Summer vibes fit perfectly with this tuna mac salad recipe. This macaroni salad with tuna is usually eaten cold when the weather becomes warmer, especially with summer barbecues. But it is also a classic recipe that is so flexible that you can enjoy eating it at any time of the year.
Personally, I like to prepare this easy tuna macaroni salad when in the mood for a quick but a full meal with fresh flavors. Although it is basically a perfect side dish, it is one of the easy recipes and serves as a light meal by itself and is better enjoyed the next day. This is because this tuna recipe is loaded with ingredients- as tuna, pasta, and some fresh vegetables and herbs- that fill an empty stomach.
A Festival of Delish Flavors
The Flexible Tuna Macaroni Salad
The macaroni salad with tuna is so flexible that you can link it with a wide number of dishes. Its delicious flavor makes it work well with your favorite barbecue recipes and grilled meat. You can have this sort of pasta salad with burgers or hot dogs as well as potato chips.
Also, its flexibility has to do with the simple ingredients. If you do this macaroni tuna salad for the first time and realize that one ingredient is unavailable in your kitchen, you don’t have to rush to the market to buy it. You can replace it with an alternative instead. You may check out the FAQs section below to know what these alternatives are.
Spaghetti Is My Best Friend
Pro Tips for the Best Pasta Salad
You can have the creamy tuna macaroni salad with tuna either warm right away at room temperature or chilled later. If you choose the second option, you can prepare it beforehand, cover it with a plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container, and refrigerate it up to a maximum of 5 days.
But you have to test the creaminess of the whole-wheat pasta salad. Pastas are known to absorb dressings quickly. So if you notice that the chilled salad has become less creamy, just wait until it warms out and add your desired amount of mayo dressing and mix well.
Pastas need a shock to be cooked perfectly. This occurs when you rinse the boiled pasta with cold water. The shocking cold water prevents the pasta from further cooking. Then, make sure that you rinse the pasta with cold water and drain it well before adding it to the other ingredients.
Because this is a cold tuna macaroni salad, you can have this simple salad as a take-away lunchbox snack or a quick lunch for school or work.
You can drizzle some olive oil, lemon juice, chopped bell peppers, sprinkle of paprika, some sweet peas, green peas, green onions, or kosher salt. These latter ingredients are optional additives but make it all into a perfect tuna salad sauce.
Don’t forget to check out the recipe card for similar, easy and delicious recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, sure! You can replace mayonnaise with Greek yoghurt, light mayonnaise, or sour cream for a healthier version of this recipe.
Of course not! You can choose any pasta type into the tuna mixture. Just make sure that you pick small pasta since it can be easily scooped with the creamy dressing trapped within.
While you can do it, I do not recommend it. This kind of tuna adds extra, unnecessary calories and makes the salad oily and greasy.
You can add kind of pickles. Any type really enhances the flavor of this healthy tuna macaroni salad.
Savor the Flavor
What You Need
What adds to the simplicity of this tuna macaroni salad recipe is its ingredients. Aside from being flexible and replaceable, the ingredients are available within the walls of almost every kitchen. So what do you need exactly?
Pasta: I usually use shell pasta. You can choose your preferred type as elbow macaroni pasta. Just make sure it’s small-sized.
Mayo: Creamy mayonnaise makes it all soft and smooth.
Mustard: It adds tanginess to the salad, and the best is, by all means, Dijon mustard.
Cheddar Cheese: It has to be diced or cubed. Shredded cheddar cheese works well, too.
Tuna: To make it all healthy, pick water-soaked chunk light tuna, but you have to drain it. My favorite type is solid white albacore tuna.
Sweet Pickles: They serve as elements of sourness in the mixture of flavors, and they have to be sliced.
Red Onions: These need to be finely diced.
Seasonings: You need drizzles of some salt and red pepper or otherwise black pepper.
How to Make This Tender Pasta with Tuna?
Here, I offer you an easy way of making this tuna pasta salad recipe. By following these steps precisely, you will end up having one of the favorite recipes, some favorite sides, namely the best tuna macaroni salad.
First of all, cook the shell pasta al dente based on package directions in a large pot, and then drain the pasta out of the pot of water. After that, drain the tuna, and place it in a small bowl.
Then, in a large bowl, add the mayo, Dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, diced sweet pickles, drained tuna, finely diced red onions, salt and black pepper. Mix them all well.
Add the drained pasta and mix gently until you get a creamy pasta salad. Add a little mayo if you want to have more of a sweet relish. At last, refrigerate for at least two hours before enjoying.
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The Best Macaroni Salad with Tuna
- 7 ounces shell pasta one package
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup cheddar cheese cubed (diced small) or shredded cheese
- 2 cans tuna in water drained
- ¾ cup sliced sweet pickles
- ¼ cup red onions finely diced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Cook the shell pasta based according to the package directions.
- Drain the pasta.
- In a medium bowl add the mayo, Dijon mustard, cheddar cheese, diced sweet pickles, drained tuna, finely diced red onions, salt, and black pepper.
- Mix them well.
- Add the drained pasta and mix them gently.
- Refrigerate for at least two hours before enjoying.