Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas

Written by Beth - Budget Bytes

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 plated on white plate, garnished with parsley

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4.73 from 11 votes

Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas

This creamy tuna pasta salad with peas is easy, delicious, and filling. It's great to eat cold on a hot summer day!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 6


  • 12 oz bow tie pasta ($0.88)
  • 5 oz can chunk light tuna in water ($0.70)
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced ($0.25)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (yellow, purple, or green) ($0.25)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.05)
  • to taste fresh ground black pepper ($0.05)
  • 3/4 cup light mayonnaise ($1.00)
  • 2 cups frozen sweet peas ($0.64)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!


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!
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Serving: 1 ServingCalories: 347.95 kcalCarbohydrates: 51.92 gProtein: 14.8 gFat: 8.72 gSodium: 591.1 mgFiber: 3.75 g
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclaimer here.

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Step By Step Photos

Tuna, peas and onions in clear mixing bowl
I 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.

Tuna, peas, onions, salt, pepper and mayo and lemon juice  mixed in clear mixing bowl
Next mix in your mayo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas finished and placed in clear bowl
Add the drained and cooled pasta and you’re ready to serve!

Close up of Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas