This Tuna Pasta Salad with Green Beans is full of crunchy and creamy texture and so much healthy goodness! With large elbow pasta, green beans, cucumber, tomatoes, celery, onions, a creamy and tangy dressing… and canned tuna of course! It’s a delicious and filling make-ahead pasta salad!
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Tuna Pasta Salad
I love a good summer salad. One that’s full of fresh veggies, herbs and delicious flavor.
And if there happens to be some lean protein and pasta in there – even better! Seriously, think about it - you’ve got yourself a well-balanced meal all in one big bowl!
And that’s what we’re talking about today… Tuna Pasta Salad with Green Beans!
- Veggies – Check
- Lean Protein – Check
- Pasta – Check
This salad is so good and full of such delicious flavors!
The dressing consists of fresh herbs like parsley and dill, a creamy base from the mayo and Greek yogurt, and some bright and tangy balance from the lemon juice, garlic powder, and Dijon mustard.
And there’s basically a garden full of veggies in there as well… with red onions, celery, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and green beans.
As you know I LOVE me some veggies and incorporating them wherever I can.
So when I was creating this pasta salad I kept thinking about another delicious tuna salad that I adore – the Nicoise Salad. It basically includes tomatoes, hard boiled eggs, Nicoise olives and depending on who’s making it – lots of veggies like green beans, peppers, cucumber, onions or shallots and even cooked potatoes.
The dressing is very simple – Dijon mustard vinegar and herbs. Traditionally anchovies were served on this French dish but somewhere along the way tuna steak became more of the norm.
So my tuna pasta salad is a hybrid of these two popular salad dishes… full of crunchy and creamy texture and so much healthiness.
I used canned tuna in water for this recipe but you could grill up some tuna steaks and take this salad to a whole new level. Mmm, mmm!
Canned Tuna Nutrition:
I’m sure you’ve heard the swirl about tuna… Is canned tuna healthy? Is canned tuna cooked? Is it wild-caught? Does it contain too much mercury or BPA?
Allow me to shed some light on all your tuna nutrition questions:
Is Canned Tuna Cooked?
Canned tuna is always cooked. Most tuna is cooked twice actually but there are a few brands that only cook once. Usually the tuna is caught and frozen immediately on fishing vessels. It’s transferred to facilities where it’s inspected, thawed, cleaned, then pressure-cooked.
Next, the skin and bones are removed. The tuna is then canned, water or oil is added and then it’s vacuumed sealed. (There are some brands that do not add any water or oil to their canned tuna.) The cans get cleaned and sent back through the pressure cooking process to sterilize the cans.
When the cans have cooled they are labeled. Finally the cans go through a quality control process and if standards are met are shipped to the marketplace.
Is Tuna Good For You?
Yes! Tuna is good for you and a rich source of lean protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. And like most foods should be consumed in moderation.
PBA, an industrial chemical used as protective lining in some food and beverage cans that in recent years, has been linked to negative health effects. When possible purchase cans of tuna that say “PBA-Free.”
Also, bigger fish contain more mercury than smaller fish. Here’s why - either by absorbing it through their skin or scales from the water, or by eating other organisms that contain mercury. Bigger fish live longer, therefore, absorb/ingest more mercury. To lower your mercury intake, opt for smaller tuna fish—like light or skipjack tuna—over larger fish, like albacore, yellowfin/ahi, and bigeye tuna.
The average can of light and albacore tuna have mercury levels of 0.1 and 0.3 parts per million (ppm) mercury, well below the FDA safety level of 1.0 ppm, which includes a ten-fold safety factor—measuring the actual limit is 10.0 ppm.
Is Canned Tuna Good For The Environment?
What about "wild-caught" or "dolphin-safe” tuna? Wild-caught just means the tuna wasn't farmed—and with canned tuna, it usually isn't.
"Dolphin-safe" was a buzzword decades ago when dolphin bycatch was a problem, but that's no longer the case.
Look for "pole-and-line caught" or "troll caught" on the label. This means the tuna was caught one fish at a time, not swept up in masse with other marine life.
Is tuna in a pouch the same as canned tuna?
Shelf-stable pouches are also an option when selecting your tuna. Many think they have a fresher flavor and texture, although pouch tuna is usually more costly because of the fact that canned tuna contains more water and less actual meet than a pouch with the same weight.
What is the healthiest canned tuna?
Well… we are not nutrition experts, but Wild Planet Tuna seems to be at the top of all the review lists. And like almost everything else in the world it can be purchased from Amazon.
Read more about Tuna Nutrition here:
Honestly, I wanted to dive into this topic for my own personal knowledge. And of course you know I like to share my wisdom and new found insight with you – right!??
I’m sure this is more than you every wanted to know about tuna. I’m sorry and you’re welcome!
How to make tuna salad:
Well now that we’re all informed and aware – let’s talk about how to make tuna pasta salad – shall we!??
Here’s how this pasta salad comes together:
Mix all the dressing ingredients together and set aside… chopped parsley, dried dill, mayo, Greek yogurt (or more mayo of you prefer), fresh lemon juice, Dijon mustard, water, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Add several cups of ice cubes and cold water to a large bowl. Then bring a large stock pot of water and a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the beans and add them to the ice water, allow them to sit for 5 minutes. Drain and cut the beans into 1½ inch pieces on the diagonal.
Again in that same large stockpot, bring water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt. Add the elbow pasta and cook it according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally until the pasta is al dente. Drain the water off the pasta.
Add the cooked elbow pasta and beans, cucumber, tomatoes, tuna, celery, and onions to a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle on the dressing and fold gently until everything is combined.
Chill or serve immediately – you decide!
This Tuna Pasta Salad with Green Beans has it all!
I can’t wait for you to make it and take it to BBQ’s and cookouts this summer.
I’m sure all your friends and family will agree – it’s the Best Tuna Salad ever!!
Tuna Pasta Salad with Green Beans
Tuna Pasta Salad with Green Beans is full of crunchy and creamy texture and so much healthy goodness!
For The Dressing:
- ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup canola mayonnaise
- ¾ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt or mayo of you prefer
- 1 teaspoon dried dill, or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For The Salad:
- ½ pound haricots verts or French green beans, stems trimmed
- 10 ounces large elbow pasta - cooked in salted water until just barely al dente
- 1 English cucumber, thickly sliced then quartered
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 9.2 ounces of your favorite canned tuna, drained (two 4.6 oz cans)
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- ½ medium red onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Add several cups of ice cubes and cold water to a large bowl. Then bring a large stock pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add the beans to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain the beans, then add them to the ice water, allowing them to sit for 5 minutes. Drain and cut the beans into 1½ - inch pieces on the diagonal.
- In that same large stockpot, bring water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the tablespoon of salt. Add pasta and cook according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta.
- Add cooked pasta, beans, cucumber, tomatoes, tuna, celery, and onions to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle on the dressing and fold gently until everything is combined.
- Chill or serve immediately.
You can save the water from the green beans and reuse it for the pasta to save time. If you do this, only add 2 more teaspoons of salt to the water to cook the pasta.
Serving Size7-8 ounces
Amount Per Serving Calories 323Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 158mgSodium 1664mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 23g
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Yum! What a hearty pasta salad! I love the tuna addition. It makes it seem like a complete meal. This would be the perfect summer lunch.
Thank you so much, Jenna! We love serving it as a meal in the summer - it's nice and lite but still has great flavor and texture!
Tuna pasta salad is one of my husband's favorites. I make one very similar to this recipe, but I love ALL of the veggies that you have in this recipe.
Thank you so much, Anne! I'm all about adding extra veggies... they're so beautiful and so good for us!