Pasta Salad Recipe With Beans And Tuna

pasta salad

Where did this pasta salad recipe originate?

I actually can’t take too much credit for this recipe, it was my mums pasta salad recipe, or more likely, a recipe she found somewhere and created multiple times throughout my childhood. This pasta salad recipe features a special mix of beans and cooked tuna. I don’t remember my mum adding any herbs or spices to the tuna salad, just a little salad cream which, whilst a common sight in British cupboards or fridges, may actually be hard to find elsewhere in the world so I’ve adapted this part of the recipe slightly and added some seasonings and a hint of chilli to kick this dish up a notch. This recipe is based on 4 servings of 360kcal each but could serve more as part of a larger meal.

Do you have a diet restriction?

This recipe is:

  • Dairy Free
  • Nut Free
  • Ultra Processed Food Free

Ultra processed food free recipes are recipes that use ingredients where no additives have been used. This will include ingredients that can be made at home to be UPF free such as stock cubes, sauces and seasonings.

Admittedly, this isn’t the most inclusive recipe however the pasta could also be made gluten free if using a gluten free pasta. You should also check that the mayonnaise you are using is free from milk if necessary to be dairy free.

Step 1: Cook the pasta

To make this pasta salad, I love to use a tricolour dry pasta made from spinach and tomato but you can use any type of pasta you prefer, Whole wheat is the healthiest option with vegetable based pastas like chickpeas pasta or lentil pasta being a close second. Weigh out 250g of pasta and cook according to directions. Most suggest boiling with a pinch of salt for 10-15 minutes. Drain and let your pasta cool completely.

Step 2: Add the mixed beans

The beans in this mix are quite specific. In some supermarkets in England this particular tin of pre cooked beans is called a mixed bean salad and in others I’ve seen it called a Mexican bean mix…although I’m yet to work out what exactly makes it Mexican. This mix contains Red Kidney Beans, Black Eyed Beans, Green Beans, Borlotti Beans, Haricot Beans, Sweetcorn, Red Peppers and Chickpeas, If you cant find this specific mix then its fine to make up your own or a similar mix depending on what you can find. Add 1 can or 280g of your own cooked bean mix.

Step 3: Add some flavour

To this, add 2 cans of cooked tuna, if you prefer to buy fresh then add 200g of cooked flaked tuna and mix well. Add 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper and 1/4 tsp of mild chilli. Chives also work really well in this dish although I always forget to add them as you can see from the photo, add as much as you like! Now for the less healthy part. If you are happy for your salad to remain dry then you can totally skip the mayonnaise in this step. Add 2 tablespoons of light mayonnaise and a tablespoon of tomato puree. Mix well to add some moisture and tang to this dish. Serve in a large pasta bowl and add a new dish to any party or barbeque!

Can I freeze this recipe:

Personally I have never tried to freeze this recipe however I have many warm pasta dishes that I regularly freeze, defrost and reheat. Of course this pasta salad does not need reheating but I have faith that the pasta, the beans and even the tuna would survive the freezing and defrosting process well however I’m not convinced that the mayonnaise will keep a pleasant texture. Be sure to let me know if you try!

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pasta salad

Pasta Salad Recipe With Beans And Tuna

My mums pasta salad recipe is one of the best healthy pasta salads you will find in my opinion! packed with protein and vegetables.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, British, Italian
Servings 4
Calories 360 kcal


  • 250 g dry pasta
  • 300 g cooked/tinned bean mix see main blog section for details
  • 200 g cooked tuna 2 tins
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp mild chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp light mayonaisse
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree


  • Cook pasta according to instructions, typically boil for 10-15 minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
  • Add all of the other ingredients and mix well.
  • Serve and keep refrigerated. Use within 3-4 days.


See main blog post for more detailed instructions and pictures.
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1 Comment

  1. One Hungry Bunny says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe!

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