tuna pasta salad with peas

$3.82 recipe / $0.64 serving

The weather has been getting warmer and the days have been absolutely gorgeous. We’ve been doing a lot of grilling and cooking out lately which puts me in the mood for cold pasta salads and other potluck classics. I’m sure this recipe has been around for a gazillion years and rightly so. It’s delicious, well rounded (starch, protein, veggies) and it fits Budget Bytes principle #2 (using less expensive filler ingredients to reduce cost per serving). Tuna was at one time inexpensive but I wouldn’t exactly consider it so these days ($0.70 for a 5 oz. can). So, by adding pasta and peas to what would be an otherwise fairly expensive and small tuna salad, the volume has increased and cost per serving has decreased.

The sweet peas perfectly balance the pungent onions in this salad and both veggies offer great texture variation in each bite. For the dressing, I used light mayo (because this isn’t 1950) and lemon juice for brightness. It’s simple, it’s delicious, it’s a classic. If you make a variation of this salad at home, I’d love to hear your version!

Tuna Pasta with Peas

Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas

4.8 from 5 reviews
tuna pasta salad with peas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $3.82
Cost Per Serving: $0.64
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. bow tie pasta $0.88
  • 5 oz. can chunk light tuna in water $0.70
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced $0.25
  • ½ cup diced onion (yellow, purple or green) $0.25
  • ½ tsp. salt $0.05
  • to taste fresh ground black pepper $0.05
  • ¾ cup light mayonnaise $1.00
  • 2 cups frozen sweet peas $0.64
Instructions
  1. Take two cups of peas out of the freezer and let thaw on the counter. Cook the bow tie pasta according to the package directions (boil 5-7 minutes). Drain in a colander and let cool.
  2. As the pasta is draining and cooling, combine the rest of the ingredients (peas, tuna, mayonnaise, lemon juice, onions, salt and pepper). Adjust the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. If your pasta is still hot when you are finished combining the rest of the ingredients, run cold water over it until it has cooled down. Make sure to drain the pasta well before combining it with the rest of the ingredients. Stir the pasta into the pea/mayo mixture until it is well coated. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve!
Notes
If you want your tuna to stay in chunks, add it last (after the pasta). The more the tuna is stirred, the more it will break up. I found out the hard way by adding it in the beginning.

You can put frozen peas directly into the salad without thawing them first as long as you do not plan on serving the salad right away. This salad gets even better as it sits in the refrigerator!

Step By Step Photos

salad ingredientsI combined my tuna, peas and onions first. This is a great way to use up left over onions from other recipes. I had both purple and green.

salad dressingNext mix in your mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Tuna Pasta Salad with PeasAdd the drained and cooled pasta and you’re ready to serve!

Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas

27 Comments

  1. Susan G. says:

    I’ve made and eaten countless Tuna Macs with mostly the same ingredients. It was a staple in the little Vermont town where I grew up. When I saw this recipe here (on my favorite food blog) I thought, I’ll try it! I always add too much mayo, so I thought Beth’s proportions would be helpful. But it ended up WAY better than the Tuna Mac I’m used to because of the lemon! And there’s way more peas in this recipe than I’m used to and I LOVE it. Thanks! !

  2. Abby says:

    Agree with the positive reviews on this. It creates a great pasta salad base that you can play with. I added peas and broccoli to the pasta during the last minute of boiling to expedite the the thawing process. Also added red peppers to the mayo lemon sauce.

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