Some recipes gain popularity when traditional ingredients are changed up and made new. Some are best as their straight-forward, classic self. This recipe for Tuna Pasta Salad is both. People who love classic tuna salad and don’t want it messed with will love this, but if you want a bit of a twist on the norm, you’ll be happy too. This is a fresh, make-ahead tuna pasta salad reminiscent of traditional tuna salad but with some fresh and healthy ingredients for added texture and variety.
Start with solid Albacore tuna (or salmon!) and shell pasta. You can use small shell pasta, or in this case, tomato and spinach shell pasta for a bit of color. Use pasta with ridges to help hold onto the dressing. Speaking of the dressing, this one is simple and fresh. Combine mayonnaise with Greek yogurt, sweet relish, lemon juice and dill. The addition of crunchy celery, sweet peas, hard-boiled eggs and red onions adds a healthy balance of color and texture without losing that classic tuna salad flavor. Make this at least four hours or up to a day ahead for best flavor.
If you like your tuna salad just like your grandma used to make, this will be a great recipe for you to try. But if you’re prone to experimentation, here are a couple unique options for you. Add in some apples and curry powder. Or how about diced green pepper, jalapeno and avocado? Either way, here is a great base for experimentation or a recipe that will satisfy just the way it is.
For another delicious main-dish salad, check out my popular Chicken Salad Recipe.
Tuna Pasta Salad
- 1 16 ounce package small uncooked seashell pasta, or other ridged pasta
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons Tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 6 ounce cans solid Albacore tuna, packed in water and drained
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1 cup fresh or thawed from frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped celery including leaves
- 1 cup sliced or halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, milk, lemon juice, relish, dill, mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Mix in tuna and remaining fresh ingredients.
- Toss with cooked pasta. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Cook’s note: For a really unique Tuna Pasta Salad, add about 1 teaspoon mild curry powder to dressing and then peel and chop a fresh crunchy apple to add with the above ingredients. OR add a chopped green bell pepper and chopped jalapeno, with or without ribs and seeds depending on the heat you like.