Let’s take a trip back to childhood with today’s tuna macaroni salad recipe. Many people have grown up with this particular dish or other types of pasta salad.
It’s clear that creamy sauces and macaroni are a match made in heaven. We are probably all familiar with macaroni and cheese, the iconic comfort food of youth.
This dish has the wholesomeness of mac and cheese, as well as the freshness of pasta salad. So come on, give this recipe a try.
Is Tuna Macaroni Salad Healthy?
Yes, we believe this tuna macaroni salad is healthy.
Each serving of this salad contains 258 calories, perfect for a side dish or a light snack. It can also be a good option if you’re watching your weight.
We accounted for the fact that canned tuna can be high in sodium, and mayonnaise high in calories, and adjusted the amounts accordingly. The dish contains 3.2 grams of saturated fat and 251.6 mg of sodium, both of which are well within the limits of our nutrition guidelines.
Canned tuna has less protein than fresh tuna and more sodium, but its health benefits are still outstanding. It provides valuable omega-3 fatty acids for the body which can help lower the risks of heart diseases and cancer, as well as promote brain and eye health.
Ingredients for the Recipe
1. For the Salad
Macaroni’s hollow tube shape is perfect for thick and creamy sauce because it can hold it inside and out. Furthermore, the size of elbow noodles works well as it is similar to the other bite-sized ingredients in this dish like tuna, peas, and eggs.
- Canned tuna
Tuna stands out with its texture, color, and flavor. We chose the Albacore variety for its firm flesh and richer taste.
Bacon adds another dimension of flavor to this creamy salad. The crispy and salty bacon bits are like little hidden surprises.
Hard-boiled eggs have both a firm yolk and a firm white. Mayonnaise goes great with eggs because it softens the texture and helps to blend everything together.
It’s also easy to hard-boil eggs. All it takes is a pot of water, some eggs and some heat. Before you know it, you’ll have perfectly boiled eggs.
The unique flavors of pickle relish, celery, and red onion stand out from the other ingredients. They add variety and intensity, and you can taste them all in each spoonful. We use pickle relish instead of whole pickles as it’s easier to mix in evenly and you don’t have to chop them up.
Celery, red onion, and pickle relish all have crunchy textures that contrast nicely with the fluffy macaroni, mayonnaise, and eggs. The recipe also features peas, which add a slight starchy texture to the salad and more color.
2. For the Dressing
The dressing is a mixture of mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, pepper, and parsley. The sauce is not only creamy, but also has a slightly acidic and herby taste that makes it less heavy.
Tips for the Best Tuna Macaroni Salad
- How to keep macaroni salad from drying out
This has everything to do with how you cook the pasta. If the pasta is undercooked, the starch will absorb water, making the pasta dry and sticky. If it’s overcooked, it will be soggy.
Be sure to boil the pasta just past al dente. Since pasta gets chewy as it cools down, the texture must be just right, not too hard or too mushy.
- How to keep the pasta from soaking up the mayonnaise
Pasta can also absorb mayonnaise. The solution to this problem is to chill the macaroni before adding the mayonnaise. Also, stirring in the mayonnaise right before serving will mean it doesn’t have a chance to be absorbed by the pasta.
How to Serve Tuna Macaroni Salad
- For breakfast
This dish contains all the necessary nutrients for a balanced meal: protein, carbohydrates, healthy fat, and fiber. It can be a dish in itself, and what better to start the day than with something that reminds you of home?
- As a side
As an accompaniment to a main dish, this tuna macaroni salad goes well with meaty and hearty options like grilled chicken or pulled pork.
How to Store Leftovers
This tuna macaroni salad can last 3-4 days in the fridge. Let the salad cool down to room temperature and transfer it to an airtight container before putting it in the fridge.
We don’t recommend freezing pasta salad because the pasta can become sticky, and the vegetables may turn watery during the thawing process.
How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad
- 6 oz elbow noodles cooked
- 3 oz low-sodium canned light tuna
- 2 large eggs hard-boiled, cut into wedges
- 1 oz pan-fried bacon sliced
- 2 oz celery diced
- 1 oz frozen peas
- 3 oz red onion minced
- 0.25 oz pickle relish
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Carefully mix 6 oz cooked macaroni, 2 oz celery, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 tbsp parsley, 1 oz green peas, 0.25 oz pickle relish, 3 oz red onion, 3 oz tuna, 2 eggs, 1 oz bacon, 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, and 2 tbsp mayonnaise.
- Garnish with parsley, serve and enjoy.