Monday, August 3, 2015

Old Fashioned Tuna Macaroni Salad

An old fashioned dish made from tuna, macaroni, chopped egg, celery, peas, salt and pepper - and for my additions, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning. Lots of potential add-ins will make this your own too!
An old fashioned dish made from tuna, macaroni, chopped egg, celery, peas, salt and pepper - and for my additions, Old Bay and Cajun seasoning. Lots of potential add-ins will make this your own too!

Old Fashioned Tuna Macaroni Salad

Along with tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon, I have eaten this macaroni salad so many times over the summer, I figured it was about time to share it!

It's not anything new of course, or even anything I've created - frankly it's been around longer then me - but if you're a little younger than me, you may have grown up with it. If you're closer to my age, you may remember it through your early days of marriage, or those struggling first apartment or college years, because it was both easy to make and economical. I'd be willing to bet that at least some of you also still make it yourself!

It's nice and light on these hot summer days, when you just want something simple for lunch or supper - or even to snack on throughout the day. I literally get a craving on for it, especially this time of year!

I've written my version in the ratios I like, and the way I've always made it - in the old fashioned way - simply tuna, noodles, chopped egg, celery, peas and salt and pepper, but for me, two individual touches. Old Bay, which makes an appearance with just about any seafood dish I make, and a touch of Cajun seasoning - our standard Deep South all-purpose seasoning. I'm not too big on "chunk light" tuna, but my husband picked this up so I'm using it. It works okay for this but not my number one choice. I prefer "solid" and in olive oil albacore or yellowfin for flavor - just a personal preference. Use whatever your budget allows.

Oh goodie, this also gives me a chance to tell you about my Fasta Pasta microwave cooker {affil link}! Y'all know I love telling you about products I have, love and use regularly, and this certainly is one of them!

I learned about Fasta Pasta {affil link} from The View on ABC more than a year ago when Whoopie talked about products she loved... so I'm surprised I haven't told you about it before now, because I use this just about every time I need pasta for a recipe. It's especially good for those times when you only need a half pound or less of pasta, but I've cooked rice, potatoes, green beans and broccoli in it too.

Basically you dump in your pasta, add water to the recommended fill line (from the booklet that comes with it), microwave without the lid for the recommended time, stir and microwave a few minutes longer, put the lid on and drain. It has handles to make it super easy to remove from the microwave, and the lid has drain holes so you can walk it right to the sink, drain it and then you're ready to go. No watching a pot and waiting for the water to boil. Another of my favorite kitchen gadgets {affil link}!

For the salad, my secret is to mix the mayonnaise in while the noodles are still hot, then add the other ingredients, gently folding in the tuna and peas last. You can use tuna in water if you like, but I prefer the flavor tuna in oil adds.

Adjust ingredients as you please of course - less or more mayo, more tuna or eggs, whatever you like! Though I hope you'll try it once as written, I've included some of the typical add-ins that have appeared in more recent years in the cook's notes. Some will tell you it absolutely must have bell pepper. Others feel pickles are necessary. I say, let your imagination run free and make it your own.

I like to serve it right when I make it, when it's soft and creamy, but of course, refrigerate if your prefer it cold and be sure to refrigerate any leftovers. If there are any! Great as a side dish, main dish or just to grab a couple of spoonfuls throughout the day.

Here's how I make it.

Recipe: Old Fashioned Tuna Macaroni Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 10 min
Total time: 20 min
Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1/2 pound elbow (or shell) macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, more or less
  • 1 hard boiled egg, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning and Old Bay, to taste
  • 1 to 2 (5 ounce) cans tuna in oil, undrained
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons pickle juice, optional

Prepare macaroni according to package directions; drain and place into storage or serving bowl. Immediately add mayonnaise and toss until well coated. Mix in the egg, celery and seasonings. Add the tuna and peas and gently fold in, adding pickle juice, if using, and/or additional mayonnaise if needed for desired moisture. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers. Double or increase as desired.

Optional Add-ins: Chopped sweet onion, purple or green onion, chopped sweet or dill pickles or relish, chow chow, black or green pitted olives, sweet bell pepper, pimentos, chopped or shredded carrots, shredded cheese, 1-2 tablespoons of a creamy salad dressing, juice from a wedge or two of fresh lemon, splash of pickle juice or cider vinegar, chopped fresh parsley, dill, and paprika, are a few of the more common ones. Shredded iceberg lettuce was often used as an extender. May also substitute flaked salmon, boiled shrimp or shredded or chopped cooked chicken for the tuna. For a sweeter taste use a salad dressing like Miracle Whip, for the mayo, if you prefer.


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Posted by on August 3, 2015

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