This family favorite tuna macaroni salad is made with canned tuna, elbow mac, bell peppers, parsley, green onion, iceberg lettuce, and mayonnaise. Try it for your next potluck, BBQ, or family gathering.

Growing up, almost every other Friday my mother would serve our family this tuna macaroni salad. (Fish on Fridays, it’s a Catholic thing.)

Favorite Tuna Macaroni Salad

It’s such a simple salad, yet even now my heart skips a beat when I stop by my parents’ house and find out that’s what we’re having for dinner. I think it’s my favorite macaroni salad, and also my favorite tuna salad, of all time. In the whole world. Period.

Macaroni pasta with the creamy canned tuna and mayo, along with the crunch of bell peppers, celery, and lettuce?

A little squirt of lemon juice for some tang?

So good!

This salad is also one of my go-to dishes to prepare for a mid-week meal. It’s easy to make, filling, and budget-friendly.

A Word About Canned Tuna for Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna packed in olive oil is more flavorful than tuna packed in water. If you can find it packed in olive oil, use it but don’t drain it. If you have tuna packed in water, drain it, and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

We like Wild Planet Wild Albacore Tuna packed in extra virgin olive oil, and Genova Yellowfin Tuna packed in olive oil.

Need to make ahead?

The saddest thing about this salad is that the lettuce will get wilty and even soggy if stored for more than a few hours in the fridge. (We’ll eat up the leftovers anyway, we love it that much.)

So, if you want to make it a day or two ahead, do everything in the recipe except for adding the sliced iceberg lettuce. Add the lettuce when it’s time to serve.


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