This tuna pasta salad is the perfect busy weeknight meal, easy to whip up in 15 minutes with only 5 ingredients!
School, Eat, Soccer, Eat, Sleep, Repeat
Is anybody else’s kids eating 5 meals a day? Geez, it feels like as soon as I pick them up from school they eat a snack (sometimes it feels more like a meal), go straight to soccer, hit the fridge again when they get home, shower, chill for a bit, eat a bowl of cereal, and then head to bed.
That’s our schedule 3-4 times a week, and practices are sometimes staggered, so we may be eating in shifts. If I don’t have a meal planned, prepped, and mostly ready before they get out of school, it just isn’t going to happen. And if it doesn’t happen, they just eat whatever they can find – nutritious or not. So anytime I can make a meal ahead of time, ready and waiting for anyone anytime, I feel like mom of the year.
Sometimes the simplest meals are the faves.
My mom used to make this tuna pasta salad when we were growing up. She called it “Rebecca’s Salad,” I guess because some lady named Rebecca must’ve given her the recipe – who knows. Either way, she made it likely for the same reasons I mentioned above; we were always running to dance, softball, and baseball, so this was a regular on our weeknight menu.
So, of course, I carried it over to my family. And I kid you not, every time I ask the boys for input when menu planning, one of them inevitably asks for tuna pasta salad. They love it! It’s light, easy to dish up right out of the fridge before and/or after practice, and is the perfect mix of protein and carbs for starving boys.
5 Ingredients for Tuna Pasta Salad:
- rotini pasta
- ranch dressing
- canned tuna
- dill relish
- Parmesan cheese
How to Make Tuna Pasta Salad in 15 Minutes:
Cook the pasta. (We like rotini, but you could also use shells or elbow macaroni.) While it’s cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Once the pasta is finished, drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Don’t skip this part! Rinsing it with cold water will prevent your pasta from sticking together, and it also gives you a head start on chilling it.
Add the cooled pasta to the other ingredients and toss together. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.
If you want to add a little green to your meal you could serve it on top of your favorite salad greens! Also, my mom always added chopped black olives. I remember liking it that way, but we don’t always have them on hand so we generally skip them. One more note: I don’t like measuring things. I’m an eyeballer, which is why I prefer cooking over baking usually. Just know that, because of this lack of measuring tendency, these measurements are more like my best estimation. If you want more ranch, pour it on! Less Parm? Go for it. These are merely guidelines – so go crazy, people.
Fast doesn’t have to mean fast food.
We’re all busy. I’m learning to say no more often and trying to reclaim rest and downtime. It’s definitely a process (and daily struggle). But our rushed days don’t have to mean we sacrifice a meal at home.
Grabbing that burger after practice not only adds up at the end of the week, but it also takes away from that satisfying feeling of enjoying a meal. Eating on the go, in the car, just isn’t the same as eating at the kitchen table. Or, at times, it was easier (and actually more restful) for us to eat as a family at the soccer fields, picnic-style.
I encourage you to try this meal! Spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating and talking and resting – even just one night a week – and see how it affects your family. Share with us how it goes in the comments!
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Tuna Pasta Salad
- 16 oz. rotini pasta
- 3 – 5 oz. cans of tuna drained
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ¼ cup dill relish
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta. While it’s cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Once the pasta is finished, drain and rinse with cold water until cool. Add the pasta to the other ingredients and toss together. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.