This Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe has everything that you love about classic tuna salad – pickles, onions, celery, dill – but we ditch the bread and add noodles instead! It’s cool, creamy, and LOADED with fresh flavors. The classic mayo-laden dressing of traditional tuna macaroni salads gets a glow-up with olive oil and pickle juice to create a lighter but still classically flavored dressing!
- 16 oz. rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions until al dente
- 11 oz. (family size) packet of tuna
- 1 cup sliced pickles, about 1/4” thick
- 1 cup sliced celery, about 1/4” thick
- 1/2 cup sliced red onion, about 1/8” thick
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 6 tablespoons dill pickle juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill + more for garnish
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly and set aside to cool.
- In a small measuring cup combine mayo, pickle juice, olive oil, dill, garlic powder, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper.
- Add pasta, tuna, pickles, celery, and red onion to a large bowl.
- Drizzle pasta salad with dressing and toss to coat.
- Garnish with fresh dill and enjoy!
This is your first chance to season your pasta and it’s a very important step! If you are not salting your pasta water – please start now! Add about 2-4 tablespoons of Kosher salt after the water comes to a boil and before you add the uncooked pasta. You will be AMAZED at how much more flavorful the pasta and the entire dish is!
Toss pasta in olive oil, salt, and pepper. After straining the al dente pasta, give it a quick toss in olive oil with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. This ensures that the noodles won’t stick together and it will help the dressing find it’s way into every nook and cranny of the noodles.
If you’re planning to make this pasta salad ahead of time, just add half the dressing initially. Then add the rest just before serving. The noodles will continue to soak up the dressing as it sits. So if you’re planning to enjoy this salad a day or two later, add half the dressing right away and then add the remaining dressing right before serving so the flavors are fresh and the texture is smooth and creamy!
If you end up with leftovers, this tuna macaroni salad will stay fresh in the fridge in an airtight container for about 3-4 days. The dressing will thicken as it sits so feel free to add a splash of milk to loosen it up before serving. And be sure to season to taste with salt and pepper as well!
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cold tuna pasta salad, macaroni and tuna salad, macaroni tuna salad, tuna noodle salad recipe