This healthy tuna pasta salad is one of the best pasta salads out there. There’s no mayo in it so it’s light but at the same time filling and you can make it in just 15 minutes.
It’s almost summer and in our world, this is also known as salad season.
So I think this would be a great time to start showing off my healthy and delicious salads, wouldn’t you say?
And the best one to start with is a healthy tuna pasta salad recipe that you can make in only 15 minutes. Even less if you are a pro foodie like yours truly (I know, I should stop bragging 🙂 )
More healthy salads:
- Shrimp Salad With Lettuce And Roasted Veggies
- Thai Chicken Salad
- Chicken Caesar Salad With Crispy Chickpeas
Now, you might wonder why I chose to add pasta instead of making the classic tuna salad recipe. That would have been even lighter, with fewer calories and waist-friendlier, right?
It would have fitted in most weight-loss diets, especially if we are trying to get in shape for the summer, to show off our rockin’ bodies on the beach.
But you see, the downside with most salads, including the classic tuna salad, is that you get hungry the moment you finish eating them. And this is even more true in the summer when we eat less meat and more veggies.
Hence, I felt the need for a light but at the same time filling salad and the first two ingredients that came to my mind were tuna and pasta.
I mixed these with sweetcorn and a few other veggies and voilà… a delicious and filling summer salad came out.
And yes, pasta does add a few extra carbs but that’s perfectly fine since we’re eating light anyway. Actually, it’s a pretty good meat replacement, especially if you are a vegetarian, because they are so filling.
Also, this healthy tuna pasta salad has no mayo in it (dressing neither) so you don’t have to worry about the fat content.
Tuna is a good meat replacement as well and has tons of benefits, like improving the immune system, reducing blood pressure and helping with weight-loss.
So I guess I can say that I chose the best ingredients for a salad, haven’t I?!
Now that you know why this is one of the best tuna salad recipes (and my favorite) it’s time to reveal my best tips and tricks for making it delicious.
How To Make Tuna Pasta Salad – Best Tips & Tricks
1. Use your favorite pasta.
I made this easy tuna pasta salad with penne, but you can change them with your favorite pasta. And here are some good ideas that you can try:
- farfalle (ribbons)
- gemelli (twins)
- conchiglie (shells)
Also, if you really want to keep it healthy, you should go for whole-wheat, or gluten-free pasta.
2. Change the veggies with your favorites
My healthy tuna pasta salad contains sweetcorn, olives, capers, tomatoes and arugula, and I gotta’ tell you it’s crazy delish.
But I know we all like different tastes and flavors, and the good news is that you can easily add in your favorites.
Instead of arugula, you could go for lettuce, Iceberg or baby spinach. If you don’t like the tuna pasta salad with corn or tomatoes, you could try it with cucumber, bell peppers, shredded carrots, avocado, beetroot, zucchini… you name it.
3. Making this healthy tuna pasta salad for meal prep
You can make it in advance, then cover and refrigerate it, without the dressing, for up to 2 days. Pour the dressing in only before serving.
If you want to do meal prep for more than 2 days, you need to make the dressing ahead and keep it separate in a tight-lidded jar for up to 5 days.
Then, you’ll need to cook the pasta and keep it separate in an air-tight container for up to 5 days as well. After cooking the pasta, remember to mix it with a bit of olive oil to keep it from drying up.
Before serving, chop the veggies, mix everything together and that’s it really. Hard to believe it’s so easy to make a healthy and delicious meal, right?
4. You can even change the dressing
If you want to change the dressing, try a yogurt or mustard-based one, and here are a few good ideas: honey-mustard, greek yogurt or lemon-mustard dressing. Any of them will fit great.
In the end, I’ll summarize what you need to remember in order to make the best tuna pasta salad:
- You can use any kind of dry short-cut pasta like fusilli, farfalle (ribbons), Gemelli (twins), conchiglie (shells).
- Make this easy tuna salad with your favorite veggies like corn, tomato, cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, avocado, beetroot, zucchini, etc.
- You can do meal prep with it, just remember to keep the ingredients separate (dressing, pasta, and veggies) and mix them only before serving.
- If you want you can change the dressing with any yogurt or mustard-based dressing.
Now that you know my best tips and tricks, it’s time to show you how to make tuna pasta salad.
Oh, and after you make it let me know what you think of it, ok?
And another thing I’m curious about, what is your favorite salad recipe?
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Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe
- 2 (6-oz.) cans tuna - drained
- 3 cups cooked pasta - mini penne
- 1/2 red onion - finely sliced
- 1 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes - halved
- 1 cup packed arugula leaves
- 3 Tbsp capers
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 1/3 cup sweetcorn - drained
Ingredients for Italian dressing:
- 1/4 cup olive oil - extra virgin
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 garlic clove - minced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried crushed red pepper or chili flakes
- sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Mix all dressing ingredients in a jar and fit the lid on tightly. Shake until well combined.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water according to the directions on the package.
- Once the pasta is cooked al dente, rinse in cold water, drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
- Add arugula, cherry tomatoes, onion, olives, corn, capers and tuna.
- Just before serving, add in the dressing and toss to coat everything well.