Some of my absolute favorite recipes bring me such a sense of nostalgia. A few weeks ago, Eric and I went grocery shopping at a fancy-ish grocery store up in the suburbs. It was our day date. We like to do things like grocery shop together, hold hands, and gaze into each others eyes in the produce section. Ha! I wish I was kidding. We really like doing the most mundane things together as boring as that may sound, but we always find a way to make it fun. Also, I think Eric just likes to get a sneak peek of what’s for dinner in the coming weeks. Back to the nostalgic part of this recipe. I am not 100% sure who’s recipe this originally is, but to me, it’s my mamas. Every single summer living under my parents roof when he was still with us, my dad would grill and my mom would make O Salad on the side. What’s O Salad you ask? In a nutshell, it is Tuna Pasta Salad and it is so, so good. It was my dad’s favorite and a family favorite. Okay, why the name O Salad? Well, my mom is from Minnesota and up there you can get pasta in the shape of, you guessed it, O’s. We have never been able to find O shaped pasta in these parts and it’s always drove my mom nuts. I still remember stocking up on two things when we would go visit family just outside of Minneapolis: About 10 boxes of O Pasta and about 10 boxes of Old Dutch Potato Chips.. Another favorite of my dad’s. If you want to send me O Pasta, I would just love ya! I remember my mom getting these boxes of pasta wrapped up for Christmas gifts from family. We take this pasta salad super seriously.
Weeks ago while Eric and I were having our romantic date at the fancy grocery store. I saw them. Well, not them.. exactly. The O shaped pasta was a lot larger than the kind from Minnesota that I grew up with, but it reminded me of it and it made me so happy I bought 10 packages and Eric thought I was certified nuts. I even tried the “babe, it’s for the blog!” and he just turned and walked away, surely mumbled something about me being crazy. I texted my mom a photo of the packages immediately and exclaimed, “O Salad!” She’s a tough critic. She replied to me. “They are too big.” …..Well mom, I made O Salad with them and it tastes pretty dern delicious. I won’t be sharing either. I’m just kidding. I have a dish in the fridge to bring you in the morning.
Please note you can use any type of pasta you want. We are just O shaped pasta elitists in this family. I really do promise it will taste the same to every single person in the world except for my family.
If you live in Minnesota and probably many other states you can find O shaped pasta. They also probably have a more pasta-y name, but I don’t know it. Just look in the pasta aisle for pasta shaped like an O. You simply can’t miss it, but if you live in a place like me and just can’t find it. I have used shells and ditalini pasta and I suppose it did taste pretty much the same.
This recipe is a childhood and family favorite and I am so excited to share it with y’all using O shaped pasta instead of just regular ol boring pasta like shells or something. haha! I lightened it up just enough for ya to enjoy. It makes the perfect summer meal all by itself, but it can also be a delicious dish to pass at a barbecue and everyone will love you for bringin’ it, I promise.
Here’s whatcha do!
First things first, you’ll need some pasta. Preferably O Shaped Pasta, but as I previously mentioned something like shells will do just fine. It won’t change the taste, just my childhood. Boil water, don’t forget to salt the water!, and then throw the noodles in it. Cook according to package directions.
Boil some eggs. Everyone has their own little trick for perfect hard boiled eggs. I boil water in a pan, gently add the eggs one at a time with a spoon into the boiling water, and continue to boil for 12 minutes.
Grab two ribs of celery and chop them up finely-ish. As you can see, I’m not a perfectionist.
In a bowl add tuna, dried minced onion, and celery salt. Mix it all together.
Then add celery and mix that all up! Set aside.
When the pasta is done cooking, strain it and rinse with cold water.
When the eggs are done run cold water over them for a couple minutes.
Peel the eggs! I remove the shells in cold water. It’s less mess and they seem to peel a bit easier. I also don’t need to worry about a shell going rogue into the salad itself, also known as, the worst thing ever. What is it about a itty bitty tiny piece of shell that can just completely ruin something?
Remove the egg yolks and set aside. Chop the egg whites. They don’t need to be perfect even though the judges on Chopped would probably smack me for telling you that chopping things perfectly doesn’t matter.
Grab some peas. I usually use the fancy canned variety, but sometimes I’ll buy frozen, quickly steam, let them cool just a bit, and then add them. It’s really up to you.
Add the cooked pasta, peas, and egg whites to the tuna and mix her all up!
Then add light mayo and mustard! Mix her all up again and stick it in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes before serving. It’s best served cold and it also gives the flavors a chance to marry in the fridge!
And there ya have it, a delicious Tuna Pasta Salad known in my family as O Salad!
YUM, now excuse me while I finish a bowl of it.
Eric LOVES taking this salad in his lunch for hot summer days, and you know what it, it makes my heart smile because my dad was the exact same.
I hope y’all enjoy this as much as we do because I can promise that it’ll be on my summer menu a lot!
With love from my kitchen to yours,
P.S. For a delicious crunch, add a handful of crushed potato chips on top to REALLY enjoy it the way I used to as a kid. I would have taken a photo with that, but we were out of plain potato chips!
Tuna Pasta Salad (O Salad)
- 8 oz (dry) pasta, O's, shells, or elbows noodles
- 10 oz tuna packed in water , drained (about two cans)
- 6 eggs , hardboiled, yolks removed, chopped
- 3/4 cup peas , canned or frozen
- 2 ribs celery , chopped finely
- 3/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 tbs yellow mustard
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 2 tbs dried minced onion , found with other dried spices in grocery store
- salt & pepper , to taste
Cook pasta according to directions and rinse with cold water. In a large mixing bowl add tuna, chopped celery, celery salt, minced onion. Mix together thoroughly. Then add cooked pasta, hard boiled eggs, peas, mayo, and mustard. Mix until completely combined. Salt & Pepper to taste if you think it needs it! Cover and place into the fridge for 35-40 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Suggested Serving Size: 1 heaping cup
6 Freestyle Smart Points (calculated with Weight Watchers Recipe Builder)
7 Smart Points (calculated with Weight Watchers Recipe Builder)
6 Points Plus (calculated with My Score Plus app)
319 calories 8g fat, 1g saturated fat, 34.8g carbohydrates, 6.4g fiber, 2.4g sugar, 28.5g protein (calculated with My Fitness Pal)
Delicious tip: For additional points/calories crumble a handful of plain potato chips on top for instant magic.