salad”

  1. Yummy! Great flavor; the tip about laying out macaroni on a clean kitchen towel is genius. What is the serving size for the nutrition facts? Thanks!

    • Hi Kate! I’m so glad that you liked this, I actually made another batch of this on Saturday for the fridge! My husband had it for lunch today. 🙂 The nutritional facts are based on 13 servings! 🙂

      • Thanks so much – does that mean the serving size is 13 cups, 13 half cups…?

      • Hi Kate! I more or less meant if you were to bring it to a BBQ it would be enough to serve 13 people. But I actually made this last weekend and just measured the amount of cups that I could fit in to the bowl I used, and it was 13 cups exactly. So based on that, I’ll update the servings to indicate 13 cups! 🙂 So the nutritional facts are based on approximately 1 cup.

  2. WINNER!   This is part of our weekly summer rotation!  It is so easy to make and fills my husband after a long day working outside.   I couldn’t ask for anything better.
    Thanks Stephanie for another keeper!

    • You’re very welcome Mona! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!😍 I love leaving a bowl of this in the fridge for my hungry husband! Works as a great snack!

  3. I made this low carb by using specialty pasta. I omitted the sweet relish. Used a bit of SF sweetener. It was so delicious. Thank you. I used Salmon! Yum!

    • Hi Susan! I am sooo happy that you enjoyed this, I think using Salmon for this was GENIUS! Nicely done!! Thank you sooo much for taking the time to leave this review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  4. I made a big batch of this for my daughters graduation party and it was such a big hit! Everyone commented on how much they loved the little bit of tang taste. It was easy to make ahead of time and I’ll definitely be making this one again!

    • I am SO happy to hear that Andrea, this is a perfect side dish for a gathering! 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this review! -Stephanie

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