Tuna Pasta Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings
Fresh, filling, and endlessly adaptable, this vibrant pasta salad is ideal for packed lunches, picnics, and potlucks and is equally perfect as a simple, family-friendly weeknight meal.


  • 8 ounces farfalle (bowtie) or other short pasta like rotini, fusilli, cavatappi, or gemelli
  • 1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper (or a mix), seeded and diced*
  • 6 ounces (½ pint) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • ½ a large (10 to 12-ounce) cucumber, quartered lengthwise and then sliced (or 2-3 mini cucumbers, sliced into half-moons)
  • ¼ of a small red onion, slivered (or 2-3 scallions, sliced)
  • 1 (5- to 7-ounce) can tuna, drained and chunked
  • ~ ½ cup Italian Vinaigrette, Balsamic Vinaigrette, or Greek Vinaigrette (homemade or your favorite store-bought)
  • Optional add-ins: ½ cup halved kalamata or green olives; ½ cup crumbled feta; 1 cup chickpeas; 1 avocado, diced; ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or fresh herbs of choice to taste
  • For serving: Croutons (Homemade Parmesan Croutons or store-bought) and butter lettuce or salad greens of choice


  1. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.

    Add the bell pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, tuna, and any optional add-ins. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat, starting with about ⅓ cup and adding more to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you have time, refrigerate the pasta salad for 30 minutes to an hour before serving to let the pasta marinate in the dressing.

    Serve over fresh greens (you may toss them with additional vinaigrette if desired), and sprinkle with croutons. Enjoy!

Notes & Tips

For those who like specific measurements, I use a lightly rounded cup each of chopped bell pepper, halved cherry or grape tomatoes, and sliced cucumber, and about ¼ cup of slivered red onion.

What kind of tuna? Albacore tuna has a mild flavor and firm texture that holds up well in a salad. I usually buy skipjack tuna, however, because it has lower mercury and higher selenium levels than other types of tuna. Alternatively, canned salmon or even sardines may be used.

*Pro tip: We like to use half a yellow bell pepper and half an orange one. The tomatoes supply the red, and the combination creates an extra pretty, garden-like appeal.

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