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Tuna Pasta Salad with Peas & Rocket

My tuna pasta salad features peas & rocket (arugula), then it gets dressed in a lemon vinaigrette all finished off with a bit of fresh chilli.

Portrait image of a tuna pasta salad with peas, chilli and rocket (arugula) served in a shallow white bowl

Tuna Salad with Peas & Chilli.

I love a good pasta salad, they are easy to cook, light to eat and infinitely versatile.

And this little tuna number does not use mayonnaise. That’s right a tuna pasta salad with NO mayonnaise.

I choose a lighter but no less flavoured lemon dressing instead.

The dressing gets some chopped anchovies, a controversial ingredient that you can omit if you wish.

The dish is light and full of vibrant sharp flavours and gets a good hit of fresh chilli right at the end.

I adore this tuna pasta salad, I use farfalle pasta but it works well with any pasta with a large surface area.

It is particularly good with the fusilli pasta that I use in this smoked mackerel pasta.

Portrait overhead image of a tuna pasta salad with peas, chilli and rocket (arugula) served in a shallow white bowl

Ingredient Guide.

Tuna can be a controversial ingredient and I am not here to offer you ethical advice. I’m here to tell you how to make my tuna pasta salad!

We are all grown ups and capable of making our own decisions, there is much written about tuna and I will not add to that discussion.

You should look for tuna in water for this recipe rather than oil.

Tuna in oil can be used if you wish but it does give the whole dish a mouthfeel that is a bit “rich”. I find that too much of a contrast with the sharp flavours.

Fres or frozen peas can be used in this recipe but please do not skip the step where I suggest you chill them after cooking.

This ensures that the peas stay both sweet and the most beautiful colour!

Finally, the chilli, if you are not a fan feel free to omit it, but be minded not to go too hot if you do add it!

I recommend removing the seeds, this is not to cool down the chilli but to create a better eating experience.

Portrait close up image of a tuna pasta salad with peas, chilli and rocket (arugula)

Advance Preparation.

This tuna pasta salad recipe is great to take on a picnic or to drop into a lunch box. But there are a couple of things to note if you are planning to make this in advance.

First of all, adding the dressing to the pasta when hot is essential to get the best out this recipe.

It is the same technique I use in this halloumi orzo salad recipe. It is a great way to make sure you make the most of the flavours you are adding.

Secondly, you really do need to allow the pasta to cool completely if you are planning to make this in advance.

This is because the heat will cause the rocket to wilt and the peas to continue cooking.

That means grey peas and soggy rocket, tasty but not the most pleasing eating experiences.

One final note for my American readers, *waves at you* *not you, you*, rocket is known as arugula in the states.

Square image of a tuna pasta salad with peas, chilli and rocket (arugula) served in a shallow white bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Pea and Tuna Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

A tuna pasta salad is a well trodden path, my version does not use mayonnaise but a vibrant lemon vinaigrette and sweet garden peas. A perfect picnic or BBQ side dish and super quick too!


  • 150 g (1.5 Cups) Short Pasta
  • 150 g (1 cup) Frozen Peas
  • 160 g (5.6 oz) Can of Tuna
  • 30 g (3 Tbsp) Capers
  • 30 g (1.5 Cups) Rocket or Arugula
  • 1 Medium Hot Red Chilli Pepper

For the Dressing

  • 1 Lemon
  • 75 ml (1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp) Olive Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Anchovy Fillets
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
  2. Drop in the pasta and cook for a minute less than the packet instructions.
  3. Chop the anchovies as finely as you can.
  4. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a jar and shake.
  5. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Remove the seeds from the chilli and dice as finely as you can.
  7. 90 seconds before you remove the pasta place the peas in a sieve and allow them to cook in the pasta water.
  8. Drain the pasta and place it into a large wide bowl and dress with the dressing stirring well.
  9. Cool the peas under cold running water, this helps keep the colour.
  10. Allow the pasta to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  11. Add in the capers, chillies, peas, rocket and canned tuna then mix well.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 617Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 1009mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 7gSugar: 6gProtein: 30g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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Beth Neels

Wednesday 3rd of July 2019

Mmmm! I love the lemon vinaigrette! Makes it perfect in the summer when it is so hot out! The mayonnaise always gets yucky! My husband and Father-in-law love tuna and peas in pasta salad, but I haven't really added them together! I have to try this!

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of July 2019

I use peas in all sorts of places, I love them... Perfect little jewels of sweetness


Tuesday 2nd of July 2019

This combination of flavors is perfect! I love peas and tuna together. What a great family meal.

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thank you


Monday 1st of July 2019

Love the addition of the anchovy for flavor in the dressing for this simple and healthy pasta dish. Don't skip it! It tastes amazing.

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thanks Michelle

Lesli Schwartz

Monday 1st of July 2019

Love the addition of the anchovies in this fresh salad! I happen to love salads with canned tuna!

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thank you

Amanda Wren-Grimwood

Monday 1st of July 2019

This looks perfect for lunch or on a buffet too. Love the idea of no mayonnaise!

Brian Jones

Sunday 7th of July 2019

Thanks Amanda