Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad with your favorite pasta, canned tuna and creamy Greek yogurt dressing. It’s seasoned to perfection and loaded with crispy veggies!
Need more healthy pasta salads to take to your next potluck? Try healthy pasta salad, Italian pasta salad, or Mediterranean pasta salad recipe.
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Wondering what to do with the cans of tuna piling up in your cupboard? Instead of making a healthy tuna salad sandwich for the 100th time, go crazy and make this totally simple pasta salad instead!
The ratio of pasta to flaky tuna to crispy crunchy veggies is just right and I can’t help but boast about the flavor. It’s insane!
The Greek yogurt helps to cut down the amount of mayo we use making this a lighter healthier version than the original. You may also love this healthy macaroni salad!
This easy classic dish is perfect for potlucks and BBQs because everyone knows it wouldn’t be a party without it!
It’s also great for portioning out for healthy lunch ideas to take to work throughout the week. It stays fresh for days, so being able to eat a nutritious and delicious light meal anytime is a bonus!
Ingredients You Will Need
Gone are the days when salads were only thought of as lettuce salad. We’ve since learnt that there are plenty of ways to make healthy pasta recipes that don’t necessarily involve sauce and meatballs!
- Whole grain pasta, uncooked: I prefer using whole grain pasta but you can use white, whole wheat, or gluten free pasta if you’d like. Elbow, rotini, bowtie, or penne pasta are great choices for small or medium pasta. You do want pasta to be short to hold the dressing and all other ingredients.
- Peas: Fresh or frozen peas can work. Add a pop of color and a bit of a bite.
- Grape tomatoes: These tomatoes are not overly juicy, but still have plenty of flavors.
- Celery & red onion: Biting into those little crispy bits is the best!
- Dill: Love the tangy herb that cuts right through the creamy yogurt and mayo. It brightens up the whole salad!
- Plain Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt) and mayo: The base of the creamy dressing that takes on the flavor of the vinegar, sugar, and dill. To make it a bit lighter go ahead and use all yogurt, keeping in mind it won’t be as flavorful.
- Red wine vinegar: The other acid that helps give this dish its zest. Can also use fresh lemon juice.
- Sugar, salt, & pepper: Seasoning to boost the flavor. Sugar is the secret!
How to Make This Tuna Pasta Salad
Cook the noodles, chop your veggies, toss everything together, and bam! So simple and so good!
Cook pasta: Cook according to package instructions to al dente. If the instructions don’t specify that, minus 2-3 minutes from the cooking time on the package.
While it’s cooking, slice tomatoes, dice the celery and onion and chop your dill.
Batch cook more than you need and while you’re at it make this healthy pasta dish.
Once the noodles are done cooking, immediately drain the water and transfer everything to a large bowl. Stir in the peas and set that aside for now.
This is where you’ll notice using frozen peas is OK because the pasta will help to thaw them. If using fresh sweet peas, then can add with other ingredients later. Or now.
Open your can of tuna and drain it. Flake it with a fork, meaning gently unpack it so that it’s not all in a clump.
Toss it into the bowl of pasta and peas along with the remainder of the ingredients. Stir well to combine everything making sure it’s all evenly coated.
Healthy tuna pasta salad is best served chilled once the flavors have had a chance to marry, however, if there’s no time for that, by all means, dig in right away!
This is the perfect opportunity to use up whatever veggies you’ve got in your fridge!
- Bell peppers
- Sundried tomatoes
This is a great salad to enjoy the day after or even the day after that. Keep it covered in the fridge for up to 2 days.
If you have some leftover tuna on its own, use it to make this tuna egg salad. Another easy light lunch or dinner idea!
What Makes This Tuna Salad Healthier?
Using whole grain pasta is a great way to get as many nutrients as you can from whole grains rather than processed wheat. The added veggies deliver vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, and the yogurt reduces the calories and increases the amount of protein.
We can’t forget good quality tuna giving us the Omega 3s we need!
How Do You Keep This Salad Moist?
You’ll notice that the noodles absorb the sauce the longer it sits. So, just before serving add some extra mayo or yogurt to the bowl and mix to combine. There you have it, it’s creamy once again!
What Is The Best Pasta Shape to Use?
I love a small or medium pasta that has crevices and grooves that do the job of holding all of that delicious dressing. Elbow, rotini, small penne, bowties, or fusilli pasta are my favorites.
More Healthy Salad Recipes You May Like
You may also love to browse my favorite healthy salad recipes!
Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad
- 8 oz whole grain pasta uncooked
- 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
- 3 x 6 oz cans tuna packed in water
- 2 cups grape tomatoes cut in halves
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1/2 cup red onion diced
- 1/4 cup dill finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Greek or regular yogurt 2%+ fat
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Cook pasta as per package instructions undercooking by 2-3 minutes or until pasta is al dente, cooked but firm. While pasta is cooking, start chopping tomatoes, celery, onion and dill.
- Drain pasta and add to a large bowl along with frozen peas, then stir and set aside. It will thaw them.
- Drain tuna, flake with a fork and add to the salad bowl along with tomatoes, celery, red onion, dill, yogurt, mayo, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir very well until combined.
- If you have time, it’s best to let pasta tuna salad refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors “marry” each other. But you can serve it warm immediately or cold later.
- Pasta choice: I like to use small shapes like elbow macaroni, bowties, or small penne. Rotini is fine too. You can use any white, whole wheat or gluten-free pasta.
- Uniform size pieces: Chop all ingredients into same bite sized pieces.
- Skip mayo: Use all yogurt. You can also use 0% yogurt but pasta salad will have less flavor.
- Store: Refrigerate in a glass airtight container for up to 2 days.
- Make ahead: Add all ingredients to a salad bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Stir before serving and let stand for 30 minutes.
This was a fantastic, high protein lunch that will definitely go in my meal prep rotation. I left out the peas because I just don’t like peas and also omitted the vinegar for my vinegar-hating husband. I also swapped dry dill for fresh because I had that on hand. Also I know the recipe says 10 servings, but I made it into about 5 larger servings and served it as the main course.
Those are all great adjustments, this recipe is forgiving. I’m so happy to read this! Thanks for your positive feedback!
Loved this! So did my family. I used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine and a tiny bit of dried oregano in place of the dill. It still turned out great. Thank you for another awesome recipe Olena!
So glad you enjoyed it!
Loved this as a quick and simple lunch option!
Agreed, glad you enjoyed!