This easy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is great for a weekday meal or as a side dish. Tuna is mixed with pasta, vegetables, and a flavorful dressing to make the perfect meal. This recipe is simple to follow and only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish!
There are so many ways you can use tuna in a recipe, but this tuna pasta salad is one of our favorites. This dish is perfect for a summer picnic or potluck.
It’s also great to meal prep and to have on hand for a quick and easy lunch during the week like our Ham and Cheese Pasta Salad, Lemon Pasta or Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad. This dish includes tuna, pasta, and crunchy vegetables, all mixed together with a homemade creamy dressing!
How To Make Tuna Pasta Salad
- Assemble the creamy dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until fully combined. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
- Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the box. See below for more pasta cooking tips.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, tuna, corn, bell pepper, onion, and fresh dill. Drizzle with the dressing, and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Chill and serve: Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before garnishing with additional dill and serving.
Cooking Pasta For Pasta Salad
When making pasta for pasta salad, you’ll need to change up a few steps to ensure that the pasta can hold up in a cold salad. Here are some helpful tips below!
- Choose a short or textured pasta: Rotini or fusilli pasta would be my top choice as their texture allows the dressing to adhere to the noodle. Your next options would be farfalle, penne, or other noodles that will be good for tossing in the sauce.
- Salting the water: add a generous pinch of salt to your pasta water BEFORE adding the dried pasta. It makes a whole lot of difference in the end!
- Chill to absorb flavors: after combining all the ingredients in a bowl, I recommend chilling for 15-30 minutes as it helps all the flavors to blend nicely. However, like many pasta salads, on day 2 or 3 you may need to add a little extra mayonnaise or yogurt to make the salad ‘’creamy’’ again.
- You can also use tuna in vegetable oil, if it is the only thing you have or can get, make sure to drain it well. Tuna in water is better though as it will make the salad less dry.
- You could add some chopped celery for a crunchier texture.
- Try adding other seasonings to the dressing like Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, or cayenne pepper.
- For more of a Mediterranean flavor, you could mix in some kalamata olives, feta cheese, and cucumber.
- If you want a heartier salad, add in some cooked white beans or chickpeas.
- Instead of canned corn, freshly cooked corn on the cob (either boiled, oven-roasted or grilled and lightly charred) will also taste delicious!
Storing: Keep the salad refrigerated at all times closed in the food container. For best flavor consume within 3 days. Freezing is not recommended.
Maintaining moisture: Please keep in mind that pasta will continue to soak up the dressing as it sits. You’ll need to whip up extra dressing after day 1 or simply add a little bit of milk, mayonnaise, yogurt, or sour cream before serving to achieve the creamy texture again.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup plain yogurt (Regular or Greek yogurt)
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces short pasta, cooked to al dente according to package directions
- 8 ounces tuna in water, drained
- 1 cup canned sweet corn, drained
- ½ medium bell pepper, diced (any variety)
- ½ medium red onion, diced
- 2 (heaping) tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- Fresh dill, for garnish
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, paprika, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, tuna, corn, bell pepper, onion, and fresh dill. Drizzle with the dressing, and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Garnish with more fresh dill and enjoy!
- See post for storage options.
*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 cup of pasta salad. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
*Photos courtesy of Julia Loya from The Yummy Bowl.
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 334mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g