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Tuna Salad Pasta

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Too hot to think about cooking? Don’t want to switch on the oven? On a sweltering day, there’s nothing better than a stove top tuna salad pasta to ease your woes! It’s quick, it’s delicious and healthy too. What more could you want from an easy to make tuna salad? Read on for the recipe and lots of helpful tips…

3 plates of tuna salad pasta with forks and drinks on the side.

Healthy tuna salad pasta recipe

Us Brits just aren’t used to these soaring temperatures. When it hits 30ºC, the last thing on our minds is cooking toad in the hole from scratch, or a Shepherd’s pie. No way!!

We want light, preferably cold, quick to make meals. And ideally requiring minimal effort too!

This tuna salad pasta is exactly that and more. All you have to do is boil some pasta for 10 minutes and chop a few vegetables. I know, it’s a winner right?!

Tuna salad is a well balanced meal too. Exactly what you need when you haven’t got the energy! You have your protein (the tuna), your carbs (the pasta) and tons of veggies. The perfect pick me up meal.

Yes there are lots of things you can do to stay cool in a heatwave. But having a few meals like this tuna salad recipe in your armoury will help enormously!

A plate of healthy tuna salad on a white board with a fork.

Is tuna pasta salad good for weight loss?

As always, everything in moderation. So long as you don’t binge on the same foods all the time, and keep an eye on your portion sizes – you’ll be ok. Variety is the spice of life right?!

This doesn’t just apply to junk food. I’ve actually spoken to someone who ate way too much kale. It made them seriously ill. So much so, they now have to inject medicine, daily, for the rest of their life.

Tuna salad pasta is a great, all round meal. You have protein, carbohydrates and tons of the good stuff from all those veggies. Eaten in the correct portion size, this is a good, healthy meal. Just don’t eat it every single day!

Someone mixing tuna salad in a large bowl with a spoon

What goes well with tuna salad?

Honestly, I think tuna salad with pasta is a great meal all on it’s own. You have everything your body needs right in there already.

That being said, you could decrease the portion size and eat tuna salad alongside just about anything!

Juicy air fryer chicken breast or chargrilled lime chicken would work really well. You could even be a little naughty and have some halloumi fries with them instead. Whatever takes your fancy!

It could work as a fridge clearer too. Maybe you have a couple of sausages leftover or some eggs at the end of their best before date. Cook them up and throw them in! Everyone’s a winner.

Dressing being poured over tuna salad with pasta

How long is tuna salad pasta good for in the fridge?

I wouldn’t eat this after 2 days really. The vegetables will start to wilt substantially after this point, particularly the lettuce.

However, cooked pasta will last for a good 3 or 4 days in the fridge. So will the dressing. There’s nothing to stop you from chopping the vegetables each day and then just mixing the tuna salad together. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

A dish of healthy tuna salad on a decorative tray with dirty plates next to it

Is canned tuna healthy?

Yes! Canned tuna is pretty darn healthy. It’s lean, full of protein, iron, lots of vitamins and omega 3 too.

So long as you don’t absolutely smother it in unhealthy things (like mayonnaise), it’s the perfect healthy addition to any meal.

Someone reaching into a plate of tuna salad pasta with a fork

Ingredients and substitutions

Confused about what ingredients to buy? Not sure about a substitution? Here’s everything you need to know…

For the dressing

  • Mayonnaise – Obviously homemade mayonnaise is always best. But when you haven’t got the time, I highly recommend Winiary mayonnaise! (affiliate link) It’s hands down the BEST shop bought mayo I’ve ever had and, surprisingly, it’s in most supermarkets too.
  • Oil – A good quality olive oil is ideal as you will taste the flavour in the end result. That being said, a cheaper olive oil is better than substituting this for other oils. Like vegetable or sunflower.
  • Vinegar – I love apple cider vinegar in this dressing. If you don’t have any, balsamic could work and white wine vinegar would be tasty too.
  • Honey – I used blossom honey (affiliate link) as it gives a slightly floral hint, which is lovely! Regular runny honey is absolutely fine though. Acacia and Manuka honey would also be lovely.
  • Mustard – Dijon mustard is my go to here. But wholegrain would work beautifully too!
A plate of tuna salad on a white board with a napkin

For the tuna salad pasta

  • Pasta – You can use whatever pasta needs using up in this recipe. That’s the beauty of it! I used conchiglie. Avoid using cheap brands of this type though. The shape is usually off and they stick inside each other. Causing it to cook unevenly. De cecco conchiglie (affiliate link) is a good option.
  • Tuna – My go to is chunks in spring water, as it makes for a healthy tuna salad option. I realise the tuna in sunflower oil usually tastes better and is less dry. So if you’d rather use that, go for it! You could also use canned tuna steak and break it into larger chunks if you’d rather.
  • Carrot – You only need a small carrot for this, unless you’re doubling up the recipe. You’d be surprised how much grated carrot you get! Mix things up depending on the season, and opt for purple carrots or chantenay. Whatever takes your fancy!
  • Lettuce – In a mixed tuna salad like this, I opt for more robust, crispy lettuces over soft varieties. They hold their own better under moisture. Iceberg works great, but as a second option, I’d substitute little gem.
  • Onion – Spring onion is the perfect salad onion. It’s not too strong (like red and white onions can be) and it adds a lovely colour too. I personally wouldn’t substitute this if you can help it.
  • Pepper – Sweet peppers blend perfectly into this tuna salad pasta. Bell peppers are lovely, but have a much stronger flavour. Which can be a little overpowering. Be it red, orange or yellow, go for the sweeter varieties for the best flavour.
  • Walnuts – These are entirely optional, but add a satisfying crunch! If you’re not a fan of walnuts, you could switch these out for flaked almonds instead.
Tuna pasta salad on two stacked plates with a fork

Tuna salad pasta recipe tips and troubleshooting

Here are a few tips you’ll find helpful when making this beautiful tuna salad recipe.

  • Make sure you salt your pasta water!!! I can’t stress this enough. If the water doesn’t taste salty to begin with, your pasta will have no flavour.
  • Pasta stick together once cooked? Once drained, add a splash of vinegar and a little oil. Mix well and leave to cool. Et vous voila! Pasta that doesn’t stick.
  • Cheap conchiglie pasta tends to stick together, causing it to cook unevenly. Try using a better brand like De cecco (affiliate link) for the best results.
  • You don’t have to use conchiglie if you don’t want to. Use this tuna salad recipe as an opportunity to clear out your cupboards! Penne, fusilli and macaroni would all work brilliantly too.
  • Always buy the best ingredients you can afford. You’d be surprised how much you can taste it in the end result!
  • Head to your local green grocers or farm shop for the vegetables. They’ll be better quality than the supermarkets. Plus you’re more likely to come across interesting, seasonal varieties!
Chopped vegetables for healthy tuna salad in a bowl with a spoon

Time management

Have limited time? Struggle with recipe timings? Or juggling around other things? Here’s some time managing info to make your life easier.

  • Want to make this ahead of time? Simply make the dressing, cook the pasta and chop the vegetables. But keep them all separate until just before serving. That way, the vegetables won’t begin to wilt before you get to eat it.
  • Don’t have the time for all that chopping? Get your food processor and it’s grating/chopping attachment out. You’ll save BAGS of time!
  • There may be times when you don’t even have 10 minutes to cook pasta. In which case, buy quick cook pasta instead! It usually takes a mere 3 minutes to cook. Brilliant for time saving!
Tuna salad pasta being mixed in a large glass bowl

If you like this recipe…

…you might also like:

Tuna Salad Pasta – Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

Ingredients

Here is what you will need to serve 2 as a main. This would also work as a side for 3-4 people.

For the dressing

  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

For the tuna salad pasta

  • 80g (2.8 oz) Conchiglie/Shell Pasta
  • 1/4 of an Iceberg Lettuce, chopped
  • 2 x Spring Onions, sliced
  • 1 x Small Sweet Red Pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 x Small Carrot, grated
  • 1 x 145g (5.1 oz) Tin of Tuna Chunks in Spring Water, drained
  • 35g (1/3 Cup) Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Essential equipment

  • Small Bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Fork

Dressing instructions

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. (2 tbsp mayonnaise, 4 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tsp dijon mustard, salt & pepper.) They should come together to form a smooth, pourable mixture.

Set aside until needed.

Tuna pasta salad dressing in a small bowl

Tuna salad pasta instructions

Cook the conchiglie pasta (80g | 2.8 oz) in salted boiling water in a saucepan, according to the packet instructions.

Once cooked, drain off the water. If you like, to prevent sticking, you can add a splash of vinegar and a generous glug of olive oil. Mix really well then set aside to cool.

Pasta simmering in a saucepan on the stove

Meanwhile, add your lettuce (1/4, chopped) and spring onion (x 2, sliced) to a large mixing bowl.

Chopped lettuce and spring onion in a mixing bowl

Now add the sweet red pepper (1 x small, deseeded and diced) and carrot (1 x small, grated).

Grated carrot added to a bowl of tuna salad pasta

If you haven’t already, drain the tuna (1 x 145g | 5.1 oz tin of chunks in spring water) then fork it into the mixing bowl to break it up.

Tuna salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl

Now add in your cooked pasta and the dressing you made earlier. Mix thoroughly to ensure everything gets a good coating.

Tuna salad pasta in a glass bowl with a spoon

Finally, all that’s left to do is divide your tuna salad pasta between bowls, and scatter over the chopped walnuts (35g | 1/3 Cup). This is entirely optional of course. But I highly recommend it, as it adds a beautifully satisfying crunch!

Close up of tuna salad pasta on a plate

How to store tuna pasta salad

Due to the fresh vegetables (particularly the lettuce), this will only last around 2 days when covered up in the fridge.

You can prolong it’s lifespan by refrigerating the individual ingredients separately, then mixing just before serving. This way, you’ll get around 3-4 days. (Once you add the dressing, the vegetables begin to wilt. This speeds up the deterioration)

Loved this tuna pasta salad recipe? Pin it!

3 plates of tuna salad pasta with forks and drinks on the side. A text overlay says "tuna salad pasta"
A plate of healthy tuna salad on a white board with a fork. A text overlay says "tuna salad pasta".
Close up of tuna salad pasta on a plate

Tuna Salad Pasta | Printable Recipe

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Too hot to think about cooking? Don’t want to switch on the oven? On a sweltering day, there’s nothing better than a stove top tuna salad pasta to ease your woes! It’s quick, it’s delicious and healthy too. What more could you want from an easy to make tuna salad?

Ingredients

For the Dressing

  • 2 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

For the Tuna Salad Pasta

  • 80g (2.8 oz) Conchiglie/Shell Pasta
  • 1/4 of an Iceberg Lettuce, chopped
  • 2 x Spring Onions, sliced
  • 1 x Small Sweet Red Pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 x Small Carrot, grated
  • 1 x 145g (5.1 oz) Tin of Tuna Chunks in Spring Water, drained
  • 35g (1/3 Cup) Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Essential Equipment

  • Small Bowl
  • Saucepan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Fork

Instructions

For the Dressing

  1. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

For the Tuna Salad Pasta

  1. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water, according to the packet instructions. Drain and allow to cool. (To prevent sticking, post draining - add a splash of vinegar and a little olive oil. Mix thoroughly.)
  2. Add the lettuce, spring onion, sweet red pepper and carrot to a large mixing bowl. Then flake in the tuna using a fork.
  3. Tip in the cooked pasta and the dressing. Give everything a thorough mix together, ensuring all ingredients are nicely coated.
  4. Divide between plates or bowls and scatter with the chopped walnuts. (Optional.)

Notes

Store covered in the fridge and consume within 2 days.

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the sections Ingredients and Substitutions, Recipe Tips and Troubleshooting and Time Management for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe. You can find them in the main body of this post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 593Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 41gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 216mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 27g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

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