5 from 3 votes

Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad

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This healthy tuna pasta salad is perfect for lunches! It's so filling, creamy, and flavourful that you'll want to eat it daily.
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 17 mins
£1.08
Makes: 5
mains, meal prep
British
pasta, pasta salad, tuna, tuna pasta

Table of Contents

  1. Why you’ll love this recipe
  2. Ingredients
  3. How to make this tuna pasta salad recipe
  4. FAQ
  5. Adaptations
  6. Storage

Why you’ll love this recipe

Tuna pasta salad is the perfect lunch or dinner meal. You don’t have to warm it up before eating, so it’s the perfect portable lunch.

Tuna mayo pasta is one of my favourite recipes since it’s packed full of lean protein, veg and has a healthy dose of carbs. You don’t need to add anything to this salad to turn it into a complete meal. You can take a container with you to work or uni/collage and you’ll have a filling, delicious meal ready to eat.

This tuna pasta salad recipe is perfect for meal prep for one person. Though, you can also double the recipe and have lunches (or dinners) ready for you and your partner for the week.

This tuna pasta mayo dish is budget-friendly and quick to make. You can have the week’s meals ready in about 20 minutes!

Tuna Pasta Salad overhead shot

Ingredients

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is the primary protein source for this tuna mayo pasta recipe. Alternatively, you can use canned chicken or salmon if you prefer the flavour.

Conchiglie Pasta Shells

I love using conchiglie pasta shells for this mayonnaise tuna pasta salad. You can use any pasta noodles to create this recipe, like elbows.

Dill

Fresh dill adds a delightful grassy, citrus flavour to the tuna pasta mayo recipe. Dried dill will also work in a pinch, though fresh dill is best.

Red Onion

Using red onion adds a sharper onion flavour to the creamy tuna pasta salad. It helps balance out the richness of the mayonnaise.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is great for adding brightness to tuna pasta salad. Lime juice will also work, though it will alter the taste slightly.

Courgettes

Adding courgettes is an easy way to sneak extra veg into the dish without changing the flavour. You can also use other veggies, such as cooked frozen peas, to boost the nutrients.

Celery

Celery offers the perfect crunch in this recipe. It helps balance out the texture of the tuna pasta salad.

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are excellent for adding a pop of flavour and colour. Any tomatoes will work, though ensure you slice larger tomatoes down before adding them to the dish.

Green Olives

These olives provide a delicious tang to the recipe. Black olives will also work for a less tangy taste.

Tuna Pasta salad - ingredients shot

How to make this tuna pasta salad recipe

Add the conchiglie to heavily salted boiling water, timer set according to the packet time.

Pasta in boiling water
Meanwhile, combine the drained tuna with the mayonnaise, celery, most of the dill and the lemon juice.

Mayo, tuna and salad ingredients in metal bowl
Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper and mix together.

Tuna and mayo mixed together with salad ingredients
Prepare all the salad ingredients including the red onion, grated courgette, cherry tomatoes and green olives and add to a large bowl.

Prep the grated courgette and tomatoes
Once the pasta is fully cooked (we want to fully cook/even over cook it a little as once it’s cold, it firms up more), rinse the pasta in cold water until cool. Then combine the pasta with the tuna mayo mixture with the salad added. Stir to coat all of the ingredients and add more lemon juice, salt and pepper if necessary.

Tuna salad ready served in bowl

FAQ

Is canned tuna good for you?

Overall, canned tuna is good for you. It’s a great source of protein that comes at an affordable cost. It’s low in calories and fat yet is jam-packed with nutrients. Each serving of tuna has omega-3s and other various vitamins and minerals, like vitamin D and selenium. These nutrients are part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Does it keep for long?

Cold tuna pasta salad can last in the fridge for up to five days, before you will need to toss it. Ensure you store the recipe in an airtight container, as it will help the salad stay good for longer.

When creating this recipe, ensure you make only the amount of servings you’ll eat in a week. You can split the recipe in half, if five servings are too many. 

Tuna mixed with celery in glass bowl

Adaptations

Vegetarian:

For a vegetarian version, swap out the canned tuna for canned chickpeas. Ensure you drain the liquid before including the chickpeas in the tuna pasta salad. You can also switch out the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt to add extra protein.

Vegan:

To make this recipe vegan, use canned chickpeas instead of canned tuna. Then, you can use a vegan mayonnaise, instead of standard mayonnaise, which uses eggs.

Other creamy chicken recipes:

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Peanut Butter Chicken Satay Curry

Creamy Spiced Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Close up of tuna pasta salad

Storage

Can you reheat this recipe?

As you eat tuna pasta cold, there’s no need to reheat the recipe. Reheating the recipe will cause the mayonnaise to separate, creating an unappealing dish. The tomatoes may also become mushy while reheating.

Instead, separate the servings of tuna salad into airtight containers and serve cold.

Can you freeze this recipe?

No, since mayonnaise has a large oil content, it separates easily. If you freeze this recipe, you’ll notice a difference in flavour and texture once it defrosts. There is no solution for fixing the consistency and taste.

However, if you keep the mayonnaise out of your leftover tuna salad, keep the tomatoes and celery in a separate container and you can freeze the tuna pasta in an airtight container. Then, after defrosting, you can add the mayonnaise to create the typical creamy pasta salad consistency and add the salad ingredients.

 

Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad

Print Pin It
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 17 mins
£1.08
mains, meal prep
British
pasta, pasta salad, tuna, tuna pasta
Servings: 5
This healthy tuna pasta salad is perfect for lunches! It's so filling, creamy, and flavourful that you'll want to eat it daily.

Ingredients

  • 435 g (3 cans) tuna (3x£0.55)=(£1.65)
  • 500 g conchiglie pasta shells (£0.80)
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill, roughly chopped (£0.50)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (£0.15)
  • ½ lemon, juiced (£0.30)
  • 2 courgettes, grated (£0.80)
  • 3 celery stalks, finely diced (£0.50)
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes, quartered (£0.50)
  • 80 g green olives, thinly sliced £0.80/4)=(0.20)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 4-6 tbsp mayonnaise £0.95/4=(£0.24)
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  • Add the conchiglie to heavily salted boiling water, timer set according to the packet time.
  • Meanwhile, combine the drained tuna with the mayonnaise, celery, most of the dill and the lemon juice. Season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.
  • Once the pasta is fully cooked (we want to fully cook/even over cook it a little as once it’s cold, it firms up more), rinse the pasta in cold water until cool.
  • Combine the pasta with the tuna mayo mix and add the red onion, grated courgette, cherry tomatoes and green olives into a large bowl. Stir to coat all of the ingredients. Add more lemon juice, salt and pepper if necessary.

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 16g
Calories: 551kcal
Carbohydrates: 73g
Protein: 28g

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