Tuna Macaroni Salad – A Beloved Family Recipe
Almost every other Friday growing up my mother would serve our family this tuna macaroni salad. It’s such a beloved family recipe, it’s hard to explain our love of this salad, given its simplicity.
This tuna macaroni salad is easy to make, filling, and budget-friendly, to be sure.
But more importantly, it is irresistibly good once you take your first bite! The 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?
Friends, this tuna macaroni salad is on the menu for my last meal, it’s that good.
We always make more than we can eat. And even though the leftovers the next day aren’t nearly as good since the lettuce has lost its crispness, we still make enough to eat the next day.
Tuna Macaroni Salad RecipePrint
- 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 Cook the macaroni pasta: 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 Prep and chop other ingredients: While the macaroni is cooking, assemble the other ingredients. In a large bowl mix the green onion, bell peppers, parsley, tuna, celery and lemon.
3 Add the cooked macaroni, mayo, paprika, and pepper: 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.
4 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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