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Tuna Macaroni Salad

This is our absolute favorite creamy Tuna Macaroni Salad made with tender elbow macaroni, olive-oil packed tuna, lots of veggies, and a creamy dressing with a "secret ingredient" that will blow you away with the flavor it adds to this salad!
Course Appetizer, lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword tuna macaroni salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 424kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $6.32


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (23g) uncooked elbow macaroni (3 and 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup (129g) frozen peas
  • 2 cans (5 oz.; 142g EACH) tuna (preferably in olive oil)
  • 1/3 cup (63g) prepared Ceasar salad dressing Note 1
  • 3/4 cup (135g) regular mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup (151g) sour cream (I use fat-free)
  • Fine sea salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup (93g) bread and butter pickles
  • 1/2 cup (67g) (1/2 of a pepper) red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup (65g) (2 stalks) celery
  • 1 cup (77g) matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 cup (72g) diced sweet onion (or red onion) Note 2


  • PASTA: Prepare the macaroni according to package directions. (Don't cook all the pasta; only use 1 and 3/4 cups.) Make sure to generously salt the water (I add 1 teaspoon to every 4 cups of water.), or the whole salad will taste under-seasoned. Add frozen peas in with the pasta for the last minute of boiling. Drain pasta and peas, rinse under cold water, let cool, and allow to dry.
  • DRESSING: Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients: the Caesar salad dressing, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper to taste, (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.) and garlic powder.
  • VEGGIE PREP: prepare veggies (measure all AFTER dicing): dice the bread and butter pickles, bell pepper, celery, carrots (or use matchstick carrots), dice the onion.
  • ASSEMBLY: Add pasta and peas to a large bowl. Top with all the salad veggie toppings and the thoroughly drained tuna. Add dressing and gently mix everything to combine. Stir until ingredients are well coated in the dressing and then taste and season again. I usually add another 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt here, but depends on how salty the Cesar salad dressing is.
  • SERVE: Store in the fridge until serving (best served when the salad has been chilled about 20-30 minutes). Re-mix after chilling and enjoy. Salad best used within 2-4 hours of being made.


Note 1: My personal favorite Caesar dressing is Marzetti's Simply Dressed Ceasar dressing (typically in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store).
Note 2: Use a shallot for less-intense onion flavor or soak the diced onions in salted ice water for 10 minutes. Drain thoroughly before using in this salad.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.9g | Protein: 16.4g | Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 38.1mg | Sodium: 406mg | Fiber: 3.6g | Sugar: 6.3g