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Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad

This ain’t your grandma’s tuna mac salad! For us, the perfect macaroni salad has a flavorful dressing that doesn’t just drown everything in mayo. This salad has layers of different textures with crunch, bite, and pops so that every bite ends up a little bit different. There’s no boring mushy mayo mess here!

Interested in more pasta salads to take to a summer potluck? Try our Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad or Pesto Pasta Salad.

Why Our Recipe

  • Light on the mayo so you can actually taste the other flavors with a dressing that will have you wanting to lick the plate.
  • Tuna recommendations so you can go for a milder tuna vibe, or go full-force tuna-forward.

Canned Tuna Choices

Let’s talk about your options for canned tuna first thing. There are four common options that you are going to see in your grocery store. Knowing what you are looking at will help you choose the right flavor for your personal vibe.

  • Solid white tuna: firm and flaky texture, mild and sweet flavor. Great choice for salads and sandwiches.
  • Solid light tuna: lighter more delicate flavor than solid white. If you want a more subtle tuna flavor, this is your go-to.
  • Chunk light tuna: is chunkier and has a more varied texture than solid light and a slightly stronger flavor. If you want large chunks of tuna in something, including in this tuna salad, to make it more tuna-forward, this is it.
  • Albacore tuna: actually comes from a different species of tuna than the other three. Albacore tuna is made from a different species of tuna than skipjack tuna. It has a firmer, meatier texture and a strong tuna flavor.

Ingredient Notes

  • Macaroni: you can also use shells, bowtie, penne, or rotini.
  • Tuna: use one of the options for canned tuna, or you can always substitute with canned chicken.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: Green rings on your yolks mean you’ve overcooked them. A 6, 8, or 10 minute egg are all great choices.
  • Veggies: feel free to mix and match with your favorites, or leave out ones you don’t like. We prefer the balance of crunch from the celery, the bite from the onion, and the pop of the peas.
  • Dill: goes hand in hand with tuna. Fresh dill is preferred, but you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of dried dill.
  • Sweet Pickle Relish: we know people have feelings. We already have dill so we like the sweetness this adds, but you can always use dill pickle relish. Either way, the pickle flavor is a must in our book.
  • Mayonnaise: Can be replaced with Greek yogurt for a lower-calorie dressing.

Chef’s Tip

Make sure you cook your pasta to al dente followed by a rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Al dente means the pasta should be tender but still firm when you bite it, the perfect consistency for a pasta salad! Overcooking the pasta will make it too soft and mushy, as it will continue to absorb the dressing as it sits.

Storage Instructions: 

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

More delicious pasta salads…

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Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show.

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Tuna Macaroni Salad
Tuna Macaroni Salad

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