This Tuna Pasta Salad is the perfect picnic food. It is easy to throw together with light delicious flavors everyone will love.
Over the weekend we saw my family and had a picnic outside with them. With everything going on in the world, it was so wonderful to see them, and even better to cook for them. It makes my heart happy.
Tuna Pasta Salad Ingredients
Pasta Salads are so great and so often require just a few ingredients. I often have all the ingredients in my pantry, freezer, and refrigerator.
With this recipe, I had everything on hand.
- Medium Pasta Shells
- Canned Tuna
- Frozen Peas
- Red Onion
- Light Mayonnaise
- Lemon Juice
- Salt and Pepper
Cooking Noodles for Pasta Salads
There are a few important tips to follow when cooking pasta, especially for pasta salads. It is the star of the show and you want it to shine.
- Bring the water to a roaring boil. You need more than a few bubbles before you throw in the dry noodles.
- Note the cook time on the package. Before you put the noodles in the water, note the cook time and set a timer.
- Aim for al dente. When the time frame for cooking ends, taste a noodle and make sure it has bite to it. Then drain the noodles.
- Rinse the noodles with cold water. This will stop the noodles from cooking. It will also prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
This is a cold tuna pasta salad, so no worries about rinsing the noodles. It works out perfectly.
What Type of Tuna to Buy
Please note that this recipe calls for tuna packed in water. If you buy tuna packed in oil, that will really change the flavor and consistency of this recipe.
Dry vs. Fresh Dill
This recipe calls for fresh dill. I love the flavor of dill in my recipes, it really pulls recipes together. That said, if you can’t find fresh, use dry dill. It will still bring that delicious flavor, you will just need al little less.
Note about Salt & Pepper
This recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. I would recommend that you make the dressing using half that amount. Taste it, before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, and add more to taste.
Additionally, after you add the dressing, I recommend tasting the salad to see if you would like to add more salt and pepper.
Other Great Pasta Salads
I’m obsessed with pasta salad recipes. If you are too, you might like some of these:
- Crab Pasta Salad: This was my mom’s recipe, and it is absolutely delicious.
- Shrimp Pasta Salad: This is a small riff on the Crab Pasta Salad and also amazing.
- Italian Pasta Salad: This recipe is super easy and always a hit.
- Greek Pasta Salad: The secret to this recipe is the amazing dressing.
If you make this tuna pasta salad recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 1 lb medium shells cooked, drained, and rinsed with cold water
- 12 ounces tuna drained (2 cans) (please note this is the dry weight listed on the can)
- 1 cup frozen peas see note
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1/2 small red onion diced
- 1 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dry dill)
- 1 teaspoon salt see note in the post about adding salt and pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook the shells according to package instructions, being sure not to over cook. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, salt and pepper.
- Add the noodles, tuna, peas, celery, and onion to a large bowl. Pour dressing over it, and toss to combine.