This healthy tuna pasta salad is a simple, delicious, creamy pasta salad made with tuna, Greek yoghurt (or sour cream), peas and parmesan cheese. A creamy, mayonnaise free dish with amazing flavor and it is healthy! Tuna pasta salad is a great side, but we often make this as a stand alone dish. We love the creamy dressing, it is based on a sauce that we used to make as a shawarma sauce and later started using as salad dressing.
How to Make this healthy tuna pasta salad
This is a simple throw together salad made by tossing together cooked pasta, tuna, peas some herbs and vegetables with a creamy dressing.
Cook the pasta el dente. Drain a can of tuna and flake. Mix the cooked pasta with tuna, peas, parsley, onion, thyme, celery and parmesan in a mixing bowl. Mix the dressing ingredients well in a blender. Add dressing to the salad and toss.
Variations in this tuna pasta salad
You can spice up this pasta salad anyway you like, let your imagination go wild; broccoli, chopped red pepper, avocado cubes all are delicious in here. The biggest variation possibilities come in the dressing; sour cream can be replaced by Greek yoghurt or mayonnaise.
For a simple tuna pasta salad with a citrus vinaigrette see our zesty Italian tuna pasta salad recipe, it is a simple, healthy and delicious pasta salad made with a fresh citrus dressing, packed with flavors.
- Greek yoghurt, Sour cream or mayonnaise can be used for making this tuna pasta salad since they taste similar and have similar textures. I am not a big lover of mayonnaise and discovered what a great replacement Greek yoghurt is for mayonnaise in many recipes. It works well in this salad, there is a difference in taste and a huge nutritional difference between these ingredients. Add a bit of bite to the dressing with dijon mustard, garlic and lemon juice.
- Greek yogurt is the healthier option and is our preferred choice. Being higher in protein and lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than mayonnaise or sour cream, it also contains probiotics, the taste is however less rich. Greek yoghurt contains much healthier fats than mayonnaise.
- Sour cream has a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt and a tangy flavor, though the texture is slightly looser, it ads a savory flavor to the dressing compared to yoghurt. A fermented milk product like yogurt, but not nearly as healthy for your heart. Richness for sour cream is something between Greek yoghurt and mayonnaise. Lower fat and healthier than mayonnaise.
- Mayonnaise has the richest taste of the three options and a high tartness (sharp, sour taste). It is not a fermented milk product like yoghurt or sour cream, but is made of oil, egg yolks, lemon juice or vinegar, and seasonings resulting in a product high in saturated fat and calories that is not very good for you. Get the health benefits of yoghurt with a mayonnaise taste by adding 1 tbsp of mayonnaise to the yoghurt dressing. If you love mayonnaise using only mayonnaise as dressing is off course an option.
- Use your favorite pasta; small shells, penne, elbow macaroni, bow ties or any other pasta shape works well. If you want to make it more healthy you can always use whole grain pasta.
- I love the hard, gritty texture and the fruity and nutty taste of parmesan in this salad. Parmesan cheese is a healthy option since it is naturally low in fat, free of carbs, and lactose-free and a good source of protein and fat. Parmesan is rich in vitamins and minerals. You can replace parmesan with cheddar or mozzarella. Mozzarella is a very healthy cheese, it is lower in sodium and calories than most other cheeses. Mature cheddar, grated or cut into cubes is a delicious alternative to parmesan.
- There are many different species of tuna; cans labelled “white” is albacore tuna, “light” is skipjack tuna and “premium,” “gourmet” or “tonno” tuna is usually yellowfin tuna. Albacore (white) is probably the most popular tuna to use in salads. Skipjack is a smaller fish and consequently it has a lower mercury content so this is something to consider if you are pregnant.
Serving Size for this recipe
The portion size for this recipe is a healthy portion of tuna pasta salad as a side dish for 6 people as can be seen from the image. The salad was prepared as per recipe to serve 6 without scaling.
Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad
- 200 grams pasta (2 cups)
- 172 grams tuna (white) – 1 can
- 1 cup frozen peas (134g)
- 2 ribs celery
- 2 tbsp parsley (7g)
- 1/4 cup onion
- 2 tbsp parmesan (30g)
- 2 tbsp thyme (1.8g)
- SALAD DRESSING
- 2/3 cup Greek yoghurt (150 ml)
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil (30 ml)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Boil pasta el dente – bring water to boil in big pot, add pasta, cook 10 to 12 minute, drain, rinse under cold water.
- Drain the tuna and flake in a bowl.
- Add tuna and all the prepared ingredients to the pasta, mix.
- Make the Dressing – mix the dressing ingredients well in a blender.
- Add creamy dressing to the salad and toss.
It is clear from the nutritional data that this is a healthy well balanced salad, relatively low in calories for a salad with a creamy dressing.
Nutritional data was calculated with an online tool and is accurate to the best of my knowledge. You can verify it using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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