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7 Creative Ways to Up Your Tuna Pasta Salad Game With These Mouthwatering Recipes

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Updated on June 6, 2024

Salads have always been a go-to as a delightful appetizer, a nutritious snack or a meal option for those of us aiming for weight loss. With a wide array of shapes and sizes to pick up from, the best part is that they are easy to prepare, versatile, and healthy for the most part. It’s hard to deny the deliciousness created when tuna and pasta combine in a single dish. 

Not only is this dish seriously satisfying, but it also breaks the misconception that pasta is an unhealthy carb that you need to avoid. Whoever first thought to fuse these two ingredients together is an absolute culinary mastermind, and we should all be thanking them for their contribution to the salad game. 

While this dish has been around for quite some time, it seems it’s still making headway, becoming more succulent with each passing day. Take this as your sign to give the tuna pasta salad a chance it deserves and up your salad game!

1. Creamy Tuna Pasta Salad (Fusilli)

Cold tuna blends with hot pasta creating bursting flavours in your mouth that keep you asking for more. The temptation is even more irresistible when your tuna pasta salad is brimming with a mayo-based creamy sauce. It’s a light meal that you can enjoy in summer. Not only is it nutritious and delectable, but it’s also quite affordable and takes no time to prepare. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of fusilli pasta (feel free to use any pasta you like)
  • Canned tuna (drained)
  • 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup of light mayonnaise
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of chopped cucumbers
  • 1 tbsp of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of chopped red onion
  • 1 cup of red bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp of fresh dill-weed
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes

Instructions:

1- Boil some salted water, add the pasta and let it cook, then drain and rinse with cold water. 

2- Drain the tuna and toss it into a bowl with all the chopped ingredients; red bell peppers, cucumbers, and onions. 

3- Add the garlic powder, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and rice wine vinegar in another bowl, and combine well. 

4- Add the cooked pasta to the seasoning bowl and combine.

5- Mix the two bowls and combine gently.

6- Now prepare the creamy sauce by combining the mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt, and dill. Whisk all together until they combine thoroughly,

7- Add the sauce to the tuna pasta bowl and stir. 

8- Let it refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then serve and enjoy!

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2. Garlic Lemon Tuna Pasta (Spaghetti)

Infuse garlic and lemon together, and you’ll get an aromatic mixture with great health benefits. This mixture is even far better combined with a tuna pasta salad. Besides, it would take no more than 10 minutes of your day but will keep you satiated for much longer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of spaghetti 
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can of tuna soaked in olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of capers
  • 2 tbsp of fresh parsley
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions:

1- Cook the spaghetti in a boiling pot filled with salted water until al dente. Set half a cup of the cooking water aside.

2- Heat the olive oil at medium heat in a pan, then add the garlic cloves for 30 seconds until the juices are released.

3- Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and tuna into the pan and stir for a minute.

4- Toss the spaghetti and the parsley and capers and gently combine all the ingredients. 

5- Serve in a deep bowl, garnish with some parsley, and enjoy!

3. Italian Tuna Pasta Salad (Farfalle Pasta)

Indulge your taste buds with a delectable dish where a medley of fresh and vibrant flavours comes together to serve you best. The Italian Tuna Pasta Salad is not only an irresistible scrumptious treat, but it’s also a highly nutritious salad. It also makes a perfect snack for those hot summer days. Don’t let the myriad ingredients trick you; this meal comes together in a flash. It’s an ideal choice for those with little time to spare. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of farfalle pasta (butterfly pasta)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped arugula
  • 1 cup of tuna packed in oil, drained
  • 1 and 3/4 cups of cannellini beans
  • ½ cup of roasted red bell peppers, diced
  • ½ cup of Kalamata olives, diced
  • 2 stalks of diced celery
  • ¼ cup of diced red onion
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar

Instructions:

1- Boil salted water in a pot and cook the farfalle pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.

2- Combine the tuna, cannellini beans, bell pepper, olives, arugula, red onion, and celery in a big bowl.

3- Gently toss the cooked pasta into the bowl and combine.

4- Sprinkle a little vinegar and olive oil, then combine.

5- Add all the seasoning to taste, then serve and enjoy!

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4. Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad (Penne Pasta)

While the classic tuna pasta salad is known to be mayo-laden, this Mediterranean version calls for no mayo. Instead, it calls for more vegetables and cheese, offering a high-protein and high-fibre meal that will keep you full for longer. This salad is bursting with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and feta cheese- the hallmarks of Mediterranean cuisine. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of dry penne pasta
  • 1 can of water-packed tuna
  • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
  • 10 Kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup of minced parsley

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon (juice only)
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper

Instructions:

1- Cook the penne pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, rinse in cold water, then set aside.

2- Combine all the dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly until blended.

3- Add the cooked pasta and cover with the dressing in a large bowl.

4- Toss in the rest of the ingredients and combine.

5- Crumble the feta cheese, cut it into cubes, sprinkle it over the tuna pasta salad, then serve and enjoy.

5. Tuna Pesto Pasta (Rigatoni Pasta)

As we all know, Italian cuisine is world-renowned for its unique pasta dishes, such as the classic pesto pasta. However, we’ve been introduced to a fascinating way to spice this dish by adding some juicy tuna chunks. This unconventional invention may not be a staple in many kitchens, but we assure you it takes the tuna pasta game in a different direction.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 cups of rigatoni pasta
  • Canned tuna (drained)
  • 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes

For the pesto sauce:

  • 2 cups of basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup of hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup of yeast
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions:

1- Cook the rigatoni pasta in salted boiling water. Drain, rinse with cold water, then set aside.

2- Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.

3- Drain the canned tuna and crumble with a fork.

4- Add all the pesto sauce ingredients in a blender until they combine, forming a smooth sauce.

5- Toss the pasta in a large bowl and add the tuna, tomatoes, and sauce. Combine all well.

6- Sprinkle olive oil, salt, and pepper, then serve and enjoy this exquisite tuna pasta salad.

6. Cheesy Tuna Pasta Salad (Macaroni)

Not only is this recipe an exquisite dish of tuna pasta salad, but it’s also a flavoursome twist to the traditional mac and cheese game. Even more, it’s packed with protein. It’s a recipe that isn’t a typical sight in everyone’s kitchen, yet we promise it will make everyone happy. This cheesy tuna pasta salad will leave everyone begging for more.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of macaroni pasta
  • Canned tuna
  • 1 cup of cubed cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of chopped sweet pickle
  • 1/4 cup of minced onion
  • 1 peeled and chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp of prepared mustard
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 can of peas

Instructions:

1- Cook the macaroni in boiling salt water. Drain, rinse in cold water, then set aside.

2- In a large bowl, toss the macaroni and add the tuna, pickles, and onion. Combine gently.

3- Add the mustard, sugar, and mayonnaise in another bowl. Mix thoroughly. 

4- Now combine all the ingredients and add the peas. 

5- Sprinkle a dash of salt, then serve and enjoy!

7. Creamy Veggie Tuna Pasta Salad (Rotini Pasta)

A bowl of tuna pasta salad can make your day better and healthier, but toss in some fresh veggies and give your taste buds some bursting flavours to endeavour. Adding vegetables makes the bowl ideal for a light supper on summery days. It’ll also keep you hydrated and healthy for the most part. All of that, and we still have yet to mention that it’s super easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 1 cup of rotini pasta
  • 2 cups of small fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 cans of water-packed tuna
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup of sliced black or green olives
  • 3 medium scallions (only white and green parts)

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar,
  • 1 tsp of Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

1- Toss the pasta in a pot and get it to boiling salted water.

2- Before your pasta cooking is complete, toss in the broccoli to cook for a few minutes.

3- Drain the pasta and broccoli, rinse under cold water, then set aside.

4- Toss the pasta and broccoli into a large bowl and combine with the tuna, tomatoes, scallions, and olives.

5- In a separate bowl, prepare the dressing. Add the olive oil, vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper. Mix all too well until they thoroughly blend.

6- Pour the dressing over the tuna pasta salad and the vegetables and combine gently.

7- Serve immediately or cool in the refrigerator for several hours.

While there are numerous salad options, you shouldn’t miss out on the delicious tuna pasta salad. Not only is it a scrumptious dish, but it’s also packed with lots of nutrition. We suggest trying out a recipe or two. And, who knows, you might make it your new go-to comfort food that’ll always satisfy your taste buds.

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