Quick & Simple Tuna Pasta Salad

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Pasta salads are delicious and this flavor-packed tuna pasta salad recipe is no exception. It’s a great recipe to make ahead and it’s ideal for picnics, potluck meals and box lunches. 

Offering a much better, fresher flavor than store-bought pasta salad, this recipe is quick and easy to make, and it’s also both healthy and budget-friendly. Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

You can use any kind of pasta and any veggies or other add-ins you like. You might like to add chopped walnuts or peanuts, for example, for some crunch, well-drained pineapple chunks for sweetness or even some sliced jalapeños for a little heat. 

Another idea is swapping the canned tuna for canned salmon for a change of pace. Cooked corn kernels, peas or peppers are also tasty in tuna pasta salad recipes.

Quick & Simple Tuna Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 293kcal


  • 12 ounces uncooked pasta shapes
  • 15 ounces 3 cans tuna
  • 2 diced celery stalks
  • ¼ cup relish or minced pickles
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 3 tablespoons minced red onion or green onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed optional
  • Lemon juice to taste (optional)


  • All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
  • Cook the pasta following the directions on the package then rinse it and put it into a bowl of ice water to cool it down fast.
  • Drain the pasta when it’s cold and put it in a bowl.
  • Drain the tuna.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and give the tuna pasta salad recipe a good stir.
  • Chill for an hour before serving.



Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 530mg | Potassium: 184mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

A Closer Look at the Ingredients

The great thing about a tuna pasta salad recipe is you can use any pasta shapes you want. Regular or whole wheat pasta is fine or you could use the gluten-free kind instead. As for the mayonnaise, you will get the fullest flavor from the full-fat kind but you can use any mayonnaise you like.

The celery and onion add crunch, while the relish, parsley, mustard, dill weed, and lemon juice add more flavor accents. If you like to get creative in the kitchen, this recipe is a great place to start, although changing the ingredients and coming up with your own add-ins is definitely part of the fun!

Handy Notes

  • Adjust the amount of mayonnaise if you want less or more.
  • Throw in any other ingredients you like, such as chopped vegetables, olives, capers, nuts, or shredded cheese.
  • White chunk albacore tuna has a better flavor than the light style kind, so use that if you can for the best result.

This versatile tuna pasta salad recipe is great for any occasion. Rustle it up if you’re planning a party or get-together or you simply want a delicious lunch.

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