Small Salads: Tuna & Pasta Salad

Hot summer days will soon be here, it is nice to have several entrée “salad” recipes on hand which are easy to prepare and avoid heating up the entire kitchen. “Tuna & Pasta Salad” is one of these dishes. This pasta salad is a twist on the old-time classic, “Tuna Noodle Casserole.” To make the salad, I added canned tuna fish, hard boiled egg, several vegetables and a “lite” dressing to cooked bow tie pasta. Rather than baking in the oven, the entrée is chilled and served cold. It is a “meal-in-one.” I scaled the ingredients down to make two servings which fits our small household; hence it is a “small salad.” I love tuna fish salad and adding pasta makes it even better.

Tuna fish salad is one of my favorite summer meals; I also love pasta salads. What more do I need to say — this makes a great combination for a main dish salad; it is an entire meal. It is easy to change up the ingredients depending upon your preferences. I added cucumber for crunch. However, you could substitute celery. If you don’t like green peas, these can be omitted. Double up on the tuna fish and/or hard boiled egg for a higher protein content. For the dressing, I added plain yogurt and cut back on the mayonnaise. You can’t tell. And I added fresh parsley and dill seeds from my winter garden crop. Farfalle (bow tie pasta) is just right for this salad, however, any another small pasta can be used.

Almost a “One Pot” recipe

It does take several pots to cook all the ingredients. So, this is a simple “several pot” meal.

The recipe is simple and straight-forward. Get all the ingredients prepared (boil the pasta, hard boil the egg and cook the peas, combine dressing ingredients.) I multi-task and do multiple things simultaneously. Then mix everything to finish the salad. My main suggestion with this recipe is to cool the pasta to room temperature prior to adding the other ingredients so it doesn’t absort excess liquid from the dressing.

Chill the salad for several hours prior to serving. (If in a rush, go ahead and eat the salad while it is still warm.)

To serve, place tuna & pasta salad on plate along with lettuce leaves, chopped tomato and cucumber slices. Of course, I always eat this salad with a few crackers. This recipe makes a great, “lite” lunch — an entire meal. Substituting yogurt for part of the mayonnaise lowers the fat content making it a low-fat entrée, too. Enjoy!

Small Salads: Tuna & Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 3 oz (1 cup) dry bow tie pasta — makes 2 cups cooked pasta
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dill pickle relish (optional) or 1/4 tsp dill seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, snipped
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 (5 oz) can light, chunk tuna in water
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into slices with more slices for garnish (optional)
  • fresh lettuce leaves, garnish
  • chopped tomato, garnish
  • crackers, for serving

Method and Steps:

  1. Add pasta to large pot of salted, boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Then set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Add frozen peas and small amount of water in a small pot. Bring to boil, then lower heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until peas are tender. Drain peas and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, hard boil egg: Add egg to a small pot and fill to cover egg with cool water. Place on stove and bring to boil. Lower temperature to simmering and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from stove, drain water and fill pot with cold water. When egg is cool enough to handle, remove from water, peel. Then chop coarsely. Set aside.
  4. Made dressing: In small-sized bowl, combine mayonnaise, plain yogurt, finely chopped onion, lemon juice, dill pickle relish (optional), celery seeds, dill pickle seeds (optional) and dash of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  5. Pour dressing over cooked pasta and stir to combine.
  6. Add cooked peas, hard boiled diced egg, tuna (with juice) and cucumber to bowl with pasta. Gently use spatula to combine all ingredients.
  7. Cover and place in refrigerator to chill.
  8. When ready to serve, garnish with fresh lettuce leaves and serve with crackers.
  9. Garnish with chopped tomato (optional).

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