I love dinners that I can throw together quickly on busy nights. And this Tuna Pasta Salad fits the bill. It’s so easy to make and stores great in the fridge. You can even make it for dinner and pull it out for lunch the next day. Two meals for one meal’s amount of work? A total win.
And while pasta salad can obviously be super carb-heavy, this one isn’t. Add some tuna and a good amount of veggies, and look what happens! A balanced, macro-friendly Tuna Pasta Salad. Still carbs, but BALANCED.
What You’ll Need for this Tuna Pasta Salad:
Ingredients for the Salad:
- cooked pasta (250g)*
- albacore tuna, (420g drained weight)
- cucumbers, diced (90g)
- jarred roasted red peppers, chopped (60g)
- jarred pepperoncini, chopped (60g)
- red bell peppers, diced (75g)
- red onion, diced (75g)
- basil, chopped (20g)
- fresh dill or parsley, chopped (5g)
- arugula, roughly chopped (70g)
- crumbled feta, or cubed or grated cheddar, gruyere, or jack (56g)
Ingredients for the Dressing:
- light balsamic vinegar* (45g)
- lite mayo (45g)
- lemon, squeezed (30g)
- olive oil (7g)
- garlic cubes (or minced cloves)
- honey mustard (8g)
- kosher salt
For the dressing, feel free to use any light balsamic or champagne vinegar. My favorite is a fruit-infused white balsamic like this one by Baker and Olive for that sweet kick! You’ll find it in my flagship shop for 15% off, no code needed. You can also mix things up and do half of a normal vinegar and half of the fruit-infused for balance if you want.
I LOVE these sweet Baker and Olive vinegars and use them all the time. They make every salad so much better! They’re already in beautiful bottles… but I love to pour them into these cute matching bottles. Or if that’s not your thing, just grab these spouts and stick them right in the original bottle.
Swapping in Chicken:
If you’re not a tuna fan, then you can swap it out for chicken of course. You can use 420 grams of chicken in place of the tuna, and it will be a little higher in calories. And depending on if you use grilled or rotisserie chicken, the nutrition will vary a little. Not a big deal.
For grilled chicken, it’s 402 calories, 11 fat, 33 carbs, 36 protein, and 2.2 fiber for each 325 g serving. If you use rotisserie chicken, it’s 388 calories, 12 fat, 32 carbs, 34 protein, and 2.2 fiber for the same portion size.
If you’re wondering why the two chicken options vary, grilled chicken has more water cooked out of it, making it a little more calorie-dense for the same weight. Rotisserie has a little more fat because of how it’s prepared.
How to Make This Macro-Friendly Tuna Pasta Salad:
Begin by cooking 125 g of pasta, if you want just enough for this recipe. (I’m always going to cook a whole package and use the rest for simple dinners for my boys or toss in green salads.) That 125 grams will grow into 250 grams of pasta when you’re all done cooking. To strain the pasta, I love using this clip-on strainer–so handy!
Then, to a large bowl, add the cooked pasta along with the rest of the salad ingredients. Make sure to break up the tuna a bit so you don’t have any huge chunks.
For the dressing, whisk together the ingredients. Then, pour it over the salad and toss well.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste. If it’s drier than you like, add a little juice from the pepperoncini jar or additional vinegar. Enjoy immediately. Or store it in the fridge for your meal prep!
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Is this Tuna Pasta Salad GF/DF?
To make this gluten and dairy-free, make sure to use gluten-free pasta and dairy-free cheese. We love the dairy-free feta by Follow Your Heart.
Tuna Pasta Salad
This quick and easy Tuna Pasta Salad is sure to be a hit. It works great as a side dish or as the main course and is so yummy. To save time, prep it ahead and just pull it out of the fridge when you’re ready–no extra steps necessary. Enjoy!
All of my cookbooks are filled with macro-friendly recipes that have been calculated and loaded into My Fitness Pal, Macros First, and Lose It for you. Each book is filled with delicious recipes that your whole family will love while making hitting your goals easier. You can get your copy here!
Tuna Pasta Salad
For the Salad:
- 1 ½ cups cooked pasta 250g*
- 4 cans 5 oz each albacore tuna, (420g drained weight)
- ⅔ cup cucumbers diced (90g)
- ½ cup jarred roasted red peppers chopped (60g)
- ½ cup jarred pepperoncinis chopped (60g)
- ½ cup red bell peppers diced (75g)
- ¼ cup red onion diced (75g)
- ½ cup basil chopped (20g)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh dill or parsley chopped (5g)
- 3 cups arugula roughly chopped (70g)
- 2 oz crumbled feta or cubed or grated cheddar, gruyere, or jack (56g)
For the Dressing:
- 3 Tbsp. light balsamic vinegar* 45g
- 3 Tbsp. lite mayo 45g
- 1 lemon squeezed (30g)
- ½ Tbsp. olive oil 7g
- 1 frozen garlic cube or minced clove
- 2 tsp. honey mustard 8g
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- Cook 125 g of pasta if you want just enough for this recipe. It will grow into 250 grams of cooked pasta.
- To a large bowl, add cooked pasta along with the rest of the salad ingredients. Break up the tuna a bit so you don’t have any huge chunks.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss well. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. If it’s drier than you like, add a little juice from the pepperoncini jar or additional vinegar.
- Enjoy immediately. Or store in the fridge for your meal prep!
- Grilled chicken: 402 calories, 11 fat, 33 carbs, 36 protein, 2.2 fiber.
- Rotisserie chicken breast: 388 calories, 12 fat, 32 carbs, 34 protein, 2.2 fiber.