This Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad is a lighter alternative to the classic tuna pasta salad. It's packed with flavor, easy to make, and so delicious! Its light yet filling ingredients make this the perfect dish for lunch or dinner throughout the summer months.
Why This Recipe Works
- No mayo - The dressing is made with olive oil, dijon, and lemon juice instead of the classic creamy tuna salad dressing made with mayonnaise or sour cream. It's lighter, healthier, and it still makes the salad creamy!
- Packed with flavor - The salad is packed with lots of fresh veggies, herbs, salty olives, capers, creamy feta, sundried tomatoes, and garlic. All the flavors go amazingly together with the dijon dressing.
- Easy to make - This pasta salad has a lot of components but the prep is really simple. You can chop the veggies while the pasta is cooking and the rest doesn't take very long either! Drizzle everything with the dressing and you're ready to eat!
- Pasta - You can use any small pasta shape you have on hand - fusilli, macaroni, penne, farfalle, or orzo are all great. Fusilli Bucati is the shape I used in the photos.
- Canned tuna - I use canned tuna in water with no salt added. This way you can control the amount of salt in the salad much better. You can also use tuna in oil if you prefer.
- Vegetables - Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and red onion is what the recipe calls for but you can make it your own. Bell peppers would also be great or maybe even roasted sweet potato or zucchini!
- Fresh herbs - I like a combination of dill, chives, and parsley but you can use any one of them. Oregano would also be great and dried herbs can be used in a pinch.
- Olives - Pitted kalamata olives are perfect for this salad but you can use any olives you have.
- Feta cheese - A block of feta is better than crumbled feta even though you're crumbling it anyway. It has fewer additives and better flavor. I recommend sheep's or goat's milk feta.
- Sundried tomatoes - I recommend sun-dried tomatoes in oil, they're much softer and much more flavorful than the dry variety. If you use the dry version, you have to soak them in hot water first to soften them.
Start by cooking the pasta. While the pasta is cooking, you can chop all your veggies. I usually just chop everything into bite-sized pieces and try to slice the celery quite thin so it's easier to eat but it still has some crunch. I recommend either chopping the onion finely or into half moons. Always slice from the top to the stem not horizontally. This way you'll get the best half-moons.
Chop the sun-dried tomatoes, slice the olives in half, and crumble the feta. Toss all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl along with the cooked pasta.
To make the dressing, whisk together extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, dijon mustard, hot sauce, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss everything together gently to coat. Season with more salt and pepper or hot sauce if desired and enjoy!
Serving and Storing
The salad can be served right away or cool from the fridge. It's especially good cold from the fridge on hot summer days!
Serve as a lunch, dinner, or part of a spread at family get-togethers or potlucks.
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days.
You can mix some Greek yogurt into the dressing and add less of the olive oil. A classic tuna pasta salad is made with mayonnaise but yogurt is a lighter, healthier option.
Because of the tuna, the pasta salad keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for only 1-2 days.
More Tuna and Salmon Recipes
If you have more canned tuna you need to use up, definitely try the tuna sandwiches. The creamy pasta is great with canned salmon but you can also make it with canned tuna. I'm also adding the last two as a bonus because they're some of my favorite recipes with fish on the site. Head over to the Fish and Seafood category to see all the latest fish and seafood recipes.
This Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad is a lighter alternative to the classic tuna pasta salad. It's packed with flavor, easy to make, and so delicious!
- 300g dry pasta
- 2 cans of tuna, drained
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
- ½-¾ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
- 1 English cucumber, diced (or 2 Persian cucumbers)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 200g feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup capers
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1-2 teaspoon hot sauce (or to taste)
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl.
- Add drained canned tuna, sliced red onion, kalamata olives, chopped cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped celery, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, crumbled feta, capers, finely chopped fresh dill, parsley, and chives.
- Toss everything together gently until combined.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, hot sauce, black pepper, and sea salt.
- Pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss. Enjoy right away or store in the fridge until ready to eat.
Storing: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Keywords: healthy pasta salad, tuna pasta salad