Grandmother might not recognize this Macaroni Tuna Salad…especially the vegan version!

Macaroni and Tuna Salad My Way

  • 1 lb. whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 2 really large shallots, sliced into thin rings
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cans/jars olive oil packed, safe-catch tuna, plus juice
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise or vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1 heaping tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup, or more, thawed frozen peas (use fresh if in season)
  • A sheet or two of toasted nori sushi sheets or other dried seaweed

Cooking Note:

To toast the nori, grab the sheet with metal tongs and hold over your gas flame or electric burner, turning quickly. It happens fast, we’re talking a second or two here. On my Aga, I place it on the simmering plate for a couple of seconds.

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52 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like that vegan version and all the other ways you have tweaked the recipe.

    1. Thank you! I can never resist the urge to fiddle with things!

  2. Delicious pasta salad made especially tasty with the addition of tuna.

    1. Thank you Jovina! We all adored this version.

  3. Suzassippi says:

    I love the sound of this!

    1. Thanks Suz! I think you will like this one. It’s familiar, but just a bit more interesting.

  4. NativeNM says:

    I’ve had macaroni salad and tuna salad but I haven’t ever had the two combined. What a great idea!!

    1. Thanks Jan! We grew up with this dish, it was one of mom’s favorites and it fed a crowd!

  5. This sounds perfect for my family, Dorothy

    1. Thanks Robbie! I think they will be happy. If there is pasta involved, my gang is always happy!

  6. Misky says:

    Like the addition of nori; good mix of texture with it.

    1. Thanks Misky! It added a little something extra to the dish.

  7. Lovely take on the traditional salad! I really like the addition of toasted nori to top. Great idea! 🙂

    1. It was sitting on the counter, so I asked myself “why not?” It was a nice addition, and I made a couple of portions without the tuna and the extra nori. It was pretty darn good!

  8. Carole Renca says:

    This looks great Dorothy! I can’t wait to try it! I usually buy tuna in water to reduce the fat, but I will get the oil base. Do you recommend a certain type of tuna?

    1. The tuna I’ve been buying at the co-op is called Safe Catch, and it has a low-sodium version which I use because I have to watch my salt. It goes on sale often, so I stock up then!

  9. Bernadette says:

    This was definitely a more wholesome version of this recipe than the version I would make when I was a young woman. It was a standard in our home for back yard barbecues and then discarded because of the fat content. Now, thanks to you, I can make it again without the guilt.

    1. Thanks Bernie! This one is totally guilt free, but still has that flavor we remember!

  10. Eha says:

    Well, no – grandmother probably had not used sriracha or heard of nori 🙂 ! This promises a lot of taste with almost no sins and i cannot wait to try !!!

    1. You are so right! So many of the ingredients we gave in our fridges simply weren’t common back then.
      Tasty and guilt free!

  11. Sherry Mackay says:

    oh yes a good amount of tuna is essential!

  12. Forestwood says:

    I might try this for my fussy “I don’t eat cold stuff,” man of the house. I like that it has dijon in it and might split the mayo between sour cream and mayo. Or is all mayo essential to the flavour, Dorothy?

    1. The mayo just adds a bit of creaminess, and I think next time I make this, I might just try the sour cream! I’m all for a little extra tang! Let me know how it comes out!

  13. Americaoncoffee says:

    Your grandma would be so amazed as to how you modernized her recipes. 😍 I for one use a lot of Spinach pasta. ♥️

    1. Oh, that’s good too!

  14. Natasha says:

    Sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to try the toasted nori. Thanks for the tip

    1. Thanks Natasha! The nori adds a little extra interest!

  15. I grew up on tuna macaroni salad so this post made me smile from beginning to end.

    1. I bet your mom stretched everything as far as it would go, too, not that a big bowl of macaroni doesn’t already feed an army!

  16. This is one salad I’ve made for years. Lots of tuna is a must; I feel like I’m getting gypped otherwise! Mayo is a must, too, and I’m not a huge mayo lover but for this salad, yes. It holds it all together. I toss in whatever veggies I have on hand (peas, carrots, corn, baby limas) and chop up some scallions. Most times I use pasta shells; just seems appropriate with the whole ocean theme lol. The best pasta tuna salads I ever had were the ones I made while on vacation in Montauk; I used fresh caught tuna, poached, chilled and flaked. Good heavens, was that delish. Can’t beat the real thing, D!

    1. Oh man, I’m drooling for that fresh tuna salad! It was like the first time I made a salad Nicoise with fresh, seared tuna – no going back!

      1. I’m drooling now! I often will make a little “fish salad” for sandwiches or a light dinner using Bill’s catch of the day … if there are any left over porgies or fluke, that is! All you need is some shopped celery for crunch, mayo and a squirt of lemon and you’re good to go! A dab of Marie’s blue cheese salad dressing is fab in those salads! Little ideas you play around with in the kitchen often turn out to be the best!

      2. Fresh fish salad, need to do some experimenting myself now! I love the idea of the blue cheese here.
        I make a seafood salad with shrimp and scallops and crab, but haven’t added the fresh fish.

      3. The blue cheese gives it a lovely little kick! Just a dollop will do.

  17. Carolyn Page says:

    Yes, I have noticed the shallots getting bigger, Dorothy. Can’t say I mind. However, it is a little strange; they used to be much smaller!
    And yes, I always have nori sheets in the cupboard. They are generally eaten as a tasty snack; and a nutrition boost to boot.

    As for your ‘upgraded’ recipe. I used to love tuna salad. This recipe is certainly a little jump up from the one I used to make… It is truly make my mouth water.

    1. Thank you Carolyn! I love this one both ways, the nori is an ingredient my mother never used, but I’m sure she would have if she had tasted it!

  18. What an interesting topping 😉
    I don’t do often pasta salad with mayo in it, but I like your version and I would like to try it 😉

    1. I hope you enjoy it!

  19. Yum – this looks delicious. Thanks for including the vegan version. I look forward to giving it a try!

    1. Thanks! It was tasty! Both versions.

  20. Christy B says:

    What are the chances that we would both post about grandmothers~! I LOVE macaroni salads, they’re so yummy… 💗

    1. I’ve had many of these synchronized posts with other marvelous blog friends! 💕🩷

  21. This recipe looks very tasty! And yes lots of tuna!

    1. Thank you so much! It’s definitely crave worthy!

  22. The vegan version looks delicious!

  23. nancyc says:

    I’m a fan of tuna salad, so I’m sure I would love this version with macaroni! 🙂

    1. I love it because it’s a nod to my childhood! But I make it because most of the family loves it!

  24. Okay, another family memory here, but my mom always crunched potato chips on top instead of seaweed! My printer is over heating today. I need to get a binder so I can create my own Dorothy cookbook. This might be one to try on the grandkids! Hugs, C

    1. Oh boy, now I have to try it with potato chips, which just happen to be my biggest cheat for which I have no stop button. I only let myself buy them in the tiny bag when I’m sharing, and I always feel compelled to count out the chips, you know, just to be fair…

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