The Best Tuna Pasta Salad

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Hands-down this is The Best Tuna Pasta Salad I’ve ever had!   It’s a cold pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors and features whole chunk light  tuna (packed in water),  peas, celery, green onions, tomatoes, kalamata olives, pepperoncini and parsley.

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever

I’ve called this The Best Tuna Pasta Salad for a reason!  It has a really incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients.  This healthy tuna pasta salad is also super quick and easy to make and it’s always popular at parties and potlucks!

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever

My healthy pasta salad recipe is a riff on Garduno’s restaurant tuna pasta salad.  Gardunos is my favorite little local Italian spot, and they make an amazing Italian tuna pasta salad that my family has loved for years. You won’t find it on their menu year-round as they reserve this delicious cold tuna pasta salad for the warmer spring and summer months. 

TUNA PASTA SALAD RECIPE

This pasta salad recipe is loaded with tomatoes, peas and parsley, giving it a lot of flavor and added nutrition.  I’ve used penne noodles here, but you could easily use corkscrew noodles, or use some macaroni noodles and call it a tuna macaroni salad.

  • Dolphin safe canned tuna
  • Penne noodles 
  • Kalamata olives,
  • Frozen peas
  • Chopped tomatoes, celery and green onions
  • Pepperoncini (optional)
  • Flat leaf (Italian) parsley
  • Mayo
  • Pasta salad dressing

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever

HOW TO MAKE COLD PASTA SALAD

This is an easy pasta salad to make.  It’s best chilled for an hour or so before serving.

  1. Cook pasta:  Cook pasta until al dente
  2. Steam peas: Place the peas in a colander and place in a pot with boiling water to steam or just pour boiling water over them for a quick blanch. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. Make tuna pasta salad dressing:  Mix the ingredients for the tuna pasta salad dressing in a small bow. 
  4. Mix ingredients:  Place the tuna with the water from the cans in a large bowl. With a fork, break up the tuna.  Add the pasta, celery, green onion, and peas.
  5. Toss ingredients in dressing:  Pour the tuna pasta salad dressing over the salad ingredients and gently toss to coat the ingredients well.
  6. Serve: Mound this easy tuna pasta salad on a platter and top with the chopped tomatoes, olives, and parsley. Toss all ingredients together just before serving so the tomatoes won’t get soggy.

PASTA SALAD DRESSING

  • 3/4 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise (add more as needed)
  • 5 tablespoons Oregano Vinaigrette (add more as needed)

Directions:

  1. Blend the vinaigrette with the mayonnaise so it’s well blended.  If it’s too thick, you can add a teaspoon or two of water to thin it out a bit.

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever

VARIATIONS TO THIS COLD PASTA SALAD

  • Use macaroni or corkscrew noodles instead of penne
  • Add fresh dill or basil instead of parsley
  • Use black olives instead of kalamata
  • Gluten-free noodles instead of regular 
  • Add more pepperoncini
  • Toss in a few capers
  • Add a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese (because it makes everything better)
  • Use salmon instead of tuna or chicken if you don’t like fish
  • Add more veggies and chickpeas and omit the fish altogether for a vegetarian pasta salad

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever

MORE HEALTHY SALAD RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

If you like this easy pasta salad, here’s some more salad recipes you’ll want to try.

Another cold pasta salad you might like is this Macaroni Salad with Ham and Cheese.  I have not eaten ham in many years, so when I make it for myself – I omit the ham altogether and add kalamata olives instead.

And if you’re looking for a good tuna salad recipe, this is my favorite way of making tuna salad for sandwiches.

 

Originally published 3.2019 – updated 6.2020

This cold tuna pasta salad with Mediterranean flavors is the Best Tuna Pasta Salad ever
Yield: Serves 6 - 8

The Best Tuna Pasta Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

This is called The Best Tuna Pasta Salad for a reason!  It has a really incredible combination of flavors and healthy ingredients and it's super quick and easy to make.   

Ingredients

  • 4 cups gluten-free rigatoni noodles (cooked al dente)
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans whole chunk tuna (packed in water )
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pepperoncini, sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup Best Foods Mayonnaise (add more as needed)
  • 5 tablespoons Oregano Vinaigrette (add more as needed)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta according to the package directions or until al dente, rinse under cold water and drain.
  2. Place the peas in a colander and pour boiling water over them. Drain and set aside to cool.
  3. In a small bowl whisk the mayonnaise and Oregano Vinaigrette until well blended. (Or whisk the mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon dried basil)
  4. Place the tuna in a large bowl. With a fork, break up the tuna.
  5. Add the pasta, celery, green onion, and peas. Pour the mayo/vinaigrette mixture over the ingredients and gently toss to coat the ingredients well. Mound on a platter and top with the chopped tomatoes, olives, parsley and pepperoncini.
  6. Toss all ingredients together just before serving so the tomatoes won't get soggy.

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2 Responses to “The Best Tuna Pasta Salad”

  1. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — June 15, 2012 @ 6:53 pm (#)

    Pasta salad is one of my favorite dishes! Throw in some tuna and that amazing oregano vinaigrette and I call that heaven!

  2. Alanna B — March 19, 2013 @ 2:28 am (#)

    Just made this. Oh. My. God. It is soooo good!! The oregano dressing really makes this dish. I’m refrigerating this for a few days – leaving the tomatoes separate. Thanks!

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