Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers

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Scrumptious tuna pasta salad with capers is the star attraction of any picnic or potluck spread. This quick and easy 20-minute recipe will have you in and out of the kitchen in no time flat! You’ll love that this colorful summer salad is very versatile. Simply add or subtract ingredients according to your liking. Kosher dill pickles can be substituted for capers. Red bell pepper can be used instead of tomatoes. This popular side dish can also be served as a hearty meal for lunch or dinner.

Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers and Colorful Veggies

Tuna Pasta Salad Ingredients

What are the ingredients for a delicious tuna pasta salad? Here’s the ingredient list for this yummy pasta salad recipe: medium-size shell pasta, albacore tuna, celery, red onion, grape tomatoes, black olives, capers, fresh basil, mayonnaise, dijon mustard made with white wine, apple cider vinegar, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Tuna Pasta Salad ingredients

Tuna Pasta Salad Recipe

While the water for the pasta is coming to a boil, start prepping the other ingredients. Cook the shell pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain off the hot water and rinse briefly to cool down the noodles. In a medium bowl, mix together the tuna, mustard, mayo, vinegar, cheese, salt and pepper.

Tuna Macaroni Salad in a bowl

How to Make Tuna Macaroni Salad

Add the cooked shell pasta to the tuna mixture. Fold the ingredients together. In a separate bowl, toss the veggies together until well mixed.

Tuna Macaroni Salad Recipe

Macaroni Salad with Tuna and Capers

With a large spatula or wooden spoon, combine the veggies with the tuna mixture.

Tuna Pasta Salad served in a large blue bowl.

Yummy Tuna and Macaroni Salad

Generously garnish your tuna pasta salad with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. You can also grind a bit more black pepper on top as well. Mmmm…doesn’t this look scrumptious? Your delicious tuna and macaroni salad is now ready to serve and enjoy!

Tuna Pasta Salad on a galvanized serving tray.

How to Serve Tuna Pasta Salad

At my house, a fun presentation of summer salad recipes is half the fun!

Tuna Macaroni Salad on a tray.

Unexpected Serveware for Tuna Pasta Salad

When entertaining friends on hot summer days, serve your cool, refreshing, tuna pasta salad on a galvanized serving tray lined with pretty linen napkins.

Tuna Pasta served in a camping cup.

Today I served my summer salad recipe in an unexpected way. I used retro tin camping mugs. These make-shift bowls with handles offer the perfect way to enjoy a light meal outdoors while leisurely sitting in chairs. When everyone’s wrapped up in lively conversations you can conveniently serve this meal to your friends without interrupting the flow to ask guests to move to a table.

A serving of tuna pasta salad.

Serving Size for Tuna Pasta Salad

In case you were wondering, when served as an entree this tuna pasta salad recipe serves 6 adults. As a side dish it serves 8 to 10.

Tuna Macaroni Salad served at a potluck.

Kitchen Tools and Serveware for Pasta Salad Recipe

I love finding unique serveware that’s happy, festive, stylish and convenient. Over the past few months I’ve been collecting galvanized metal trays and tiered stands because I love their vintage farmhouse feel. These items are perfect for spring and summer entertaining, and, of course, for serving this delicious pasta salad recipe!

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers and Colorful Veggies

Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers

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  • 1 16-ounce box of pasta (medium shells), cooked al dente
  • 2 12-ounce cans albacore tuna packed in water, fully drained
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 + 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard (made with white wine)
  • 3 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing
  • 45 tablespoons non-pareil capers, fully drained (plus more for garnishing)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 10.5 ounces grape tomatoes (about 21/4 cups), halved
  • 1 6-ounce can medium black olives, halved
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil, plus more for garnishing
  • 4 twists of freshly-ground black pepper for garnishing


  1. Boil the medium-sized pasta shells according to package directions until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, cut and slice the veggies. Add them to a large bowl along with the capers. Toss all of the ingredients together.
  3. Open two cans of tuna and drain off the water. Add the tuna to a large bowl along with the mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Using a fork, break up the tuna into small pieces and mix well.
  4. When the pasta is al dente, drain off the water. In a colander, rinse the pasta briefly to cool it down and bring it to room temperature. Add the pasta to the tuna mixture. With a large spatula or wooden spoon, fold everything together until combined.
  5. Add the tuna-and-pasta mixture to the veggies. Fold all the ingredients together. Generously garnish the top of your tuna pasta salad with freshly-ground black pepper, Parmesan cheese, and thin slices of fresh basil. If desired, sprinkle a few extra capers on top. Your delicious summer salad is ready to serve and enjoy!


A NOTE ABOUT THE QUANTITY OF CAPERS FOR THIS RECIPE: I absolutely love the tangy flavor of capers, so I use the full 5 tablespoons. But if you’re not familiar with this ingredient, I recommend that you first assemble the tuna pasta salad using just 4 tablespoons. Then before garnishing the salad do a quick taste test. If desired, adjust the quantity of capers upwards.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Lunch, Snack, Dinner, Picnic, Potluck, Party
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: tuna pasta salad, cold pasta salad, tuna pasta salad recipe

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com


Save this delicious tuna macaroni salad recipe for later. Pin it to Pinterest!

Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers


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Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com


Do you have a favorite summer salad recipe? What do you think about this tuna pasta salad? I invite you to join the conversation in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!

30 thoughts on “Tuna Pasta Salad with Capers”

  1. I made a HUGE batch of this and shared a little with the kids but most I have kept for lunches for myself. It makes a really delicious change to my sandwiches for lunch.

  2. This looks really good. In fact, I am planning to whip this up later tonight. Luckily, I have all the ingredients available. Thank you for sharing the recipe. I am so excited.

  3. This looks like the perfect summer dish! I will definitely be making this for our next cookout! Thank you for sharing!

  4. This looks amazing, I make a lot of Pasta Salad in the summer and with the addition of capers my husband will love. Making this for lunch tomorrow. thanks for the recipe.

  5. Oh this tuna pasta salad looks so incredible! Id love to make this salad for an upcoming picnic with my friends along with some cheese crisps. thanks for the recipe!

  6. I love the idea of adding capers to the classic tuna salad! I think I’ve just found the perfect dish for June 1st summer corn roast. Thanks so much for sharing.

  7. Love all the tanginess in this pasta salad from the olives, capers, and mustard! so good!


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