There is nothing better than a BBQ paired with a delicious, refreshing pasta salad on the side. When I think pasta salad, I think a few things. I think cool and creamy with fresh veggies. I think of delicious cocktails and the smell of burgers on the grill. This Tuna Pasta Salad has always been one of my favorites and I always get little butterflies in my stomach when the time of year rolls around where BBQ's are thriving and the pasta salad is always there for me.
Growing up, my Mom made this tuna pasta salad all the time! Over the years we have switched out ingredients, changed the increments of ingredients and I think at this point we have it down. This recipe definitely reminds me of my childhood 100%. Whenever we had a BBQ, this pasta salad was there. When Nate and I started dating, he became obsessed with this recipe. Now as soon as the temperature hits 75 and we're ready to break out the grill, this is immediately the first thing he asks for.
I mean I get it, I am equally obsessed and it is the side dish I always find myself going back for seconds...and maybe thirds.
Pasta salads should be refreshing, especially in the summer during the long hot days! This tuna pasta salad is the perfect dish to take along with you to a party, serve at a BBQ or enjoy for a yummy lunch during the week!
Ingredients to make Tuna Pasta Salad:
- Orecchiette Pasta or Medium Shell Pasta
- Dried Parsley
- Garlic Powder
- salt and pepper
The Steps to make Tuna Pasta Salad:
- I always start this recipe by boiling water and cooking the pasta. Once the pasta is in, you can start working on everything else while they cook! I always add a little bit of salt to the water for a little extra flavoring. If you do this, make sure you watch the pasta to make sure it doesn't boil over, salt can cause the water to rise as it boils.
- Chop up the onions and the celery and add it to the mixing bowl along with the mayonnaise, garlic powder, parsley and salt and pepper.
- Strain the pasta once it is done. Add the pasta into the mixing bowl. Use either a large spoon or a rubber spatula to mix. Stick it in the fridge and let it chill a few hours before serving. You want to serve it cold!
- You might need to add in some extra mayo before serving. The pasta will soak some of it up while the salad is chilling. You can usually tell if it looks too dry and needs a little extra!
Can I use any pasta?
Yes, I have used orecchiette as well as medium sized shells successfully. The reason they work the best is because the mayo, onion, celery and spices get caught in the pasta and you get a delicious bite of everything at once. I have used penne before but did not like it as much because it does not catch the other ingredients as well.
What if I don't like tuna?
A great alternative would be chicken! Chicken is delicious in this recipe! I remember a few times growing up we had some canned chicken and my Mom made this recipe with chicken rather than tuna. Just as delicious! I just personally like tuna more in just about every situation so I usually gravitate towards tuna.
What are some other tuna recipes I could try similar to this tuna pasta salad?
My Herby Tuna and Spinach Melt is a delicious tuna recipe to try!
This recipe is delicious when paired with:
- Chipotle Lime Chicken Burgers
- Blue Cheese Burgers
- BBQ Grilled Chicken
- Seared Tuna with an Asian Marinade
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Tuna Pasta Salad
- Mixing Bowl
- Bring water to a boil and add in pasta. Add a little bit of salt to the water. Mix every once in a while to make sure pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Make sure you watch the pan so the water doesn't boil over, salt will cause the water to bubble more.
- Chop onions and celery and add it to the mixing bowl.
- Add in mayonnaise, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper.
- When pasta is done boiling, strain the pasta and add the pasta to the bowl.
- Mix well using a large spoon or rubber spatula.
- Cover and place in the fridge. Let the pasta salad cool for about 2 hours before serving.
- Before serving, add more mayonnaise if necessary. The pasta will soak up some of the mayonnaise and you might need to add more. Usually you can see if the salad looks too dry.
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