Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Tuna is a vibrant no mayo pasta salad with tons of protein and Italian inspired ingredients ~ straight from your pantry!
Mediterranean pasta salad with tuna, from the pantry!
I know, it’s the end of a long day and you’re starving. So yes, open that can of tuna, but don’t eat it over the sink! This is not only a quick meal, it’s also a no-shop, straight-from-the-pantry meal, meaning everything you need should be right in your kitchen. If you have to run out for something, you’re not making it right!
what you’ll need for pasta salad with tuna
This is one of our favorite transition meals made to span that no man’s land between late summer into fall. We’re not quite ready for meatloaf, but we’re still hungry at the end of the day. The good news is that no ingredient in this go-to meal is sacrosanct ~ everything is replaceable, from the pasta to the herbs, so mix and match with what you have.
- pasta ~ I used bowtie, but of course other shapes will work. Try shells, fusilli, or penne.
- marinated artichoke hearts and peppers ~ the combination of marinated and fresh veggies is key to this salad.
- tuna ~ use what you love, I prefer albacore.
- cherry tomatoes
- black and green olives
- red onion
- white beans ~ canned.
- hard cooked eggs
- fresh basil and thyme leaves
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Italian pasta salad with an antipasto flair
I use high flavor pantry staples like olives and marinated veggies, they’re a great vivid counterpoint to the comforting but bland bowties and beans (and Italian antipasto flavors are a natural fit with tuna.) If I know I’m going to make this ahead of time, I like to visit the olive bar at my supermarket and fill a small container with various olives and marinated peppers, etc. That way I can buy just what I need, with no leftover cans or jars to store in the fridge.
pasta salad with tuna tips and faqs
This is an old trick my grandma taught me. The hot pasta will absorb the flavors of the dressing, and the dressing will keep it from sticking together, as well.
The salad will keep well in the fridge for several days, and I know it’s a cliché, but it really does get better with age. It’s a great one to prep for weekday lunches.
You can use shredded rotisserie chicken, leftover salmon, shrimp, or even salami.
Yes, leave out the tuna and add some crumbled feta cheese.
I consider this salad a main course, and we love it with corn on the cob and maybe some crusty bread.
Yes, you can make a creamy pasta salad with tuna, just substitute half a cup mayo for the oil and vinegar. I have a pasta salad with tuna recipe that uses mayo, here.
canned tuna is a weeknight hero
I love canned tuna. It’s one of the few proteins that you can stock in the pantry, and that makes it super helpful for quick meals, just be sure to buy the good stuff (i.e. packed in oil, sustainable, etc.) Here are a few more of my favorite canned tuna recipes ~
Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Tuna
- 1/2 lb bow tie pasta
- 1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
- 1/2 cup marinated peppers
- 1/2 cup cucumber, cut in small dice
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/2 cup radicchio, cut in shreds
- 1/4 cup black olives
- 1/4 cup green olives
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 14 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 ounce can of albacore tuna, drained
- 2 hard cooked eggs, cut in quarters
- handful of fresh basil and thyme leaves
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta just to the al dente stage, drain.
- Whisk the dressing together while the pasta cooks, then toss the hot pasta with some of the dressing.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl with the pasta and toss with more of the dressing. Note: if you'd like to serve this as a 'composed salad' like you see in some of my photos, you can arrange the ingredients in groups over the pasta, and toss with the dressing tableside.
- Serve garnished with more fresh herbs.