This Cold Tuna Pasta Salad (no Mayo) is a quick lunch that's full of crunch from red onion and celery. Inexpensive to make, but easy to cook a big batch of-- this is a great family meal.
Does anyone remember meals that they had as a child, that were weekly occurrences for you, but your friends’ families never had? Or perhaps they called it by a completely different name?
That is this dish for me. My mom always made “Tuna Casserole,” for lunches when we were home. I have no idea how it got that name, as it is a cold dish, and not a casserole at all!
My version was a little different than my mom’s, she added cream soup, canned mushrooms, tuna, and pasta-- very simple. This made it incredibly easy to whip together with pantry staples.
I choose to tuck some extra veggies in for flavor and crunch! You can mix it up, but here I used red onion, peas, and celery. I love how fresh it tastes and the little bit of extra chopping is totally worth it for a delicious end result.
- canned tuna
- short pasta. Something like mostaccioli or gemelli work here. My mom usually used elbows or shells, which are so nostalgic to me and are more preference.
- canned mushrooms
- red onion
- frozen peas
- cream of mushroom soup. Cream of chicken soup also works.
- fresh cracked black pepper. We always add more on top once served as well!
How to Make Cold Tuna Pasta Salad
Cook pasta according to package instructions and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add tuna, onion, celery, mushrooms, peas, cream soup, and salt.
Mix to combine.
Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving if you want to serve this tuna salad cold.
There is no need to thaw out the frozen peas before adding them to the salad. All you have to do is add them to the cooked pasta and them stir together and they will thaw very quickly. This actually helps you achieve the cold tuna pasta salad faster, because they work as little cooling devices!
Variations and Substitutions
- Add double the tuna for an added protein boost. Tuna is extremely high in protein and low in fat. My favorite brand is from Safe Catch and its the wild Ahi tuna. It has 17 grams of protein to .5 gram a fat per serving. It is also mercury tested. We find it at Costco, but it's available elsewhere.
- If you don't want to use a cream soup, you can sub in mayo or whole milk plain greek yogurt, similar to this Healthy Greek Yogurt Tuna Salad.
- This tuna salad is sometimes called tuna casserole and it can totally be served warm, if that's what you prefer. I normally sneak a few bites warm myself, because I can't wait for it to cool in the fridge!
Store any leftover pasta salad with tuna in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. This cold salad makes fabulous lunches and is great to bring on picnics.
More pasta salad recipes to try
- broccoli crunch pasta salad
- greek pasta salad
- risoni salad with herbs
- lemon and arugula with capellini pasta
- pesto tortellini pasta salad
Cold Tuna Pasta Salad (No Mayo)
- 1 can tuna drained
- 10 oz short pasta mostaccioli, gemelli cooked
- 1 can mushrooms drained
- ½ cup red onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- ½ tsp. salt
- Pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package instructions and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add tuna, onion, celery, mushrooms, peas, cream soup, and salt. Mix to combine.
I miss making this for you! I’ll have to try your version. It looks delicious.
Teresa Smith says
Hi Sarah: I’m making this a 2nd time. Very yummy. It is our go to for work lunches. My husband also really liked???Keep the recipes coming!!