Super Easy, Creamy, Tuna Pasta Salad (Mediterranean – style)
It’s been awhile since we had the chance to go for an excursion, due to Covid-19. We didn’t go to any faraway place. We decided to stay on the island (that would be Evia island) and visit the beautiful and picturesque village of Steni that we love so much. Nothing too fancy, just walking around and having a cup of coffee in our favorite coffee shop.
The weather was the ideal Autumn weather. Foggy and wet! Perfect for a visit to a mountainous village. It was a beautiful and cozy day trip.
On our way back, we thought of making two of our favorite dishes. The one being an apple pie with the apples we harvester from the tree that we have in the garden and the second one being this fast and easy tuna pasta salad that we post here for you (which is quite often on our table), as we had limited time for cooking.
This salad is definitely in this category (“pantry” recipes). It can be made with ingredients that everyone has in the pantry. It’s a fast and easy recipe, and due to the fact that all the ingredients are at your grasp, it’s also a very practical one. You can put it together in under 30 minutes and enjoy a hearty meal. This is why we like it so much and we’re pretty sure it’s going to be on your “favorite recipes” list very soon.
And if… let’s say if… you are out of short pasta then you ‘ve got nothing to worry about. We ‘ve got you covered on that one too! You can make this salad with rice and it works just as well. Long brown rice in that case in totally recommended. Don’t you love those “pantry” recipes? They are so versatile!
The Pasta salad recipe
We first made this salad after a long day at the beach, since we didn’t plan ahead for our lunch. The pantry saved the day and we ended up with a delicious and creamy tuna pasta salad that we made over over again since then.
It’s a versatile salad that can be made with all or part of the ingredients mentioned below and you can substitute some of them, transforming it into a whole new salad.
What do we mean by that? After making it for so long, we have some good suggestions in order to enjoy it as much as we do and not get tired of it.
You can make this salad as suggested here, which we totally recommend, because who can say no to mayo, right?
But… if for some reason you want a healthier result that you can make this a no-mayo tuna pasta salad. How? Simply substitute the mayonnaise with extra virgin olive oil, (more info at the Tips section).
You can also substitute the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar. You can make the sauce spicier by adding chili flakes.
If you like it tangier, then add some pickled jerkins finely chopped and some pickle juice, but in this case check for the salt, you may need less.
This salad is a winner. It’s a foolproof recipe and super easy to make. You can literally enjoy your lunch within 30 minutes. It’s also a perfect recipe for meal planning. You can make this ahead, on let’s say Sunday and take it with you at work on the next day. The flavors will be enhanced and you will enjoy it even more.
You can serve it as a main for lunch or as a light dinner. You can also make it ahead and take it to a party or gathering. People will love you for bringing this. This tuna pasta salad makes for an excellent party food.
So let’s see how to make this delicious and creamy tuna pasta salad.
- 250g / 9oz short pasta (any type available in your pantry)
- 1 can of tuna (140g / 5oz ), preferably in brine, drained
- 1/4 cup fresh dill (15g / 0.5oz), finely chopped*
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives (70g / 2.5oz), pitted and sliced
- Half onion (70-80g / 2.5oz), finely chopped
For the sauce
- 8 tbsp (1/2 cup) mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp yellow mustard
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika, preferably smoked
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4tsp sugar
* you can also use parsley, for a different result
Cook the pasta according to the package’s instructions and rinse to stop the cooking process and wash out the starch (pic.1). In a large bowl, add the pasta, the onion, the Kalamata olives, the dill and the tuna (pic.2). Set aside and start making the sauce.
For the sauce
In a bowl add the mayonnaise and the mustard (pic.3). Add the garlic (pic.4).
Add the salt, the pepper, the smoked paprika and the sugar (pic.5) and then add the lemon juice (pic.6).
Mix everything together until fully combined (pic.7) and pour the sauce into the bowl with the pasta (pic.8)
Gently toss everything together making sure that the sauce is fully incorporated (pic.9).
Enjoy it as a light lunch or as a side to any party or gathering. Kali Oreksi!
1. You can make this salad a day ahead and store it in the fridge. Remove from the fridge about one hour before serving.
2. In this recipe we used rigatoni, but you can use any type of short pasta you have available in your pantry, like penne, fusilli, farfalle or elbow pasta .
3. If you want a healthier version of the sauce, you can substitute the mayonnaise with 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of extra virgin olive oil.
4. You can serve this salad as a main for a light lunch or as a side to any party or family gathering.
5. If you like to spice it up, then you can add 1tbsp of chili flakes to the sauce.
6. You can totally change the main ingredient and substitute the short pasta with any long rice making it a tuna rice salad. If you do, we suggest you try it with brown rice.
7. You can also swap the lemon with apple cider vinegar or any vinegar you prefer.