This is a yummy and Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe! This classic American lunch or potluck recipe is easy to prepare and store until you’re ready to serve. Gluten-free and dairy-free options included.

a bowl of pasta salad with tuna

This tuna pasta salad comes together in a flash and tastes even better on day two! If you need a quick, easy meal then look no further.

Tuna and Greek yogurt add protein while the pasta fills you up. Crunchy vegetables like celery and onion help add texture and nutrition.

It’s easy to customize and tastes delicious! Make this creamy tuna pasta salad recipe gluten-free and dairy-free with a few simple ingredient swaps.

Your kids will gobble this pasta salad up! It’s versatile and can be served as a side dish, light lunch, or dinner. You could also serve this tuna macaroni salad at a picnic or barbecue. Make it a day ahead and pop it into a cooler before you head out.

Why You Need This Recipe

  • Canned tuna is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also rich in nutrients like iodine, zinc, and selenium.
  • Delicious and kid-friendly, this recipe comes together in only 35 minutes. It’s a great easy lunch.
  • Tuna pasta salad makes amazing leftovers.

Key Ingredients

elbow macaroni, celery, red onion, tuna,  yogurt, mayonnaise, and dill.

Elbow macaroni – For that classic look and taste, use elbow macaroni pasta. You can use any type of pasta you want though. Smaller-shaped pastas will get more sauce coverage. Swap out regular pasta for gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free.

Albacore tuna – Albacore tuna has a tender and flaky texture perfect for salads. Tuna packed in water will have less calories and fat.

Celery – For a nice crunch!

Red onion – Red onion has a strong flavor and good crunch. If you don’t like it, omit it.

Mayonnaise – Mayonnaise is the base for the creamy dressing. You can use any variety you choose. Full-fat or low-fat both work great.

Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt adds extra protein and tang.

Lemon – Fresh squeezed lemon juice makes the flavors pop!

Seasoning – Don’t forget to season your pasta salad. Salt, pepper, and fresh dill weed are all you need.

Recipe Steps

how to make tuna pasta salad.

Step One

Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stovetop. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta cooks, scoop the tuna into a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to break it up into small pieces.

As always, please do see the recipe card at the end of this post for the exact ingredients and measurements.

Step Two

Add the celery, onion, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper to the bowl, and stir to combine.

Step Three

Once the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and rinse it with cold water. Pour the drained pasta into the large bowl with the tuna mixture. Toss gently to combine.

Step Four

Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later.

a bowl of pasta salad with tuna.

Recipe Tips & Substitutions

  • Try to find sustainably-harvested canned tuna. I like the Wild Planet brand.
  • See my list of the best gluten-free pasta brands. For this recipe, I recommend the Tinkyada brand.
  • If you want to make this recipe even lighter, you can decrease the mayonnaise to ¼ cup and increase the Greek yogurt to ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons.
  • Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • If you take this salad to a potluck, be sure to keep it refrigerated until it’s time to serve. The salad should not sit out for more than 4 hours to prevent foodborne illness.
  • Hard boiled eggs, chopped bell peppers, or cherry tomatoes make delicious additions.
  • Want a low-carb tuna salad option? Try this Tuna Cucumber Salad.

Recipe FAQs

Is tuna pasta salad good for you?

Homemade tuna pasta salad is healthier for you than store-bought. Store-bought can have unwanted additives, sugar, and artificial flavorings. This salad is also packed with protein from the tuna. You can substitute whole wheat pasta for added nutrients and complex carbs. Also, many pasta salad recipes use sour cream, but yogurt is a healthier swap.

Can you eat cold tuna pasta?

Yes! Tuna pasta salad tastes delicious cold. It’s one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day.

big bowl of tuna pasta salad.

I hope you make this recipe! If you do, please leave a comment and a starred review below.

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a bowl of tuna pasta salad

Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad

This is a yummy and Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad recipe! This classic American lunch or potluck recipe is easy to prepare and store until you’re ready to serve. Gluten-free and dairy-free options included.

  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 12ounce box or bag of elbow macaroni pasta (use gluten-free pasta to make this recipe gluten-free; I like the Tinkyada brand)
  • 2 5ounce cans of albacore solid white tuna
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (use coconut yogurt for dairy-free diets)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 tablespoon of fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, open the cans of tuna into a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna into bite-sized pieces or into flakes.
  3. Add the celery, onion, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper to the bowl, and stir to combine.
  4. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it in a colander. Pour the drained pasta into the bowl with the tuna and the other ingredients and toss gently to combine.
  5. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  1. Try to find sustainably-harvested canned tuna. I like the Wild Planet brand.
  2. You can use whole wheat pasta if you like.
  3. If you want to make this recipe even lighter, you can decrease the mayonnaise to ¼ cup and increase the Greek yogurt to ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons.
  4. Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  5. If you take this salad to a potluck, be sure to keep it refrigerated until it’s time to serve. The salad should not sit out for more than 4 hours to prevent foodborne illness.

Keywords: tuna salad, tuna pasta salad, pasta salad with tuna, tuna noodle salad, tuna macaroni salad

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