Tuna Pasta Salad
Tuna Pasta Salad
5 from 16 votes
This tuna pasta salad recipe is a quick, nutritious meal that the whole family will love. It's a wonderful pasta salad that can also be prepared ahead of time and is ideal for barbecues or family get-togethers.
Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad. That dish that perfectly captures the essence of summer on a plate. For those who aren’t familiar with its origins, this beautiful blend of pasta, tuna, and veggies has Mediterranean roots, with countries around the coast boasting their own takes on this dish.

I must say, whipping up this Tuna Pasta Salad is a breeze, even for beginners. Its difficulty level? Think of it like an introductory course to Culinary Arts 101 – simple, straightforward, yet incredibly rewarding.

Throughout history, many have put their unique spins on this dish. Some like it creamy, others zesty. Some throw in olives for that briny kick, while others play it safe with just the classics.

The magic lies in its versatility. My version here combines the silky textures of mayonnaise and Greek yoghurt, with the added tang of mustard. Talk about a gastronomic trio!

But, if you’re thinking of experimenting a tad, be my guest. Why not substitute Greek yoghurt with sour cream for a different tang? Or, if you’re a daredevil in the kitchen like me,

play around with the veggies. Maybe add some diced bell peppers for a pop of colour and crunch or throw in a handful of chopped fresh herbs for an elevated flavour.

This particular recipe invites sweetcorn, red onions, and cucumbers to the party. But the magic doesn’t end there. Tomatoes join the fiesta, bringing with them a burst of juicy freshness that melds beautifully with the creamy texture of the dressing.

Here’s a pro tip: the real secret lies in cooking the pasta. Aim for that perfect al dente texture, where it’s soft with a slight bite. Overcooking is a big no-no, unless you’re in the mood for a Tuna Pasta Mash (not recommended).

Before I get too carried away, let’s just conclude by saying that this recipe is more than just mixing ingredients. It’s about bringing out the best in every element.

It’s about creating a symphony of flavours where each ingredient is a note, coming together to play the most harmonious tune. So, ready to become the maestro of your kitchen? Let’s begin!

What Ingredients to Use & Why

The heart and soul of every dish: its ingredients. Before diving deep into the culinary symphony that is Tuna Pasta Salad, it’s essential to recognize each player in the ensemble and their contribution to the melody.

Just as a musician has his favourite instruments, I too have my cherished ingredients, and here’s why each one rocks the show.

Tuna (Canned): The star of our show, tuna provides a rich depth of flavour that can’t be replaced. Packed with protein, it’s the ingredient that gives the salad its body and soul. However, if you’re not a fan of tuna or simply don’t have it at hand, chicken chunks or even chickpeas can be worthy substitutes.

Pasta (Fusilli): Fusilli’s spirals are not just for the show; they cling onto the dressing and the smaller ingredients, ensuring every bite is a blast of flavour. If fusilli isn’t available, rotini or penne can be excellent understudies, ready to take on the role.

Sweetcorn (Frozen): These golden kernels bring sweetness, adding contrast to the savoury nature of the dish. Not to mention, their crunch is unmistakably satisfying. If corn isn’t your thing, diced bell peppers can provide a similar texture with a different flavour profile.

Mayonnaise: This brings creaminess to our salad, binding the elements together. Its silky texture and subtle tang are irreplaceable. But if you’re watching your calorie intake, a lighter version or even avocado puree can do the trick.

Yoghurt (Greek Style): A balance to the richness of mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt brings tanginess and a smooth texture. If you’re out of Greek yoghurt, regular yoghurt (drained of its water) or sour cream can stand in.

Mustard: A dash of zing! Mustard elevates the flavour profile, adding a hint of spice and complexity. If mustard isn’t to your liking, a pinch of paprika or cayenne pepper can jazz things up.

Onion (Red): These offer a bite and a sharp contrast, ensuring the salad doesn’t become monotonous. Shallots or spring onions can be an alternative if you want to tone down the punch.

Cucumber: These provide a refreshing crunch, breaking the creaminess. Zucchinis or even thinly sliced radishes could replace them, introducing a slightly different crunch and flavour.

Tomato: Juicy and vibrant, tomatoes add freshness to the mix. If you’re not a tomato enthusiast, red bell peppers can be a beautiful and equally fresh substitute.

Salt & Black Pepper: The classic duo! They season the dish, pulling out flavours from each ingredient. While there’s no real substitute for these two, one might experiment with herbs like basil or parsley for added aroma and seasoning.

To wrap up our deep dive into these ingredients, it’s clear that every single one has a purpose, each contributing its unique flavour and texture.

This Tuna Pasta Salad isn’t just a combination of ingredients; it’s a harmonious blend of individual elements each playing their part in creating a culinary masterpiece. It’s a testament to the idea that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

The Art of Perfecting Tuna Pasta Salad

The first time I tried Tuna Pasta Salad, I knew it wasn’t just any other dish. Its unique blend of flavours and textures stole my heart. Today, I’m here to spill the beans on how to perfect this Mediterranean delicacy.

First things first, the choice of tuna matters immensely. While canned tuna is a convenient option, the quality varies. I always suggest opting for tuna that’s packed in olive oil. Not only does it offer a richer taste, but the inherent moisture ensures that your salad doesn’t dry out.

The pasta, oh the pasta! It can make or break the dish. Remember the first time you tasted perfectly cooked al dente pasta? The slight bite, the way it melds with the sauce or dressing. That’s what we aim for in our Tuna Pasta Salad.

Overcooked pasta turns mushy, losing its identity in the dish, while undercooked pasta feels like an uninvited guest.

Mayonnaise and Greek yogurt form the backbone of the dressing. It’s where you can get creative. Sometimes I add a squeeze of lemon or even a dash of hot sauce for a zesty kick. Trust me; it’s game-changing.

Now, vegetables add colour, texture, and freshness to the salad. While the classic combo of sweetcorn, red onion, cucumber, and tomato is fantastic, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Perhaps some diced avocado for creaminess or a sprinkle of feta for a salty punch?

Perfecting the Tuna Pasta Salad is all about balance. It’s about ensuring each ingredient shines without overshadowing the others. It’s a dance of flavours and textures, each step choreographed to perfection.

It’s clear that while the foundation remains consistent, there’s ample room for creativity. So, here’s to many more bowls of Tuna Pasta Salad, each one a reflection of culinary artistry!

The Unsung Hero: Mustard in Tuna Pasta Salad

When it comes to Tuna Pasta Salad, many ingredients claim the spotlight. However, today, I’m shifting the focus to an unsung hero, one that elevates the dish from good to exceptional: mustard.

When I first introduced mustard into my Tuna Pasta Salad, I wasn’t entirely sure about the outcome. But oh boy, was I in for a delightful surprise! The hint of sharpness and depth it brought was unparalleled.

Mustard, in its essence, offers a unique combination of spice, tanginess, and warmth. And this profile complements the creamy mayo and tangy Greek yogurt beautifully. It adds a dimension, an undertone that makes one wonder, “What’s that delightful kick?”

While mustard is a classic addition, the type of mustard can make a subtle yet noticeable difference. Traditional yellow mustard gives a mild zesty flavour. But if you want to elevate the dish, Dijon mustard can be a game-changer. Its smooth texture and distinct spiciness add a gourmet touch.

Yet, mustard isn’t just about flavour. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s a boon. Low in calories and rich in antioxidants, it brings along several health benefits. Not to mention, mustard seeds are a source of essential minerals like selenium and magnesium.

But what if you’re not a mustard aficionado? Can the Tuna Pasta Salad survive without it? Of course, it can. The beauty of this dish lies in its adaptability. Perhaps a splash of apple cider vinegar or a hint of lemon zest can introduce a similar zing.

While the Tuna Pasta Salad is a medley of several ingredients, each contributing to its character, mustard, in my books, deserves a special mention. It’s the pinch of magic, the unexpected twist, the element that takes the dish from delicious to “Can I have some more?”.

Embracing Greek Yoghurt in Tuna Pasta Salad

From my earliest memories of crafting salads, the journey to discovering the right blend of creaminess and tang has been thrilling. When I stumbled upon the idea of introducing Greek yoghurt into the Tuna Pasta Salad, a culinary revelation occurred.

Greek yoghurt is more than just a trendy ingredient that health enthusiasts rave about. It’s a versatile gem that has transformed countless dishes I’ve made. For our beloved Tuna Pasta Salad, it’s not merely about adding another ingredient; it’s about enhancing texture, flavour, and health benefits.

Starting with texture, Greek yoghurt imparts a creamy consistency, which is thicker and richer compared to regular yoghurt. When combined with mayonnaise, it lends a velvety touch, ensuring every bite of the salad is luxuriously smooth.

On the flavour front, Greek yoghurt is a maverick. Its subtle tang offsets the richness of mayo, bringing a balanced harmony to the dressing.

Furthermore, it accentuates the flavours of other ingredients, particularly the tuna. The natural tang of the yoghurt highlights the umami of the tuna, making the fish stand out in a delightful manner.

But beyond texture and taste, Greek yoghurt offers a plethora of health benefits. Rich in protein, it provides a nutritional boost to the salad. Plus, it’s packed with probiotics which are great for gut health. Each time I incorporate it into my salad, I’m silently nodding to the added health quotient.

In the vast world of alternatives, if you ever find yourself short of Greek yoghurt, fret not. Regular yoghurt, when strained to reduce its water content, can jump in as a saviour. Though, I must confess, there’s an unparalleled charm to the original.

Greek yoghurt isn’t just an ingredient; it’s an experience, a culinary story that elevates the Tuna Pasta Salad from a dish to a delicacy. Each time I whip up this salad, the addition of Greek yoghurt feels like a touch of culinary genius, making the experience nothing short of magical.

The Chronicles of Choosing Canned Tuna

When I talk Tuna Pasta Salad with fellow enthusiasts, there’s a question that inevitably pops up: “Which tuna do you use?” To me, this isn’t just about picking a random can from the shelf. It’s a strategic choice, deeply influencing the final flavour profile of the salad.

In the vast ocean of tuna varieties, canned tuna is an easily accessible and delectable choice for our salad. But, as I’ve discovered, all canned tuna isn’t created equal.

There are primarily three varieties: light, white, and Albacore. Light tuna, typically from the Skipjack species, has a pronounced fishy taste, which I find adds depth to the salad.

White tuna, usually Yellowfin, is milder and works well if you’re aiming for subtlety. Albacore, the most premium, has the lightest flavour and the steaks are often larger.

The packing medium is another crucial decision point. Tuna in water is the leaner choice, with its natural flavours shining. However, tuna in olive oil is my personal favourite. The oil intensifies the tuna’s flavour and melds wonderfully with the creamy dressing.

Beyond flavour, there’s an environmental angle to consider. I’ve always been conscious of the impact of my culinary choices. Hence, I advocate for sustainably caught tuna.

Brands that carry the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) label ensure the fish is caught in a way that doesn’t harm other marine life or the environment.

To round off, while the Tuna Pasta Salad is a sum of its parts, the choice of tuna plays a pivotal role. It’s not just about throwing in a can; it’s about understanding the nuances, weighing the options, and making a choice that resonates with your palate and principles.

And as I’ve discovered over countless salads, the right tuna can elevate your dish from ordinary to extraordinary.

Fusilli’s Spiralled Magic in Tuna Pasta Salad

In my culinary endeavours, I’ve often noticed that the choice of pasta can make or break a dish. It’s like picking the right accessory to complement an outfit. For the Tuna Pasta Salad, the spiralled charm of Fusilli has always held a special place in my heart.

Fusilli, with its spiral design, brings a delightful twist to the dish, quite literally! These corkscrew-shaped wonders are adept at trapping and holding onto sauces, ensuring that with every forkful,

you’re promised a burst of flavours. The ridges and grooves provide an ample surface area for our creamy mayo and Greek yoghurt dressing to cling onto. So, each bite offers a balanced taste of pasta, dressing, and the various ingredients that make up the salad.

The beauty of Fusilli doesn’t just lie in its functionality but its aesthetic appeal. It’s a visual treat to see spirals mingling with chunky tuna, vibrant sweetcorn, and diced vegetables. And I firmly believe that we eat with our eyes first.

If you ever find yourself out of Fusilli or wanting to experiment, there are alternatives. Penne, with its tube-like structure, can provide a similar sauce-grabbing ability. Farfalle, often called ‘bow-tie pasta’, can give the salad a touch of elegance with its unique shape.

However, time and again, I find myself turning back to Fusilli. It’s a blend of function and form, making every Tuna Pasta Salad a culinary artwork.

The Underrated Elegance of Sweetcorn in Salads

One might wonder: what does sweetcorn, a humble kernel, bring to a dish as diverse as the Tuna Pasta Salad? Well, from my many trysts with this salad, I can confidently say: a whole lot!

Sweetcorn, though often overlooked, plays a critical role in the salad symphony.

It introduces a pop of sweetness, contrasting beautifully with the savoury notes of tuna and the tang of Greek yoghurt. Each kernel bursts with juiciness, providing a refreshing counterpoint to the creamy texture of the salad.

But it isn’t just about the flavour. Sweetcorn adds a beautiful golden hue to the palette, standing out against the muted tones of pasta and tuna. This visual distinction plays a pivotal role in enhancing the overall appeal of the dish.

Nutritionally speaking, sweetcorn is no slouch. It packs a punch with its fibre content, making the salad even more wholesome.

For those times when I’ve felt adventurous or was simply out of sweetcorn, I’ve tried alternatives. Diced bell peppers, with their crunchy texture and sweet notes, can be a worthy substitute. Edamame beans, with their inherent sweetness, also come to mind.

Yet, at the heart of it, sweetcorn remains irreplaceable. Its unique combination of taste, texture, and colour elevates the Tuna Pasta Salad, making it an ensemble of flavours and a treat for the senses.

Every time I sprinkle those golden kernels into my salad, I’m reminded of the understated elegance they bring to the table.

Pasta The Mayo-Yoghurt Tandem: A Creamy Duo for Tuna Salad

In the realm of salad dressings, there’s a duo I’ve been smitten with, one that never ceases to amaze me: mayonnaise and Greek yoghurt. These two, when combined, create an alchemy that propels the Tuna Pasta Salad to celestial heights.

Mayonnaise, by its very nature, brings richness to the table. With its creamy texture and mildly tangy taste, it has been a cornerstone for countless salads. Its ability to bind ingredients together and impart a velvety feel ensures every mouthful is a delight.

On the other hand, Greek yoghurt is the unsung hero. Often side-lined or reserved for breakfast bowls and parfaits, I’ve found its place in salads to be nothing short of transformative.

It injects a refreshing tanginess, balancing the richness of mayo. Moreover, its thick consistency means it doesn’t water down the salad, preserving the luxurious feel we all crave.

When these two are blended, it’s akin to a culinary ballet. The mayo provides depth, while the Greek yoghurt lightens the palate. This balance is especially crucial in a dish like the Tuna Pasta Salad, where you have a plethora of flavours ranging from the savoury tuna to the vibrant veggies.

For those moments when you want to tread off the beaten path, sour cream can be an interesting substitute for Greek yoghurt. It offers a similar tang but with a slightly different flavour profile.

If you’re looking to cut down on calories, there are lighter versions of mayonnaise available that still promise the creaminess, minus the guilt.

However, the mayo-yoghurt tandem remains my go-to. It’s a match made in culinary heaven, ensuring the Tuna Pasta Salad remains etched in the memories of those fortunate enough to taste it.

Red Onions: The Crunchy Catalyst in Tuna Pasta Salad

If there’s one ingredient that has consistently piqued my interest, it’s the red onion. When incorporated into the Tuna Pasta Salad, it plays a role I often liken to a catalyst, accentuating and elevating the flavours around it.

Red onions, with their vibrant colour and slightly pungent flavour, are more than just an aesthetic addition.

Their crunchy texture offers a delightful contrast to the creaminess of the mayo-yoghurt dressing and the softness of the pasta. Each bite, punctuated with the crunch of red onion, becomes an experience in itself.

Flavour-wise, red onions impart a mild sweetness coupled with a hint of sharpness. This dual character ensures they don’t dominate the dish but instead complement the other ingredients. The slight pungency cuts through the richness, making each mouthful balanced and moreish.

While red onions are my go-to, there have been times I’ve explored alternatives. Scallions or green onions, with their milder flavour profile, can be a worthy substitute. Shallots, with their subtle sweetness, can also fit the bill.

However, there’s something innately special about red onions. Their vivid hue, their dual flavour profile, and that irresistible crunch make them an indispensable component of the Tuna Pasta Salad.

Every time I find myself dicing these crimson beauties, I’m filled with anticipation, knowing they’ll breathe life into my beloved salad.

Mustard: The Secret Kick Behind Tuna Pasta Salad

Every dish has a secret weapon, a hidden gem that elevates its overall appeal. In the world of Tuna Pasta Salad, mustard, for me, has always been that clandestine marvel.

The unassuming teaspoon in the ingredient list, often overshadowed by other components, holds more power than one might expect.

Now, when I think of mustard, I’m instantly reminded of sandwiches or hot dogs. But incorporating it into salads? It was an idea that took me by surprise initially. The sharp, tangy, and sometimes spicy undertones of mustard give a zing that resonates beautifully in a salad as varied as the Tuna Pasta Salad.

It’s not just about adding heat or intensity. Mustard lends depth to the salad, creating layers of flavour. Paired with the creamy concoction of mayo and Greek yoghurt, the contrast is divine. The kick from the mustard cuts through the creamy richness, offering a palate-cleansing effect with every bite.

While the classic yellow mustard is my preferred choice, I’ve sometimes ventured out, experimenting with dijon or whole grain mustard. Dijon, with its smooth texture and slightly less spicy profile,

can be a delightful substitute. Whole grain mustard, with its visible mustard seeds, offers a burst of flavour and a different texture, adding to the salad’s overall experience.

But irrespective of the variant, mustard remains the unsung hero, that surprise element in the Tuna Pasta Salad. Every time I introduce this dish to someone new, and they go, “Ah, what’s that kick?”, with a twinkle in my eye, I think to myself, “Ah, mustard, you’ve done it again!”

The Joy of Fresh Vegetables in Tuna Pasta Salad

The beauty of fresh vegetables! It’s something I’ve celebrated countless times. Their vibrant hues, varied textures, and intrinsic flavours can transform any dish. In the context of Tuna Pasta Salad, vegetables play a role that’s both aesthetic and gustatory.

Let’s talk tomatoes, for instance. Juicy, slightly tangy, and brimming with freshness, tomatoes add a splash of colour and a burst of juiciness to the salad. Every time I bite into a chunk of tomato, it’s like an explosion of summer in my mouth.

Then there’s cucumber, the cool, refreshing counterpart to the tangy tomato. Its crispness is unparalleled, offering a lovely bite amidst the softer textures of tuna and pasta. Not just that, cucumbers have this incredible ability to make a dish feel light and refreshing.

However, it’s not just about the tomatoes and cucumbers. Each vegetable, be it the pungent red onions or the golden kernels of sweetcorn, contributes to a mosaic of flavours and textures.

In moments of creativity, I’ve also dabbled with bell peppers for their crunchy texture and slight sweetness or even olives for a salty tang. These additions, while not traditional, have a way of giving the Tuna Pasta Salad a new dimension.

But at the core of it, it’s those fresh vegetables that breathe life into the dish. They make it vibrant, dynamic, and ever so delightful. Every time I prepare the salad, the act of dicing and slicing fresh veggies fills me with joy, knowing that they’re the heart and soul of my favourite Tuna Pasta Salad.

Check Out These Other Recipes:

After I whisked together that delectable Tuna Pasta Salad of ours, it got me reminiscing about other Mediterranean delights I’ve had the pleasure to craft. You remember that Tuna Pasta Bake I whipped up last week? Just a cousin to our tuna pasta salad – if you loved today’s dish, you’d certainly adore that one.

Then, one evening, I was feeling particularly adventurous, and guess what I conjured?

A Tuna and Chickpea Curry. Yes, you heard me right! The Mediterranean seas met the spices of the East, and boy, was it a match made in heaven. Similarly, one cannot forget the time I made the Tuna Curry. It’s where the simplicity of our beloved pasta salad meets the complexity of rich and flavourful sauces.

Ah, and the Tuna Quesadilla! Now that’s a playful twist, fusing the Med’s finest with a sprinkle of Mexican flair. A burst of flavours that dance on the tongue and promise an unforgettable dining experience.

Last but definitely not the least, my mouth still waters thinking about that Tuna Melt. Oozing with cheese and boasting the perfect balance between creamy and crunchy, it’s another Mediterranean masterpiece that can’t be missed.

If you’re anything like me and find joy in these culinary experiments, don’t forget to dive into these recipes. And hey, once you try them, drop a comment below and let me know what you think.

Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna Pasta Salad

by Nabeela Kauser
This tuna pasta salad recipe is a quick, nutritious meal that the whole family will love. It's a wonderful pasta salad that can also be prepared ahead of time and is ideal for barbecues or family get-togethers.
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine American, Mediterranean, Western
Servings 5
Calories 381 kcal

Ingredients

  • 300 g Tuna Canned
  • 200 g Pasta Fusilli
  • 100 g Sweetcorn Frozen
  • 100 g Mayonnaise
  • 100 g Yoghurt Greek Style
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1/2 Onion Red
  • 1/4 Cucumber
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1/2 Salt
  • 1/2 Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a gentle boil
  • Add the pasta to the water and cook for 10-12 minutes on a gentle simmer until the pasta is al dente (See Note 1)
  • Drain and rinse with cold water, so your pasta doesn’t stick
  • In a separate bowl add mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt and combine
  • Then add your veggies, salt, black pepper and mustard and mix together (See Note 2)
  • Finally, add the cooked pasta in the salad and combine
  • It can be served immediately or chilled first to allow the flavours to meld slightly.

Video

Notes

Note 1 – Al dente refers to when the pasta is cooked just enough to retain a somewhat firm texture with a bit of a bite
Note 2 – You can substitute any other vegetables you choose for the ones that are used in my recipe. Peas are a popular alternative to sweetcorn.
Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.

Nutrition

Calories: 381kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 19gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 283mgPotassium: 371mgFibre: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 337IUVitamin C: 6mgVitamin D: 1µgCalcium: 54mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Fish, Food, Healthy, Pasta, Recipe, Seafood, Summer, Tuna
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!

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Judy
Judy
1 year ago

5 stars
This looks delicious, but….how to change grams to cup, tsp, tbsp, etc.

Chriseltha Gamases
Chriseltha Gamases
1 year ago

5 stars
Love the recipe….

Welcome!

Hi, I’m Nabeela and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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