Tuna Macaroni Salad

Almost every other Friday growing up my mother would serve the family this tuna macaroni salad. With six kids she loved this standard; it was easy to make, filling, relatively inexpensive, and best, we all gobbled it up.

Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 quart water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion, including green onion greens
  • 1 cup chopped red, orange, or yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 (5 oz) cans of tuna, packed in olive oil (do not drain), or if you get tuna packed in water, drain the water out and add 2-3 Tbsp olive oil.
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/3 a head of lettuce (preferably iceberg lettuce), sliced first and roughly chopped into 2 inch long strips
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (we use sweet Hungarian)
  • Fresh ground pepper


1 In a saucepan, add 1 cup of elbow macaroni to 1 quart of boiling water with an added teaspoon of salt. Cook at a rolling boil uncovered for about 10 minutes until the macaroni is just a little more cooked than al dente. When ready, remove from heat, drain and rinse with cold water.

2 While the macaroni is cooking, assemble the other ingredients. In a large bowl mix the green onion, bell peppers, parsley, tuna, celery and lemon. Add the cooked and drained macaroni. Fold in the mayonnaise until well mixed. Add the paprika. Add fresh ground pepper to taste. At this point you can make ahead and chill.

3 When ready to serve, gently fold in the lettuce. The salad does not make good leftovers as the lettuce will eventually get soggy.

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Tuna Macaroni Salad

Showing 4 of 15 Comments

  • Michele

    I make a salad similar to this. I absolutly love tuna and will give your recipe a try, thanks so much for sharing it!

  • Coralie

    Aha! Something else to do with studenty staples (Tuna, Peppers, Lettuce)
    Hot pasta and bolognaise with a salad on the side gets a bit tired. This will make a fun alternative and no dairy!
    Chunks of apple and nuts would be fine too right? Waldorfy Macaroni?
    Thanks again!

    xX cj

  • Tara

    I also make a salad similar to this, but without the lettuce. I always make double since leftovers are always the best. There is always a fight for whatever is left the next day for lunch!!

  • Andrea

    This sounds really good, and I think my family will like it also. Thanks for the recipe!

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