When I was about 10 years old, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend was to drive to the Southdale Mall with my mom to go shopping. We’d go to Dayton’s (before it was Marshall Fields and then Macy’s) to shop for clothes, shoes, whatever my mom needed for the house… It always felt like such a treat to wander this huge store and to take the place in. Growing up in a small farming town there was nothing of this magnitude within a 30 minute drive so it always felt special to me to visit. Our shopping trip always included a stop for lunch at the top floor of the Dayton’s store in the deli where they served all sorts of salads and soft serve ice cream. I ordered the tuna pasta salad with peas EVERY SINGLE TIME I went there. Seriously. Every. Single. Time. And in my lifetime the number of store visits with lunch probably exceeds 50. That’s a lot of pasta salad. I’m not a fan of variety when I find what I like.
And look at that – what’s not to like? This salad is a breeze to make and gets better the next day, so go ahead and make this for a light lunch, a shared salad for a party or an easy-to-transport lunch to bring to work. Just beware that there’s mayo in this recipe so if you’re enjoying it outside in the hot summer months be sure to keep it on ice. Food poisoning is no joke, people.
So on that light and happy note – let’s get down to business with the recipe! Just a few considerations:
- Canned tuna – this salad is best with Solid Albacore Tuna in water. That’s not to say you can’t use Chunk Light or a tuna in oil, but I’ll go with Solid Albacore 100% of the time when I have the option. The flavor is lighter and the color of the tuna is lighter in color as well.
- Pasta shape – I prefer to make this salad with the small rings you see in this photo, but really you can use any shape pasta you like, or a gluten-free one, too. Just know that the larger your pasta shape, the more mayo you’re going to need to maintain the same moisture level given the increased pasta surface you’re trying to cover.
- Mayo – I prefer the Hellman’s or Kraft brands but you could add some kick to this using Miracle Whip or another seasoned dressing instead or in addition to the mayo, like Dijon Mustard.
That’s it! Enjoy, my food friends, and share feedback or ideas in the comment section!
- 1 box of small pasta rings
- 1 cup mayo
- 1/2 bag of frozen peas (do not defrost)
- 5 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise and diced
- 1 shallot, fined minced
- 1 can solid white albacore tuna, drained thoroughly
- Ground black pepper
- Boil water and cook the pasta according to the instructions, being sure to add salt to the water during the cooking process.
- Drain and rinse the pasta once done cooking.
- In a large bowl, combine the mayo, peas, celery, shallot and tuna and stir to break up the tuna into smaller pieces.
- Add the pasta to the bowl and stir to combine all ingredients.
- Add fresh ground black pepper to taste, stir to combine and taste for flavoring.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving, or overnight.
- This salad is easy to modify to make gluten free - just substitute a gluten free noodle and make sure the mayo you use is gluten free - that's it!