Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad

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This Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad is the answer if you’re not a fan of mayonnaise and love a cold tuna pasta salad for lunch on a hot summer day.

Cold Tuna Pasta Salad
Mayo-Less Tuna Pasta Salad

This healthy tuna salad is more green salad than pasta salad as you use only one cup of pasta but two cups of arugula. It has almost 25 grams of protein, making it excellent for a light lunch. Delicious, satisfying, and perfect for lunch – it’s tuna salad all grown up!  Some more canned tuna salad recipes you may like are Chickpea Tuna Salad, Italian Tuna and Brown Rice Salad (Riso e Tonno), and Canned Tuna Ceviche.

Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad

Don’t like mayonnaise? Then you’ll love this easy Tuna Macaroni Salad made with canned tuna, arugula, capers, and pasta topped with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, olive oil, and vinegar.

This is one of my favorite ways to eat canned tuna for lunch. This salad comes together in minutes – just mix the ingredients and top with shaved Parmesan. It’s a great way to make canned tuna a little fancier but would also work with canned salmon or crab meat.

Tuna Salad Meal Prep

If you’d like to meal prep this salad, combine all of the ingredients except for the arugula and put in individual containers. Right before eating, add the arugula. Without the greens mixed in, this dish will last in the fridge 4 to 5 days.

Variations:

  • Swap the arugula for baby spinach.
  • If you don’t have elbow macaroni, any short pasta, like rotini, farfalle, or cavatappi, will work.
  • Add fresh cherry tomatoes, avocados, or red onions for extra veggies.
  • Switch out the canned tuna for canned crab meat or salmon.
  • If you’re not a seafood fan, sub the tuna for grilled or rotisserie chicken.

Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad with ArugulaMayo-less Tuna Pasta SaladMayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad

MORE TUNA SALAD RECIPES:

Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad
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5 from 9 votes
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Tuna Pasta Salad

6
6
6
SP
271.5 Cals 24.5 Protein 23 Carbs 10.5 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Yield: 2 servings
COURSE: Lunch
CUISINE: American
This Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad is the answer if you’re not a fan of mayonnaise and love a cold tuna pasta salad for lunch on a hot summer day.

Ingredients

  • 5 oz canned albacore tuna, drained
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup cooked wheat pasta, from 2 oz dry (or GF pasta)
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 oz fresh shaved Parmesan

Instructions

  • In a large bowl toss tuna with capers, oil, vinegar, arugula, pasta and pepper.
    Mayo-less Tuna Pasta Salad
  • Divide on two plates and top with shaved Parmesan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 of recipe, Calories: 271.5kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 24.5g, Fat: 10.5g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 463mg, Fiber: 3.5g, Sugar: 1.5g
Blue Smart Points: 6
Green Smart Points: 6
Purple Smart Points: 6
Points +: 7
Keywords: cold tuna macaroni salad, healthy tuna pasta salad, how to make tuna macaroni salad, tuna macaroni salad

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62 comments

  1. Great salad! We’re not fans of capers, so I substituted lemon juice and a bit of zest for the vinegar. Also added a cup of blanched broccoli in the last minute of cooking the pasta. Overall, great hot weather dish! 

  2. Excellent light lunch. I found a canned tuna with jalepenos and have been using that for extra flavor.

  3. Who would of thought arugula in a tuna salad would taste so good? yum

  4. Loved this! Extremely simple to make and easy to pack for work lunches. I took out the cheese and added a sprinkle of sea salt and it was perfect!

  5. I can’t believe how much I DIDN’T miss the traditional may tuna salad. I added extra capers and vinegar because I love the bite they bring. Also used lentil pasta as that is what I had on hand. It is rare I find a new lunch recipe I want to make again but I will definitely will be making this regularly.

  6. Yum! I had canned chicken from Costco so I used that instead. Also used lemon juice instead of vinegar and added a chopped cucumber and red onion 🙂

  7. Tried this salad this afternoon and it was delicious.  Added some kalamata olives I had on hand as I didn’t have any cheese.  So yummy and am definitely adding this to my lunch options.

  8. I know I’d love this!  Sure wish I could find WW Cavatappi pasta.  Lovin’ the Arugula (I always get the ‘Baby’ one.  Great Salad.

  9. This looks great! I am sensitive to vinegar though. Could I eliminate it or replace with something else?

  10. Yummy!!!

    • This became one of my regular meal preps last summer during lockdown. Enjoying it again now that the warm weather is back. Easy, yummy and filling.

  11. I loved this recipe! I’m on the Purple plan and used whole wheat pasta for 0 points, and spray olive oil for 0 points also. The whole meal was only 1 point (for 2 tbs shredded parmesan cheese).

  12. I can’t find how many freestyle points this is, just sp and points +

  13. i had just bought the individual packets of water packed tuna and I didn’t have capers but substituted marinated artichoke hearts.  Also had the “Ready Pasta” by Barilla so this was incredibly quick and easy to put together.  I used spring mix and some added arugula.  Definitely a keeper. 

  14. This was wonderful. I grilled up 2 salmon portions (I didn’t know that canned salmon has bones? Ick) and used ditalini pasta. Surprisingly very filling, no other side dish or veggies were necessary. 

  15. Just made this and I can only say that – Try and you will love it!! So good!!! I did use Romaine lettuce and whole wheat spiral pasta as that is what I had on hand. Didn't know I liked capers either! YUM!! Thanks Gina! Love your site!

  16. this is just so incredibly delicious! thank you!! eating as i type and just enjoying it immensely! i love how healthy it is, too!

  17. I made this for lunch today and it was delicious. The only thing I changed was that I used baby spinach instead of arugula, just because it's what I had on hand. I used rotini (spiral) pasta. Thanks!

  18. Even tastier than expected. And filling! I was a little worried when I saw the amount of pasta, but it was enough. I actually had some left over egg salad I stirred in and it was great.

  19. This was so good… easy to make, low on points and SO DELICIOUS!!!! A definite repeat! I added some red onion I had on hand, and next time, I'll think I'll try adding a hard-boiled egg. Thanks Gina!

  20. I made this at lunch, with a little modification b/c I didn't have arugula. I used a combo of leaf lettuce and spinach. I was getting sick of making the same old boring salad, so this was a nice change. It was very tasty and filling (AND EASY!).

  21. double post since I'm being silly.. I can just count the ingredients I DO have, instead of substracting the ones I don't have 😉 (losing weight is messing with my brain)
    Still looks good.~ Esther

  22. This looks really good. I'm having this for lunch today, but want to leave out the pasta and maybe just have a slice of toast on the side, or not even that.. Could you tell me the points value without the pasta (I'm not in the U.S. so we have different foods in our little book)
    Thanks! ~ Esther

  23. I made this for lunch today and it was delicious!! I was scared it would be really "diet" tasting but it was full of flavor! I added the pasta hot and I used a spring mix salad! Gina everything I have had from your blog has been amazing!!

  24. Isnt this wonderful!

  25. Knocked it out of the park again, Gina! I had this today for lunch and loved it. It will definitely be a regular in my lunch rotation. And I love the idea of throwing in some tomatoes.

  26. I tried this for lunch today and did the same as Courtney… baby spinach and sundried tomatoes. I didn't have pasta but put it in a whole wheat wrap. Delish! I will definitely be making this again — thank you for a delicious mayo-less way to enjoy tuna!

  27. I love this recipe. I have been making it very frequently for my lunch. I am not a fan of arugula though, so I have been using baby spinach. Still delicious! Today, I wanted to use some of my tomatoes, so I added some into the mix and all I can say is YUM! Thanks for your recipes, they are wonderful!

  28. Tricia – help foodies eat smartly, Oh I like that!

  29. Another great recipe! We used crab instead of tuna for a lighter taste, and tri-flavored pasta (spinach, beet & regular). The arugula I also used for a side with your Chicken Divan and loved the flavor there as well. Today it's Kaula Pork today – Thank you for a great site to help foodies eat smartly!

  30. Gina, this was wonderful! I used some frisee lettuce instead of the arugula and it was so light and fresh!

  31. I substituted cannellini beans for the pasta (the Points+ value was the same). Took all of five minutes to get dinner ready and it was wonderful!

  32. This seems so good i am making right now

  33. So happy you all liked it! It has just enough pasta to make it filling, it is a salad after all 🙂

  34. Even tastier than expected. And filling! I won't lie – I was a little worried when I saw the amount of pasta, but it was enough.

  35. LOVED this recipe!! I made the tuna and then made it again with some leftover roasted chicken breast I was wondering what to do with. Both were delicious! Great take-to-work lunch too!

  36. This was fabulous! Had to substitute spinach and pecorino b/c that was all I had in the house…but it just made my day!!!

  37. WOW! I made this for din, added more tuna because I was post-workout and craving protein, was DELISH! I actually used two tablespoons of my fave salad dressing in place of oil and red wine vinegar. THANKS GINA! Keep those fresh ideas coming!

  38. I love tuna salads with olives, capers, butter lettuce, artichoke hearts, hard boiled eggs, anchovies, and of course tuna… but not just any tuna, ventresca tuna (aka: tuna belly!)

  39. This is perfect for me seeing as how I'm a mayo hater! Love how healthy delicious it is!

  40. This tuna salad looks delish! Whenever I want a quick lunch, I always go for canned tuna, but never knew of any interesting ways to prepare it. This idea's great!

  41. Vanessa, I bet that had a nice kick!

    Jason, any baby greens would work such as spinach or a blend.

  42. Could you substitute something for the arugula? I have all of the ingredients except for that.

  43. That salad looks great! I am always looking for unique recipes for tuna – I am definitely going to try this one.

  44. First time poster here. I am having this for lunch today at it is tasty. Since I am a Maryland girl, I added Old Bay to season it. Yum! Cannot wait to try out more recipes from this site.

    -Vanessa F.

  45. So happy a simple tuna salad put you in a state of blissful contentment! I think you would love my tuna casserole which is made from scratch… no canned soup, no potato chips! 🙂

  46. Having been severely traumatized as child from that infernal, infamous baked tuna casserole topped with crushed potato chips (as a condiment, no less), and tuna salads of various sort drenched with mayo, I bore no prejudice to trying your beautiful salad. Yes, this delicious mixture of arugula, tuna and pasta was refreshing and pleasing to the palate. A perfect meal for the warm days of summer. I used Dreamfields Pasta ( 5g digestible carbs per serving) for my family members who are carb conscious. We were in a blissful state of contentment. Thank you for this recipe. The salad, itself, opens up so many possibilities for different protein sources. Can't wait to have it again.

    Kudos, Gina!

  47. Jenniferia – I know! I figured the name will appeal to people who hate mayo!

    Sophia – Thanks so much, and I am so happy you enjoyed it! Sacrificing flavor is not an option!

    Tina, yes but I would add the arugula when you are ready to eat it so if you take this to work, I would probably bring the arugula in a zip lock bag.

    Cat – yes, you could also use low carb or brown rice pasta.

    I usually make this with tuna but I also enjoy it with roast beef so I am sure chicken would be good.

  48. YUM! I just made a tuna salad. Too. Next time I will have to try this one out.

  49. yum!! This sounds wonderful! I would substitute whole wheat pasta and then nearly the entire meal becomes a filling food meal for Weight Watcher's (except the cheese…not sure about the capers)…sounds wonderful!

  50. Have you tried this with chicken? Think it might be a nice option since I don't enjoy tuna.

  51. Will this be good refrigerated and eaten later?

  52. Just had this for lunch and it was as delicious as it is easy to make. I started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago, but only discovered your website very recently. Ever since, I've only cooked your recipes because the balance of health, flavor and points seems just right to me (I often find the Weight Watchers recipes cut back too much on flavor and ingredient combinations to save points). Thank you so much for putting the time and effort into creating and sharing these wonderful dishes with us all. You're an inspiration!

  53. This will be a popular recipe, so many people despise mayo.

  54. YUM! I am going to try this ASAP. We love tuna salad.

  55. Looks so yummy! Being bookmarked 🙂

  56. The pasta makes this a bit more satisfying, but if you are eating low carb you can leave the pasta out.

  57. I love tuna with red wine vinegar. YUM

  58. Very cool! I love lemon, arugula and capers with tuna. Haven't tried it with pasta. My family usually does tuna with rice and mayo 🙂