Tuna Pasta Salad
Tuna pasta salad is packed with veggies and fresh flavors. This tuna noodle salad calls for no mayo, which makes it a great, low calorie dish perfect for sharing.
This tuna pasta salad recipe takes the classic picnic side dish and lightens it up by adding lots of fresh vegetables and removing the mayonnaise.
Our avocado tuna salad is a great lunch or dinner option for one or two people but our tuna noodle salad is perfect for feeding a crowd. Make it ahead of time and take it to your next summer BBQ or potluck.
Tuna is a great source of lean protein and other nutrients that will help fill you up. You might not associate it with healthy foods though because you typically mix it with a boat-load of mayo when you make tuna salad.
And though this is a delicious option, we don’t use any mayo in this recipe.
Instead, we make it flavorful and fresh tasting with fresh veggies, red wine vinegar, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.
If you’re looking for other light and fresh salads make sure to try our panzanella salad (Italian bread salad), quick and easy cucumber salad, and vegan pasta salad.
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Ingredients You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make this low calorie meal.
- Dry fusilli pasta – You could use a similar, small pasta instead.
- Tuna packed – Look for varieties of tuna packed in water instead of oil or other liquids.
- Veggies – You’ll need tomatoes (regular or grape), cucumbers, red onion and fresh parsley.
For the dressing, you’ll need these pantry staples:
- Olive oil – You could use another light tasting oil, but regular olive oil works best.
- Red wine vinegar – in a pinch you can substitute white wine vinegar.
- Lemon juice – You can use freshly squeezed or bottled, but freshly squeezed tastes better.
- Seasonings – Nothing too extravagant, just plain old salt and pepper.
This cold tuna pasta salad is super easy to put together. Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1 – Prepare the pasta. Follow the instructions on the package to make the pasta but cook it for 1 minute less than instructions call for. Once cooked, drain immediately and let cool completely.
Step 2 – Make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
Step 3 – Toss, mix, and serve. Once the pasta has cooled, place it in a large bowl toss in the tuna, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and fresh parsley. Finally, pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well-coated.
Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
How to Make it Ahead of Time
You can easily make this pasta salad ahead of time. To do so, follow the same instructions of allowing the cooked pasta to cool completely before tossing the pasta with the tuna, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and parsley.
The main difference when making ahead is to pour only half of the dressing over the pasta salad and toss. You’ll want to save the other half of the dressing and store in the refrigerator.
You should then place the pasta salad in a tightly sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve. Right before serving, toss in the remaining dressing.
How Long Does Tuna Pasta Salad Last in the Fridge?
Tuna salad can last about 3 to 5 days in the fridge. You want to make sure you place it in an airtight container.
This is a great make ahead meal to bring to a get together or pot luck. Or it can provide a filling lunch all week.
Looking for More Easy Pasta Salads?
- Steak Fajita Pasta Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Greek Spaghetti Salad
- Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad
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Tuna Pasta Salad
- 8 ounces Fusilli Chickpea pasta, see note #1 below
- 8 ounces Tuna packed in water, well drained
- 8 ounces Tomatoes, diced
- 8 ounces Cucumber, diced
- 2 ounces Red onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley, finely minced
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- ¼ cup Red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Pepper
- Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Cook for 1 minute less than instructions ask for. Once cooked drain immediately and let cool.
- In a small bowl whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Once pasta has cooled place it in a large bowl and add the tuna, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and fresh parsley. Toss together.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until everything is well coated.
- Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- We used three pastas: Fsilli Chickpea Pasta, Fusilli Green Lentil Pasta, and Penne Red Lentil Pasta to make up our 8 ounces of pasta.