I remember first tasting this macaroni salad with tuna when we visited my Aunt Dorothy one summer. I was about 11 years old, but never forgot it! I've added a few more vegetables, like the red bell pepper and a little onion, but the flavor hasn't changed much at all.
For extra flavor, add a tablespoon or two of chopped dill pickles or sweet pickles along with the mayonnaise. Make it at least a few hours in advance for best flavor.
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a potluck gathering or party. If you are serving the salad at a cookout or taking it along on a picnic, be sure to store it safely at a temperature of 40° F or lower. See the tips and variations below the recipe for some flavor and safety tips.
- 8 ounces cooked and drained macaroni
- 12 ounces white tuna in water, drained and flaked
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large saucepan with about 3 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Cook the macaroni in the boiling salted water for "al dente" -- about 6 to 9 minutes according to the package instructions. Drain the macaroni in a colander and rinse it under cold running water.
- In a large bowl combine the drained tuna and macaroni. Stir in 1 cup of mayonnaise, the lemon juice, green and red bell pepper, and onion. Stir in more mayonnaise, as needed.
- Taste and add salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed.
- Cover the macaroni salad and refrigerate it until serving time.
Tips and Variations
- A tablespoon or two of chopped dill pickles or capers may be added to the mayonnaise for extra flavor.
- To dress it up a bit, serve the pasta salad on lettuce leaves or mixed salad greens with avocado wedges or sliced tomatoes.
- Replace the tuna with cooked and cooled shrimp or crabmeat.
- Instead of green onion, use about 1/3 cup of chopped red onion or sweet onion.
- Keep pasta salads refrigerated until serving time. If serving at a cookout or picnic, keep the salad on ice in the cooler (40° F or below) until you're ready to eat, and keep the cooler in the shade if at all possible. The salad should not sit out for longer than 2 hours -- 1 hour if the temperature is above 90° F.