Tuna Pasta Salad

If the words "tuna pasta salad" conjure images of gloopy mayonnaise and mushy macaroni, stop right there. Our lightened up, brightened up version is made with a lemon-herb vinaigrette and al dente rotini. The pasta salad is packed with fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, and some pickled peppers for a pop of heat and color. We recommend using good-quality tuna packed in oil. It has more flavor than the water-packed kind and a rich (not dry) texture. This summery salad is delicious served chilled or at room temperature.

Tuna Pasta Salad
Photo: Caitlin Bensel
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)


  • 12 ounces uncooked rotini pasta

  • 1 (1-oz.) envelope ranch dressing mix

  • 1 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest plus 1/4 cup fresh juice (from 1 large lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 2 (6.7-oz.) jars tuna packed in oil, drained

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 1/2 cup jarred sliced tricolor hot banana peppers

  • 3 cups baby arugula (3 oz.)


  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain and let cool completely, about 20 minutes. Place in a large bowl.

  2. Stir together ranch dressing mix, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, honey, and salt in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until smooth and combined.

  3. Add drained tuna, tomatoes, onion, and banana peppers to pasta in bowl. Drizzle in dressing; toss gently to coat. Add arugula; toss gently. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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