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Salads do not always have to be green and bland. With this tuna pasta salad recipe, you can eat healthy while still having a fresh and exciting, savory taste.

The creaminess of the mayo, the light saltiness of the fish, the crispiness of the vegetables, and the filling pasta mixed together make an easy, healthy side dish or lunch to go.

Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl, mayo dressing on the side.

Here are some tips and info to help make sure that this recipe is among the best tuna pasta salads you have ever made.

Pasta salad is usually served chilled but can be eaten warm as well. You can use many types of pasta, but some of the most popular are the bowtie (or farfalle), the shell, rotini and penne.

Bowtie pasta is easy to get on your fork, due to being thick and wide and it holds its shape well. It seems to go well with the chunkiness of this salad. And as a bonus if you have kids, they tend to love eating farfalle; possibly because its name means ‘butterflies’ in Italian and the shape is cute and fun.

The shell version can get more meat and mayo inside, making a more flavor-filled bite, but it may be a little harder to get it with a fork, with its shape and slipperiness.

Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl, light background.

Can you Freeze Pasta Salad?

Yes, you can freeze pasta salad, but there are a few tips and conditions to freeze the salad correctly:

  • Make sure the pasta isn’t cooked beyond al dente.
  • Once cooked, immediately run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking process.
  • Make sure the pasta, the liquid ingredients, and the vegetables are put into separate freezer bags. However, because the liquid ingredients are creamy in this recipe, they will not thaw as well. Because of this, I recommend not freezing the liquid ingredients for this particular recipe, but you can freeze the pasta and veg.
  • Hold off on freezing the toppings.
Tuna Pasta Salad in 2 bowls, mayo dressing on the side.

What to Serve with Pasta Salad

Because pasta salad is often served as a side dish, it can be paired with many proteins. I’ve seen pasta salads served frequently during the summer, so I recommend summer foods like burgers, grilled chicken, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, etc. It doesn’t need to be limited to summertime dishes, though.

You can also eat this salad on its own as a main dish. It’s great for packing in lunches!

Which pasta salad temperature do you like best: warm or chilled? Let us know in the comments and if you like the recipe, please share!

Tuna Pasta Salad in a bowl with a spoon.

Tuna Pasta Salad

Joss D
This tuna pasta salad is vibrant, healthy and easy to make! Creamy tri-color pasta is combined with chunks of tuna, a variety of colorful vegetables and quail eggs for extra protein.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 462 kcal


For the Pasta:

  • 2 cups dry tri-color spiral pasta - (or your favorite short-cut pasta)
  • 2 cans solid white tuna - drained and broken into chunks
  • ½ cup red onion - diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper - diced
  • ½ cup yellow bell pepper - diced
  • ½ cup celery - diced
  • cup mayo
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper - to taste


  • 12 quail eggs - boiled, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 tbsp. crispy onions


  • Make pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add the rest of the pasta ingredients to the bowl of pasta and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. (Or you can serve it warm, if desired.)
  • Serve with the toppings.


Calories: 462kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 29gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 272mgSodium: 557mgPotassium: 484mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 893IUVitamin C: 60mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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Hungry for more seafood recipes? Check out How to Cook Salmon with Skin On

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