Cooking On A Budget: Tuna Macaroni Salad

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tuna Macaroni Salad


Ah, tuna macaroni salad, the quintessential staple to any summer picnic table.

Everyone's got a favorite tuna pasta recipe and generally make it with elbow macaroni. Some like the mayonnaise base, others go for one that is dressed with a vinaigrette. Since I am somewhat of a food snob and have personal preferences, I always use Hellmann's Mayonnaise as the binder. I also think that the best dry pasta on the grocery shelf is Barilla.

Instead of using elbow macaroni I switched when Barilla's put out a "Cellantani" pasta. Cellantani is a curly pasta with ribs that catches the tuna mix and to me just tastes better. Barilla has also done the same thing with ribs on their elbow pasta. I made one today using elbows as that is what I had in my pantry.

One thing I don't like to do is overcook the pasta. It's so disappointing when I grab a spoonful of tuna mac on a picnic table buffet that looks good, then when I bite into it the pasta is mushy and pasty! Yuck.

For this recipe, and because of the size of our family, I cooked only 3/4 of a box and wound up with 10-12 side servings.
  • 3/4 box elbow or cellantani pasta - cooked per box directions
  • 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
  • 3 - 5 oz. cans tuna fish - drained
  • 3/4 cup finely minced onion (I did mine in a small food processor.)
  • 3/4 cup finely minced celery (I did mine in a small food processor.)
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes or fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. black pepper (coarse ground)
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic
  1. Cook the pasta to el dente according to box directions and rinse it with cold water. (For any other pasta meal I don't rinse the pasta but for tuna mac I do.)
  2. When the pasta is cooled, mix it in a large bowl with the mayonnaise and onion and celery along with all of the spices. Use your hands for this - they are the best tool to use.
  3. Keep refrigerated and bring out to get to room temperature. If you are serving outdoors, make sure you place your bowl on ice as the onion will spoil the salad.

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