This Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is a classic favorite. Elbow macaroni, canned tuna, peas and a seasoned mayonnaise all combine for a family favorite!
A CLASSIC TUNA PASTA SALAD RECIPE
Tuna Macaroni Salad is a dish that doesn’t get a lot of credit. It’s one of those meals that most of us remember our Mommas making. It is economical and it makes a lot. I absolutely love to dig into a bowl of this stuff. It is one of my favorite comfort foods (besides The Best Potato Salad). This classic pasta salad really is an entire meal in one!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Tuna Pasta Salad is a dish made with macaroni pasta, canned tuna in a creamy, mayonnaise based dressing. It is typically served cold as a refreshing meal or side dish.
Shallot has a very light onion flavor and doesn’t overpower the other flavors. But you certainly can use an onion if you prefer.
Just add a bit of mustard. You won’t taste the actual mustard flavor. It will provide just enough slight tang to balance the other flavors.
Elbow macaroni is a traditional pasta shape to use for this recipe. However, you really could use any pasta shape you enjoy. Cavatappi or shell pasta would work great.
I only use canned tuna in water. Canned tuna in oil or any other flavors will change the consistency and texture of the tuna pasta salad.
Tuna Pasta Salad can be a healthy and nutritious meal if made with wholesome ingredients and a balanced dressing. Tuna is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, the amount of mayonnaise or other dressing used will obviously impact the calorie and fat content of the dish.
Yes, Tuna Pasta Salad can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to serve (about 24 hours in advance). In fact, I think that the flavors of the salad improve after a few hours or even overnight in the fridge.
Tuna Pasta Salad can last for up to four days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. However, it is important to note that the quality of the salad may start to degrade after a day or two.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- elbow macaroni – you can use any small shaped pasta.
- canned tuna – I prefer the canned tuna in water – not oil.
- shallot – you can use an onion but I prefer the light onion flavor of a shallot (it also gives it a touch of garlic flavor).
- mayonnaise – I like Hellman’s or Duke’s mayonnaise but you could use Miracle Whip if you really love it.
- sweet pickle relish – don’t like pickle relish? leave it out or substitute with dill relish.
- celery seed – this adds a light celery flavor, you could substitute with finely diced celery.
- lemon juice – this brightens the overall flavor of the pasta salad as well as the tuna (you don’t taste it as a separate flavor).
- frozen peas – pease are frozen at peak ripeness and work perfect here but you could use drained canned peas as well.
HOW TO MAKE TUNA PASTA SALAD:
Cook macaroni according to directions on package. While pasta is cooking, drain cans of tuna well. Chop hard boiled eggs and shallot. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, relish, celery seed, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.
Stir in tuna.
Once macaroni is cooked, drain well and rinse with cold water until pasta has cooled. Pour drained macaroni into a large bowl. Pour mayonnaise mixture onto pasta.Then add chopped eggs and shallot, followed by thawed peas. Stir well.
Cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
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Originally published: October 2018
Updated & republished: March 2020
Tuna Pasta Salad (+Video)
- 16 ounce box elbow macaroni
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup sweet pickle relish
- ½ Tablespoon celery seed (more or less to taste)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 3 (5 ounce) cans tuna packed in water, drained well
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
- Cook 16 ounce box elbow macaroni according to directions on package.
- In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sweet pickle relishrelish 1/2 Tablespoon celery seed 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice. Stir well to combine.
- Stir in 3 (5 ounce) cans tuna packed in water, drained well.
- Once macaroni is cooked, drain well and rinse with cold water until pasta has cooled. Pour drained macaroni into a large bowl.
- Pour mayonnaise mixture onto pasta.
- Then add 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped and 1 shallot, diced, followed by 1 cup frozen peas, thawed. Stir well.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap.
- Put bowl into the fridge for a couple of hours, then serve.
- Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
- Letting the tuna pasta salad hang out in the fridge for a couple of hours really makes a difference. It helps the flavors to meld and just makes for a better tasting tuna macaroni salad.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.