Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Pasta

Hello and welcome! Today I have an incredibly easy salad, customizable and so very delicious. A citrus dijon dressing dresses this tuna salad; with celery, cucumber, radishes, green and red onions, and plenty of herbs, Kalamata olives and Pepperoncini for flavor. The pasta is totally optional; this salad is fantastic on its own or as a sandwich. But I had a craving for cold pasta, and I love how the spirals of perfectly al dente Rotini pick up bits of tuna, lemon zest, seasoning and herbs – Oh my goodness, this is so good! Let’s get to the recipe: Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Pasta.

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Citrus Dijon Dressing

If you opt to add pasta, get the salted water going first. Then, let’s get the dressing going. To a large mixing bowl, add two tablespoons of your favorite Dijon mustard, the juice of one lemon and the zest and juice of one lime. Whisk in about a tablespoon of olive oil until the oil is emulsified. Add some cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, a pinch of celery salt and a pinch of Kosher salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Then, we’re just chopping some vegetables. Slice up about three ribs of celery and add them to the bowl with the dressing. I am using half of an English cucumber and I opted to scrape out the seeds. I sliced each long half in half again and thinly sliced the cucumber. After slicing the top and bottom off of my two radishes, I quartered them and thinly sliced the quarters. Add all the veggies to the bowl with the dressing.

Then we will add the onions to the mix. I have about 1/4 of a small red onion and three scallions. Dice the red onions and thinly slice the white and green parts of the green onions.

Now For the Tuna

I did a little research on oil-packed tuna; consulting a recent taste test on America’s Test Kitchen. You could certainly use water-packed tuna, but the oil-packed variety is more moist and rich. Plus, the olive oil this tuna is packed in will add more richness and flavor to the salad overall. While I couldn’t find the two winning tuna brands at my local Publix, I did find one of the recommended brands: Genova, olive oil-packed Yellowfin Tuna.

Flavor Boosters

Now for the herbs, Kalamata olives, and Pepperoncinis. Roughly chop the olives and the Pepperoncinis. Use as much as you like, I have about 1/4 cup of each.

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For the herbs, I have curly and Italian parsley and fresh mint. Chiffonade the mint by rolling several leaves into a cigar shape and thinly slice into ribbons. Finely chop the parsley.

Mix all of these ingredients to combine in the dressing at the bottom of bowl. Then add the pasta – I have half a package of Rotini, about 8 ounces. Mix the pasta into the salad.

Taste for seasoning. I added more mint, chopped parsley, a sprinkling of Kosher salt, red pepper flakes and more fresh cracked black pepper.

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Give it another good stir with the additional seasonings you may have added.

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To top it off, I added about half a lemon’s worth of lemon zest and more fresh cracked pepper, just before serving.

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Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Pasta

For each individual serving, I topped the portions with some crumbled feta, toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil.

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This salad is so bright and rich. It has amazing texture: crunch from the celery, radishes and red onion; the cool snap from the cucumber; bouncy Rotini twirled with pepper and lemon zest, a soft salty punch from the Kalamata olives and the Pepperoncini; meaty flavorful tuna and creamy feta…

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Given all of that, as I mentioned at the top, this salad is so easy to customize. Chickpeas in place of pasta; The feta is a wonderful addition, but the salad is perfectly rich without it; use green olives; add capers… Sky is the limit, get creative and have fun with this salad, it’s a perfect summer dish. Another great salad that will definitely be on rotation at our house is the Spring Asparagus Salad with Eggs, check that recipe out, in case you missed it!

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today on Djalali Cooks. Give this Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Pasta a try and let me know how you like it; reach out to me here, or on Instagram. Take care and be well, everyone. xo Kelly

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Mediterranean Tuna Salad with Pasta

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Side Dish, Main Course, Lunch, Appetizer Mediterranean
By Kelly Djalali Serves: 4-8
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cooking Time: 15 Minutes Total Time: 25 Minutes

A satisfying tuna salad with a citrus dijon dressing. Add crunchy veggies, sharp olives and fresh fragrant herbs round out this zesty mediterranean salad.


  • Citrus Dijon Dressing
  • 2 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lime
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • Celery Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, to taste
  • Salad
  • 3 Celery Ribs, thinly sliced
  • Half an English Cucumber, quartered, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 Radishes, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Diced Red Onion
  • 3 Scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 cans Olive Oil Packed Tuna, plus their oil
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Kalamata Olives
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Pepperoncinis
  • 10-12 Mint Leaves, chiffonade cut
  • 8 oz. Rotini Pasta, cooked al dente
  • Half a Bunch Parsley, finely chopped
  • Lemon Zest, Black Pepper, Kosher Salt, More Herbs to taste
  • Crumbled Feta, Olive Oil, Black Pepper for serving


Citrus Dijon Dressing


In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until oil is emulsified and mixture is creamy and thickened and set aside.



Add veggies, tuna, olives, Pepperoncinis and herbs to the bowl with the dressing and stir to coat in dressing.


Add pasta to salad and toss to mix in the pasta.


Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, herbs and lemon zest if desired.


Portion salad on to plates and top with crumbled feta, a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper, if desired.

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  • Deborah H
    April 19, 2021 at 10:26 am

    This looks fabulous! I love a cold pasta salad when the weather warms up. I’ll save this to make on a hot sunny day.
    Thanks for the information on oil packed tuna, I would never have thought to use that over water packed, but it makes perfect sense and the added flavour is a benefit as well.

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 19, 2021 at 11:37 am

      Hi Deborah! Yeah, The oil-packed tuna is a must! you’ll be surprised how little oil there actually is in the can, but the tune is so moist and flavorful. This Genova brand has a slightly lemony flavor to it, so it’s really tasty. Let me know how you like the salad when you make it! Have a great week! xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    April 19, 2021 at 10:34 am

    Hi, Kelly! Anything Mediterranean always appears healthy and today’s salad is no exception. To think, just last night I snacked on water-packed yellow-fin tuna that needed quite a boost with ingredients from your recipe already on hand I didn’t think to use! I know what to do now 🙂 Thank you. Hugs~

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 19, 2021 at 11:38 am

      Hello Sylvia! Yes, give this recipe a try, I am certain you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for dropping me a line today, it’s always nice to hear from you! xo Kelly

  • Jill Sweetapple
    April 19, 2021 at 11:22 am

    So, did you have leftovers and how did they fare? I am going to try and half the recipe, but there will still be day 2. I’m thinking the radishes and celery will be fine and maybe the pasta will soak all the goodness in overnight.

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 19, 2021 at 11:40 am

      Hi Jill, Yes, we have leftovers for sure. I am having a bowl for lunch as I write this and it’s still so perfect! Everything held up really well. And since I only put the feta and pine nuts on individual portions, there isn’t any sogginess. Let me know how you like it! Have a wonderful week, xo Kelly

      • Jill Sweetapple
        April 29, 2021 at 2:34 pm

        This really is delicious. I halved it, and I think I even liked it better on day 2!

        • Kelly Djalali
          April 29, 2021 at 4:55 pm

          Hi Jill, I really liked it on day 2! The pasta soaks up even more and it still wasn’t soggy! So good! I am so happy you made this one and that you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for writing in to let me know! xo Kelly

  • Terry
    April 19, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Good morning it’s supposed to be hot here today so this looks like the best bet for dinner I’ll keep you posted❤️Mom

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 19, 2021 at 11:40 am

      Sounds great Mom, I think Gram will really like this salad. Talk soon, xo Kelly

  • Donna
    April 19, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    This sounds so yummy! Definitely going to try this one! Thanks so much!

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 20, 2021 at 8:25 am

      Hello Donna, It is a great Tuna Salad. Do let me know if you try and how it works out for you! Take care, xo Kelly

  • Julie Greene
    April 23, 2022 at 8:40 am

    Hi Kelly,
    Tuna and rotini with a vinaigrette is on regular rotation in our house as long as the temperature is above 70 degrees. Your Mediterranean tuna salad sounds fabulous! You have convinced me to try oil packed tuna and my husband will love the pepperoncinis. (He eats them plain as a snack.) Can’t wait to give it a try. One of the things I like most about your posts is that you give wonderful alternative ingredients for many of your recipes.


    • Kelly Djalali
      April 23, 2022 at 8:46 am

      Thanks so much, Julie! The oil-packed tuna is a revelation after you’ve been using water-packed tuna. It makes all the difference in flavor and texture – no more dry tuna! Try it, I predict you will not go back to water-packed tuna! Let me know what you think! Have a great weekend, xo Kelly

  • Suzanne+Smith
    April 23, 2022 at 11:28 pm

    Oh, I’m going to have to make this. Sounds so damn good! Thanks!

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 24, 2022 at 7:34 am

      Oh, it is, Suzanne – You will really enjoy this salad! xo Kelly

  • Holly
    April 26, 2022 at 2:50 pm

    This was delish! I made it on a warm, sunny Spring day. I added bits of bell pepper and tomatoes from the fridge and three hard boiled eggs. It’s a beautiful presentation when served it over lettuce- looks and tastes like Salade Nicoise. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Kelly Djalali
      April 26, 2022 at 4:29 pm

      Wonderful, Holly! I am so happy this was a hit for you. It’s such an easy and satisfying dish – perfect for a warm day. Thank you so much for reporting back on this one! xo Kelly