Tuna Pasta Salad

Tuna pasta salad is one of my favorite summer salads. It’s perfect for an easy lunch, light dinner, or a contribution to a potluck.

I became acquainted with this salad through my mother-in-law. She was happy to give me the recipe, but since she had made it so many times she didn’t measure the ingredients. Add a splash of vinegar, a spoon of sugar, a scoop of mayonnaise, and voila, pasta salad! I have since devised measurements, but it is a forgiving recipe. It was one of her favorites and has also been one of mine.


Pasta: Small elbow macaroni, shells, or ring pasta are all good choices for this salad.

Frozen Peas: We always keep a bag of peas in the freezer. Frozen peas are healthy and so convenient.

Celery & Onion: Add texture and crunch to the salad.

Cheddar Cheese: Cheese adds richness and great flavor. Cheese makes just about anything better. 🙂

White Vinegar: Adds a tangy element.

Sugar: Sugar combines with the vinegar to make the dressing sweet and tangy.

Canned Tuna: Canned tuna is a great option for quick, easy meals like this tuna melt.

Light Mayonnaise & Salad Dressing: I have made this salad with both options. Either is delicious.

Greek Yogurt: You could use all mayo or salad dressing instead of the Greek yogurt. But this is an easy way to cut calories and boost the salad’s protein.


Start by boiling the water for the pasta.

While you prep the pasta you can start chopping the celery, onions, and cheddar cheese. Add the vinegar, sugar, tuna, mayo, and Greek yogurt to a bowl with a lid. Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Fold in the celery, onions, and cheddar cheese.

Add the pasta to the boiling water. Add the frozen peas when the pasta is about two minutes from being done. This is just an easy way to defrost the peas.

Stir the pasta and peas into the salad. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours to let the flavors meld.


Tuna Pasta Salad

One of my favorite summer salads
Prep Time 20 minutes
Refrigerate 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 8 ounces tuna ( 5 ounce) well drained
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 rib of celery chopped
  • ¼ cup onion chopped
  • cup cheddar cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 can tuna ( 5 ounce) -well drained
  • ½ cup light mayo or salad dressing
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt


  • Prepare pasta as directed on the box, typically about 10 minutes. Add frozen peas with about 2 minutes left in the pasta preparation. Drain and rinse with cold water. Allow the pasta to sit in the colander will you prep the remaining ingredients
  • Add chopped celery, onion, and cheddar cheese to a large bowl with a lid. Add white vinegar, sugar, and tuna. Add light mayo and Greek yogurt and stir to combine. Add the cooled pasta and peas and stir until well combined.
  • Cover salad and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
Keyword Comfort, Creamy, Easy, Starch

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