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Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad

I haven’t posted my go-to tuna macaroni salad!  I’ve posted a few cold salads with tuna and vegetables, but not the basic macaroni and tuna salad I like to throw together.  During warmer weather (3 months of the year up North) we often eat the salad as a side dish with grilled meat.  I like to eat the salad as a full meal, in a bowl. It satisfies my craving for a cold noodle salad.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse until cooled.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse until cooled.

The salad is easy to throw together and I almost always have the ingredients on hand.  The noodles can be any of the smaller or medium-sized noodles.  I like to use elbow macaroni, it’s like the traditional shape for us.  While I’m boiling the pasta in some salted water, I chop up the onion and celery.

Chop green onions and celery and add to bowl.

Chop green onions and celery and add to bowl.

Here’s another time where I ignore the fact that I don’t care for celery.  There has to be celery in this salad so I chop it finely.  I can ignore the flavor but appreciate the crunch it adds to the texture of the salad.  I always prefer to use green onion in the salad.  It’s less strong than regular onions and gives the salad some color.  Red onion or shallots are also good if I have them on hand.

I prefer StarKist tuna.

I prefer StarKist tuna.

I use two  5 oz cans of tuna.  I can seems to disappear with the amount of pasta in the salad.  I use the Starkist light chunk tuna packed in water that is 100% wild caught.  I usually store it in the fridge when I bring it home from the store so it’s ready for salads and sandwiches.  My P.S. thinks that’s crazy.  I argue that it’s best cold; it will heat quickly if necessary when added to casseroles.

Drain tuna and add to bowl.

Drain tuna and add to bowl.

A little dill pickle relish adds to the salad.  I throw in a couple of tablespoons, 2 or 3, for flavor.  It makes me think of tartar sauce and that’s a logical choice when using fish.

Whisk mayo, milk, vinegar and pepper until smooth.

Whisk mayo, milk, vinegar and pepper until smooth.

I don’t usually measure the mayo, I throw a bunch in a bowl with milk and vinegar and whisk well.  Or if the mayo level in the jar is good, I add the milk and vinegar to the jar, close the lid and shake as I did this time.  I add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix dressing and salad ingredients. They will be fairly wet: the pasta will absorb liquid overnight.

Mix dressing and salad ingredients. They will be fairly wet: the pasta will absorb liquid overnight.

I stirred together the mayo mixture with the rest of the ingredients and placed it into a storage container.  It looks pretty wet but never fear, the macaroni is going to soak almost all of the liquid up overnight.  When I stir it the next day before serving, it is the perfect consistency.  The rare times it is too dry I add a glug more of milk, stir and it’s fixed.

Stir the next day before serving. Add more milk if it becomes dry.

Stir the next day before serving. Add more milk if it becomes dry.

I like waiting 24 hours to eat the salad for the best flavors.  The macaroni salad will last for 5-6 days in the fridge but doesn’t usually last that long for us.  I’ve been known to eat a bowl of tuna macaroni salad for breakfast.

Tuna Macaroni Salad

  • Servings: 8-10 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A flavorful, basic chilled tuna and macaroni salad.

  • 16 oz box elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup green onion; chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery; chopped (I also chopped some celery leaves)
  • 2 cans tuna; drained
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used unflavored, unsweetened almond milk due to lactose intolerance)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • salt to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon salt until al dente, according to box directions. Drain pasta and rinse to cool.

In a large bowl add pasta, green onion, celery, tuna and dill pickle relish.

In a separate bowl whisk mayo, milk, apple cider vinegar and pepper until smooth. Add to salad bowl and stir well. Salt to taste.

Store in plastic covered container overnight and stir before serving. Add more milk if too dry.

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