Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad

Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad

recipe image

Site Index Pasta salad Tuna Vintage recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. See my privacy policy for details.

There is almost nothing as good as a Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad! This recipe brings back the tastes of your childhood – it’s just like Grandma used to make, with a healthy twist! ( or not, don’t worry, you can still make this the normal way!) Read on to find out! 

Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad in a white bowl on white background
Tuna Macaroni Salad

Tuna Macaroni Salad is a Classic For a Reason!

Can I be sad that i am the only one in my family that eats tuna? Yes, it’s true! I can only make this when I have company over that over tuna macaroni salad as much as I do – that’s pretty much my other family members like my sister and my mom.

As I’m sure you know by now, I am a big fan of using whole wheat or grain-filled pasta whenever you possibly can in dishes. Sometimes you do need a glorious white pasta (decadent mac n’ cheese is a perfect example of this) but most times a dish and your health can benefit from substituting in a whole wheat or whole grain based pasta. We have been avid whole wheat/whole grain pasta lovers for over a decade now, starting our own conversion over when my 12 year-old was young. The kids now actually prefer whole grain pastas, as do Mike and I. There’s something so toothsome about them that I really enjoy.

a box of Catelli Ancient Grains macaroni for Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad

Summer time is on the way and I’ve oddly been dreaming about making a retro tuna macaroni salad. I love an amazing picnic salad and a tuna macaroni salad has been on my to-make list for as long as I can remember. What better time to try out new Catelli Ancient Grains macaroni than with my own twist on this time-tested classic –  retro tuna macaroni salad? Catelli Ancient Grains is the only 100% whole grain pasta of its kind, with a deliciously different, yet mild flavor. The five grains included in the pasta are quinoa, teff, amaranth, millet and sorghum. It’s also made with 100% all-natural, whole grain Canadian wheat, which as you can guess is very high in healthy fiber for us all! This line of pasta is only available in Western Canada right now.

Stirring together the tuna salad ingredients in a large white bowl
Stirring together the tuna salad ingredients

What ingredients are in tuna macaroni salad?

There are a few main ingredients in a tuna macaroni salad:

  • canned tuna, drained
  • mayonaise
  • whipped dressing ( yes, you need both for the best flavour!)
  • celery
  • boiled eggs
  • minced green onions
  • sweet green relish
  • pickles ( my favourite ingredient to add!)
Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad in a blue Pyrex Bowl
Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad in a blue Pyrex Bowl

Now, does the sight of this bring back memories of church picnics and potlucks of your youth? Oh, it sure does for me!  Tables groaning under the weight of delicious delights and there were always at least four or five different pasta salads! I would usually look for the tuna one, for even as a child I absolutely loved tuna in all forms.

close up of Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad in a blue Pyrex Bowl
Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad in a blue Pyrex Bowl

Karlynn’s Tuna Salad Recipe Tips & Tricks

  1. Now, I do make mine a little different. I think tuna always needs some dill pickles to cut the richness of the fish itself, not to mention in a mayo-based salad you definitely need the acid in there.
  2. I also have another secret to this salad’s success – and this is a family trick for sure- use half mayo and half whipped salad dressing. The tuna needs the tangy dressing, absolutely. While I am usually a mayo purist, in this salad, whipped salad dressing is the only way to go. Well, at least for half of it!
  3. You can customize the salad any way you like, from adding olives – which is the ultimate retro tuna salad!- which also add that acidity to cut through the richness. I added a lot of green onions since I love them, around 2 stalks of celery because I wanted a lot of crunch…the possibilities are endless. Mix, match and customize until you have a salad that you love!

Happy cooking everyone!

Love you more than chocolate!


While this post was generously sponsored by Catelli, all opinions and the recipe remain my own.

Pinnable Pic Recipes

PIN this photo to your SALADS Board and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST! 

Retro Tuna Macaroni Salad just like mom used to make, fast , easy and delicious! My secret is to add pickles to give it a great tangy taste! #tuna #fish #seafood #salad #macaroni #pasta #picnic #wholewheat #healthy #pickles #celery #pastasalad

Thanks to ads on this website, readers of The Kitchen Magpie are now sponsoring 2 families a month through the Edmonton Food Bank. Learn how you can help here.

Learn to cook like the Kitchen Magpie

a copy of Flapper Pie cook book

  • 1 gram box of Catelli Ancient Grains Macaroni 340
  • 3-4 hard boiled eggs peeled and chopped
  • 8 stalks of green onions chopped
  • 1/3 cup celery chopped finely
  • 2 medium dill pickles chopped finely
  • 2 ounces cans of tuna drained well 8 .
  • ¾ cup light mayonnaise
  • ¾ cup light whipped salad dressing
  • 3-4 tablespoons . sweet relish to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside to cool.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the pasta, eggs, celery, pickles, green onions and tuna. Toss with a fork to combine.

  • In a measuring cup, mix the mayo, whipped dressing, relish and pepper Taste and add more relish or pepper as needed.

  • Pour the dressing over the macaroni and stir gently to combine.

  • Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

  • Serve and enjoy!

Try olives, they are delicious and totally retro!

Serving: 12g, Calories: 96kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 62mg, Sodium: 462mg, Potassium: 90mg, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 290IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 0.6mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Made this recipe?

Share a photo of what you made on Instagram or Facebook and tag me @thekitchenmagpie or hashtag it #thekitchenmagpie.

Please rate this recipe in the comments below to help out your fellow cooks!

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I’m allergic to broccoli. I’ve never met a cocktail that I didn’t like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there’s nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Pasta salad Tuna Vintage recipe

Reader Interactions

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *