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Few things are as ‘classic’ as a good tuna pasta salad and they’re incredibly easy to make and budget-friendly, too. Whether it’s a light dinner that requires minimal cooking, a weekend meal prep, or a dish to take to a potluck or party, we think you’ll love this Lemon-Dill Tuna Pasta Salad.
This post was created in partnership with our friends at Bumble Bee Seafoods.
A Potluck Classic with a Light and Fresh Twist
I don’t know about you, but when I think about tuna pasta salad, the first thing that comes to mind is copious amounts of mayonnaise or salad dressing with just a hint of tuna and a few bits of celery hidden among a sea of macaroni noodles. Sound familiar?
Well, this one isn’t that. This Lemon-Dill Pasta Salad is a fresh and lightened up version the features the bright notes of dill and lemon and enough Bumble Bee® tuna to actually make it satisfying! We’ve even added green peas, extra celery, and some red onion for color and crunch. It has become a regular at our house because it’s easy to make and we almost always have everything on hand to pull it off in under 30 minutes.
Lemon-Dill Tuna Pasta Salad Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this salad. We’ve also included any appropriate substitutions.
For the Salad:
- Pasta – Any shape or kind will work in this recipe. We used bowtie pasta because it looks pretty with those little peas tucked into the nooks and crannies but ANY pasta will do.
- Tuna – Canned tuna is the star and protein powerhouse in this salad. We used Bumble Bee® Chunk Light Tuna in Water but albacore tuna will also work.
- Frozen Peas – You can use fresh, shelled peas but frozen peas are so convenient and just as – if not more – nutritious than fresh peas because they’re picked and frozen at their peak.
- Celery – Every tuna salad needs a little crunch and celery is just the ticket.
- Red Onion – Finely diced shallots will also work and in a pinch, thinly sliced green onion will work too.
For the Dressing:
- Lemon Juice – Fresh is obviously best but bottled lemon juice is also an option.
- Dill – We used fresh dill but dried dill will also work.
- Mayo – We used this avocado oil mayo but you can use any brand – or substitute plain Greek yogurt for an egg-free option
- Salt & Pepper
A Delicious and Budget-Friendly Protein at Your Fingertips
Since 1899, The Bumble Bee Seafood Company has been on a mission to show the world that there’s a Better Way to Seafood. For as long as we can remember, Bumble Bee® tuna has always been on our pantry shelves. And now, as moms, we’re relying on the same quality and ingredients to feed our own families. Ounce for ounce tuna is lower in calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol than even the leanest cuts of beef and chicken. So it’s a naturally healthy—and sustainable—choice and one we reach for regularly.
Tuna is also incredibly budget-friendly and since it’s shelf-stable you can always keep a supply on hand for this Tuna Pasta Salad or these Tuna Melt Quesadillas.
You can read more about the initiatives and commitments The Bumble Bee Seafood Company is undertaking to improve the health of our oceans here.
How to Make Lemon-Dill Tuna Pasta Salad
You’ll start by boiling the pasta since that step will take the longest. While the water comes to a boil, drain the tuna and set it aside. While the pasta cooks, dice the onions and celery, chop the dill (or measure it if using dried dill), juice the lemon, and measure out the mayo. You’ll add the frozen peas to the pasta during the final minute of cooking time then drain and rinse the pasta and peas under cold running water.
To make the dressing, stir together the mayo, lemon juice, and dill then taste and add salt and pepper to suit your taste. Then combine the pasta, peas, tuna, and dressing in a large bowl and stir to combine.
How to prep Lemon-Dill Tuna Pasta Salad
Whether it’s for your weekend meal prep or you’re trying to get a head start on dinner preparation here’s what we recommend:
- Weekend meal prep: If you want a meal that’s ready to eat when you are (think: packed lunch, busy weeknight, or a meal on the go) then prep the salad as directed and store in the fridge in a covered container for up to 4 days.
- Dinner prep: The dressing can be made up to 4 days in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use. When it comes time to put a meal on the table, you’ll just need to boil the pasta (adding the peas to the cooking water in the final minute of cooking) and dice the onions and celery and drain the tuna while the pasta cooks. Then you just need to toss it all together in a large bowl and serve.
Other Pasta Salads You Might Like
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Let’s Get Cookin’
Lemon-Dill Tuna Pasta Salad
- Author: Jessica Beacom
- Prep Time: 15 mins.
- Cook Time: 15 mins.
- Total Time: 30 mins.
- Yield: Serves 4 (Makes 6 cups)
- Category: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Option
● 8 ounces pasta, cooked (may use gluten-free, if needed)
● 2 (5-ounce) cans Bumble Bee® Chunk Light tuna in water, drained (may substitute albacore tuna)
● 1 cup frozen peas
● 1 large stalk celery, finely diced
● ¼ cup finely minced red onion or shallot
● Juice of ½ lemon
● 2 Tbsp fresh dill (may substitute 1 ½ tsp dried dill)
● ½ cup mayo*
● ½ tsp. salt
● Pinch of black pepper
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding frozen peas to the pot in the last 60 seconds of cooking time.
2. Drain pasta, rinse with cold water and drain again to remove as much water as possible.
3. While the pasta cooks, add celery, onion, lemon juice, dill, mayo, salt, and pepper to a large bowl and stir to combine.
4. Add tuna, pasta, and peas to the bowl and gently stir to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, as desired.
*May substitute vegan mayo or plain Greek yogurt for mayo for an egg-free option
- Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
- Calories: 450
- Sugar: 4g
- Sodium: 750mg
- Fat: 23g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 46g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 20g
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This post was made possible by our friends at Bumble Bee Seafoods. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!
About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.