This chilled tuna pasta salad with pasta, celery, red onions, peas, mayo, fresh dill and lemon juice is a classic, family favorite side dish. Bring it to your next cookout or potluck, or enjoy it as quick and tasty lunch.
Today we’re making the classic chilled tuna pasta salad with tons of vibrant, fresh flavors and textures. Skip the store-bought pasta salad and make your own with simple pantry ingredients like rotini, shell or macaroni pasta, canned tuna, fresh celery, red onions and dill, peas, mayonnaise and a splash of lemon juice.
There are plenty of ways to customize it and add even more flavor or bite with some mustard, sweet pickle relish, or plain relish. For more salad ideas, try my version of the best creamy potato salad, the bold-tasting bacon ranch pasta salad, and the vibrant Italian pasta salad and bring them to your next BBQ, potluck, picnic, or party. Let’s start cooking.
Ingredients in Tuna Pasta Salad
TUNA PASTA SALAD RECIPE TIPS
Pasta – I used rotini pasta but you can also use shells or macaroni. My pasta came in 16 oz. box but a 12 oz. box of pasta will also work. It all depends on how your favorite or preferred brand packages their pasta.
Celery – If you don’t have fresh celery, substitute it with a dash or two of celery seed.
Peas – I warmed up the frozen peas in the microwave but you can also toss them in with the pasta water towards the last minute of cooking then drain them out. If you don’t have frozen peas, try substituting them with a 15oz. can of drained sweet peas.
Mayonnaise – Try using half mayo and half Greek yogurt for a healthier option.
Sugar – I added a little bit of sugar to balance out the taste. You can skip this if you prefer a more tangy pasta salad.
Herbs – I used dill but other herbs work just as well, like parsley or thyme.
Storing – The pasta salad should keep well for 3-5 days in the fridge. It might lose some creaminess sitting in the fridge over time, so add a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise and mix it up before serving.
- Add some bite – Add some bite with some mustard. One tablespoon or so should be enough.
- Add more flavor – Add more flavor with some sweet pickle relish or regular relish.
And that’s about it. Enjoy your pasta salad and let me know how you liked it and what you paired it with in the comments below. Enjoy!
This post was originally published on August 23, 2013 and updated on May 21, 2021.