Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe is no stranger to my house and I’m sure the same can be said for many households around the globe.
This simple yet delicious chilled tuna pasta salad provides a perfect balance of healthy protein, fats, and carbs…making sure that your family eats a wholesome meal without you having to slave away in the kitchen!
Tuna pasta salad is great as a light meal on those hot summer days. The contrast of chunks of tuna, crunchy salad ingredients, tender pasta, and creamy tangy dressing is so addictive!
We absolutely love pasta recipes, they are so easy and go well with all the veggies! From our Creamy Chicken Fajita Pasta, Hawaiian Macaroni Salad, to Baked Pepperoni Pasta - there's something for everyone and guaranteed to satisfy even picky eaters. This Cheddar Broccoli Pasta Salad is not an exception!
Why We Love This
- Easy lunch. It’s a super simple and affordable dish that’s well known around the globe and can be enjoyed as a delicious cold main meal - great for summer time!
- There’s no cooking involved in this recipe. In fact, all you need is 15 minutes to spare and you can get on with other tasks while the salad chills.
- This healthy tuna pasta Salad is a well-balanced meal for the family with healthy protein, fatty acids, carbs, and fats from the cream-based dressing.
- Tuna - Since this recipe already has a good amount of creamy ingredients, I like to use a can of tuna (Albacore tuna is my go-to) in water but you can also opt for tuna in vegetable oil. Make sure to drain the tuna well if using the canned oil variety.
- Corn - You can use canned corn for this recipe but for best taste consider using freshly cooked corn on the cob (either boiled, oven-roasted, or grilled and lightly charred) - it’s so delicious!
- Type of pasta - Rotini pasta or fusilli pasta are both ideal options for a cold salad like this tuna pasta salad since the shape and texture allow the dressing to get stuck well, enhancing the flavor of the dish. Secondary options include smaller pasta like elbow macaroni, bowtie pasta, farfalle, penne, or other noodles that work well when tossed in sauce.
- Dressing ingredients - I’ve opted to make my own ultra-creamy tuna pasta dressing using simple ingredients such as tangy mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and spice. You can definitely use a store-bought dressing if you would prefer but it may be a good idea to buy more than required in case you store the salad and need additional sauce later on.
- It is a simple classic tuna salad and there are plenty of ways to customize it. One way is by adding fresh vegetables such as sweet peas, crunchy celery, cherry tomatoes, and even kalamata olives.
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down where you'll find the recipe card.
Cook pasta according to its package directions (cooked pasta should be boiled al dente). Drain and let the pasta cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Make Tuna Pasta Salad Dressing: whisk all the ingredients in the measuring cup or jug.
Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if needed.
Place a plastic wrap on top and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Garnish with more fresh dill or sliced green onions and enjoy! This pasta salad tastes even better the next day! Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.
- It’s important to allow this tuna pasta salad to chill in the refrigerator so that all of the flavors infuse and blend well. 15-30 minutes should be an adequate amount of time to chill the salad prior to serving.
- If you don’t feel like making another batch of creamy dressing for leftover tuna pasta salad and the salad is definitely in need of additional coating, simply mix in a little extra mayonnaise or yogurt.
- It’s always advised to be generous when adding salt to pasta water prior to adding the dried uncooked pasta. It really makes a huge difference in taste.
- To prevent the pasta from sticking together after being cooked and drained, add a small amount of olive oil and toss to coat the pasta. This will also make the pasta absorb the creamy dressing better later on.
- As it's a cold pasta salad, you can easily make it ahead by cooking the pasta 1-2 days in advance, chopping the veggies, making the dressing, and keeping everything separate in the fridge until ready to use.
- Add more flavor by using seasoned salt, we like homemade Celery Salt.
Freezing and Storing Instructions
Keep the cold pasta salad refrigerated at all times closed in the food container. For best flavor consume within 3 days.
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.
Thank you so much for reading how to make a creamy tuna pasta salad recipe. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have! I love reading your feedback.
Absolutely! It’s never a bad idea to add fish to the diet since it’s a great source of healthy protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. The salad components offer healthy carbs, fats from cream-based ingredients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Of course, you will need to evaluate the recipe according to your dietary requirements.
No. I’ve used regular pasta for this tuna salad. If you require a gluten-free version, simply use gluten-free pasta that’s readily available online or in-store.
Pasta stored for any length of time will naturally start to soak up any sauces or dressings that it’s in contact with. By the time you want to serve leftovers, you may notice that the tuna pasta salad requires additional dressing to coat the ingredients.
Easy Salad Recipes
For more recipes please take a look at my ALL SALAD index.
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Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 8 oz tuna in water drained
- 8 oz dried uncooked pasta
- ½ of medium red bell pepper medium diced
- 1 cup canned sweet corn drained
- ½ of a medium red onion diced
- 2 heaping tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- Garnish with fresh dill or green onions.
- ½ cup mayonnaise I like to use Vegan mayo, it lighter and slightly healthier
- ½ cup plain yogurt such as greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to its package directions (cooked pasta should be boiled al dente). Drain and let the pasta cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Make Tuna Pasta Salad Dressing: whisk all the ingredients in the measuring cup or jug.
- Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if needed.
- Place a plastic wrap on top and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Garnish with more fresh dill or sliced green onions and enjoy! This pasta salad tastes even better the next day! Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container.