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Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad With Homemade Genoa Dressing

My husband and I both enjoy cooking. We like sampling and discovering new and different foods from all areas of the world.

Cold tuna macaroni salad

Cold tuna macaroni salad

Delicious Home-Cooked Recipe

Oftentimes, after looking in our pantry and refrigerator, I make spur-of-the-minute meals that are inspired by what we have on hand. I do strictly follow recipes when it comes to baking, but many of my other home-cooked meals are by guess and by gosh. Most of them, I am happy to say, turn out well.

Recently, I made a cold tuna macaroni salad and shared some with our good neighbors. They reported back that they liked it and wished to have the recipe. I told them that there was no exact recipe, but that I would try and make notes of ingredients and amounts when I made a similar one again.

My husband makes a delicious homemade dressing that he calls Genoa dressing. That is the star of the dish that pulls everything together, tantalizing the taste buds. So I will share that recipe as well, plus my latest version of the cold macaroni salad.

Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups cooked broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup petite green peas, frozen
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup Genoa dressing (see recipe below)
  • 2 (7-ounce) cans water-packed tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain well.
  2. Combine all of the rest of the ingredients and add to the macaroni.
  3. Toss well and chill.
  4. Add additional dressing, if needed.
  5. Makes eight good-sized servings.

Genoa Dressing Recipe


  • 1/4 cup Heinz salad vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary


  1. Crush or grind the herbs in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together and shake well before use.
Genoa Dressing

Genoa Dressing

Variations and Suggestions

It is so easy to adjust or even change the ingredients according to one's taste.

We had some leftover cooked broccoli, so I added it to this salad pictured above. The time that I shared it with our neighbors, I added some chopped hard-boiled eggs to the mixture. I used kalamata olives in place of the black olives. Also, that time, I had some green table onions on hand. I also had some fresh parsley in the last salad. Instead of going grocery shopping for those ingredients, I simply used some dried onions this time and omitted the parsley.

Don't be afraid to experiment with this recipe. It is the perfect time to use up some extra vegetables you may have already cooked, or chop up some others that are raw. Radishes would add some extra flavor and crunch, as an example, and some grated zucchini would be a good addition.

Because of the protein of the fish, and all of the vegetables, this macaroni salad is colorful and healthful. Use whole wheat elbow macaroni for an extra nutritional boost. Substitute canned salmon or even canned chicken as a substitute for the tuna, or leave it out entirely. Make this salad your own, and enjoy!

© 2020 Peggy Woods


Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2020:

Hi Dale,

I am glad you like the sound of this recipe to use with your tuna. Enjoy!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on August 10, 2020:

OK the timing for this hub is perfect. The lil' lady and I were just talking about things we could make with the tuna we have so it's going to be this. Thanks for sharing it, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 04, 2020:

Hi Bruce,

This recipe is good year-round, but especially nice when one wishes to eat a refreshing dish during the hot summer months.

Bruce on August 04, 2020:

Looks like a fine summertime treat.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2020:

Hi Devika,

So happy to hear that you like the sound of this recipe. We have been reading and commenting back and forth, and I recently discovered that I had not yet followed you. So that is now corrected on my part.

Devika Primic on August 03, 2020:

I like this recipe. Tuna is one of my favorites and this sounds delicious and is a healthy food too. Thank you for following me. I appreciate your kind comments.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2020:

Hi Phyllis,

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2020:

Hi Nell,

I am pleased to offer you a slightly different version of tuna salad. The dressing is what makes it extra special. Enjoy!

Phyllis Doyle Burns on July 30, 2020:

Yum! Thank you for this recipe, Peggy. I am going to fix it for tomorrow's dinner.

Nell Rose from England on July 30, 2020:

I love it! We always eat tuna salad here, so anything slightly different or added will be a great bonus! Thanks Peggy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2020:

Hi Dale,

Like you, we often have these types of ingredients on hand. It can also be amended to use other items, so is very versatile. Enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 30, 2020:

Hi Thelma,

My husband created that original "Genoa" dressing and also gave it that name. That is why you have not heard of it. Haha! Enjoy with our blessings.

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on July 30, 2020:

Oh yeah this is becoming a dish at our house. It involves a lot of things that we like and usually keep on hand. Thanks Peggy!

Thelma Alberts from Germany on July 30, 2020:

Yummy! I have not tried making macaroni salad with tuna and it sounds very delicious. I have not heard of Genoa dressing but I am glad you have the recipe on here for me to follow. Thank you for sharing this mouthwatering salad.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 25, 2020:

Hi Adrienne,

My husband created that dressing and gave it the name of Genoa because he thought that it had an Italian flair. I hope you enjoy it when you make it.

Adrienne Farricelli on July 25, 2020:

This recipe looks great for the dog days of summer! I had to look up what Genoa dressing as I never heard of it before, but it's ingredients look enticing. Will have to give this a try.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 23, 2020:

Hi Rosina,

That is the beauty of this recipe. It can easily be adapted to suit what one might have on hand, or to suit one's taste. Thanks for your comment.

Rosina S Khan on July 23, 2020:

Cold Tuna Macaroni Salad With Homemade Genoa Dressing is a cool recipe. The most impressive fact about this recipe is that we can adjust it to our own tastes and enjoy. Thank you, Peggy, for such a wonderful recipe that I have not heard of before.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 22, 2020:

Hi Lee,

Cold pasta salads are particularly welcomed in the summer months. Thanks for reading about my rendition of one, and enjoy!

Lee A Barton from New Mexico on July 22, 2020:

Love me a good pasta salad and this one sounds great!

Robert Sacchi on July 21, 2020:

You're welcome.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2020:

Hi Denise,

Yes, vegetarians can easily adapt this recipe to suit their dietary needs. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2020:

Hi Christy,

If you already like tuna macaroni salad, just wait until you add my husband's Genoa dressing to it. It is delicious! I appreciate your comment. (Smile)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2020:

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your comment. I hope you give this recipe a try.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 20, 2020:

What a great conglomerate. I can see, as a vegan, leaving out the tuna and adding a little tofu or even walnuts for crunch. Yum. You just made me hungry.



Christy Birmingham-Reyes on July 20, 2020:

I'm a tuna macaroni salad fan! Thanks for the dressing recipe, Peggy. I love how populuar your hubs are here :)

Robert Sacchi on July 20, 2020:

An interesting recipe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 20, 2020:

Hi Claudia,

You will likely find other uses for this salad dressing once you try it. Enjoy!

Claudia Mitchell on July 19, 2020:

Wow - This sounds really good and I always like salads without mayo. And the dressing sounds good for other things too.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 19, 2020:

Hi Rochelle,

You cook as I do. My soups often vary depending upon what I might have leftover or what I need to use up before it might spoil and have to be put on our compost pile. Soups and cold salads like this are so versatile. Yours sounded good!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on July 18, 2020:

Thanks for the inspiration!! I cooked whole wheat mac last night for my mac and cheese-- saved some, also fresh green beans, saved some. I had bits of leftover black beans and corn, plus fresh sliced cherry tomatoes--- I think mine came out a bit "Tex-Mex" style. Very good.

I am pretty good at using leftovers for soups. But this is a great way to do a similar thing for warm-weather meals.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2020:

Hi Genna,

Enjoy this cold tuna macaroni salad with my blessings. Stay cool during these hot summer months, and stay safe!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2020:

Hi Rajan,

It is flavorful and especially useful during hot summer months when people do not like to heat their kitchens by using ovens.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2020:

Hi Peg,

Everyone that has ever tasted my husband's Genoa dressing has always really liked it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Genna East on July 17, 2020:

I cannot wait to try this! Delicious and creative and perfect for these hot and humid summer days. Thank you, Peggy.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 17, 2020:

The macaroni tuna salad looks very inviting and I am sure must be very flavorful as well. Thanks for sharing.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 17, 2020:

This looks and sounds terrific. I've written down the salad dressing directions and will use this on lots of other salads as well. The tuna macaroni salad really does look inviting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

Your comment about "creative cookery" suits this dish perfectly. It is fun to be creative when it comes to assembling dishes with items already on hand.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2020:

Hi C E Clark,

Like you, we try not to use our oven as much during the hot summers. This type of meal is excellent for that reason and keeps well in the refrigerator for days.

Covid-19 cases are rising here also. The army is sending in extra medical personnel to handle the rising cases. Stay safe!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 17, 2020:

Hi Linda,

When you try the Genoa dressing, I think that you will love it as much as we do and find many other uses for it. Many of the meals I prepare are "by guess and by gosh." (Smile)

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 17, 2020:

Some of the best recipes have started out with a little of this, a lit of that ... . I call it creative cookery. Thanks for sharing your magic.

C E Clark from North Texas on July 16, 2020:

This salad looks colorful and delicious. Especially since it requires limited cooking. We've been reaching around 104º to 106º degrees everyday for a couple of weeks now. It only stays that hot for a couple of hours, but I certainly don't want to have the oven going if I can help it. This salad doesn't require it, so it is especially good for this hot Texas summer.

Posting this on AH & FB.

New Covid-19 infections are between 100 & 150 daily here. So far deaths haven't increased much. We had 37 in this county for several weeks, and now we are adding 5 or 6 a week. Wish we weren't adding any deaths, but I guess it could be much worse and my fear is that it will be worse before much longer. Hope you are staying safe . . .

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 16, 2020:

This sounds like a versatile and delicious dish, Peggy. The dressing sounds like a great addition to the salad. I love the idea of making "by guess and by gosh" meals!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Ruby,

The only reason I added the already cooked broccoli this time was because we had it as a leftover. It is easy to omit. For those who do enjoy broccoli, raw broccoli would also be tasty in this salad. I would ordinarily use it that way for a cold salad.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

Many people around the world seem to enjoy different shapes and sizes of pasta. I take it that you do not do much cooking, but enjoy eating out. That is probably harder to do right now during this pandemic. Stay safe!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on July 16, 2020:

Yummy- Yummy- Yummy. I will make this, but I'll leave the broccoli out, we both do not like it. It looks so good and the dressing sounds delicious too. My husband Ray is a picky eater, he will not eat a bean of any kind. I was raised on great northern or navy beans. ( not canned ) and I still love them. Thanks Peggy for sharing.

manatita44 from london on July 16, 2020:

Good to hear you both cook macaroni. You seem to be up there with Shauna and close to Linda L. Lol. I like spaghetti in Heidelberg, Germany. I believe that London have some great places too, but harder to find. Anyway, I'm pretty dull outside of the spiritual life and my friends tend to take me around. Lovely article!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Kyriaki,

So happy to know that this has given you some other idea options for your macaroni salads. Enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

Sorry to hear that you can no longer stand long enough in the kitchen to do much cooking. Thanks for reading this recipe. Take care!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Heidi,

Chicken would make a good substitute for the tuna if you like that flavor more. Thanks for taking a look at this recipe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Bill,

Yes, this is a very easy-to-make recipe. Happy to know that you will be making a version of it. Enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi North Wind,

I remember those tri-colored kinds of pasta. I think that they still sell them in some stores.

We buy very few bottled dressings from stores and generally use homemade ones. There are a couple of exceptions. Sometimes we purchase Ranch dressing, but even then, we add things to it like a dash of red wine vinegar to it to give it some extra zest.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Chitrangada,

Pasta is comfort food for many people. Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Lorna,

My husband makes several types of oil and vinegar-based homemade dressings, and this is one of my favorites. It is delicious on other kinds of salads. Enjoy!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Ann,

When I was growing up, I often heard the words "waste not, want not." My mother was a whiz at using leftovers, and I do the same, often incorporating them into new dishes. So glad that you liked this recipe, and it is nice to know that you cook the same way.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi GlenR,

Like you, we always have tins of tuna in our pantry. It is such a versatile item to use in many preparations.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

Hi Liza,

As you mentioned, this cold salad is perfect for the hot summertime temperatures and is excellent for lunch or dinner. We have used it for both meals.

Kyriaki Chatzi on July 16, 2020:

Hey, Peggy! I hope you are doing great!

Honestly, I've never thought of adding tuna to my macaroni salads.

But, your version with the broccoli and the olives sounds d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!!!

I'll definitely try it over the weekend.

I'm sure it'll taste phenomenal.

Thank you for sharing!!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 16, 2020:

I really enjoy this type of dish and your recipe sounds wonderful. The salad looks wonderful. I don't cook much anymore since I can't stand for long. I wish I coud do more. You sound like you are very creative in the kitchen.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 16, 2020:

This sounds like it would be delicious, although I'd probably substitute chicken for the tuna. Sadly, I don't do any cooking. Oh well... maybe one day.

Thanks for sharing this! Hope you're doing well.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 16, 2020:

The beauty of this recipe: even I could make it! I'm all over tuna in any form. Thanks for the recipe. I'm on it!

North Wind from The World (for now) on July 16, 2020:

Looks delicious.

I love all types of Macaroni Salad and I think the reason is I really like anything pasta. I also can't resist noodles.

Growing up I remember tasting a delicious tangy tri-colour pasta salad that was light and refreshing because it did not have any cream to it.

I recently tried to find a similar recipe and like your husband, I think the cook made her own personal dressing that probably contained vinegar and a bit of sugar because although there are similar types out there, it is not the same taste.

Your recipe sounds great and it is so good when we are able to use what we have to make something that everyone enjoys!

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 16, 2020:

This sounds delicious and nutritious.

Macaroni is one of my favourite comfort food. Would love to try your recipe. Nice presentation, with good pictures.

Thanks for sharing the details.

Lorna Lamon on July 16, 2020:

Sounds delicious Peggy and an enjoyable meal to share with family and friends. I think it would be a great addition to a barbecue and it doesn't take long to prepare. I will definitely try the dressing which I imagine could be used for various salads. Thank you for sharing.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 16, 2020:

I love your expression 'by guess and by gosh', Peggy! It fits me to a T, as I often decide to put a few things together and see what happens. I created a dish the children love when we were in France and I couldn't get 'sponge fingers/squares' for a trifle base. I used marshmallow instead of the sponge and it was delicious!

I love pasta and this look great. It's quick and easy which is also a big plus. I like to add whatever's to hand and use up leftovers. So, all in all, this is perfect for me. Thank you.


Glen Rix from UK on July 16, 2020:

Tinned tuna is always on standby in my cupboard. This recipe would be great on a buffet table (once we are allowed to have parties!)

Liza from USA on July 15, 2020:

The cold tuna macaroni salad sounds so good right now, Peggy. I love tuna. I think this dish is perfect for summer weather right now. I could easily be eating it for lunch or dinner. Yummy! The dressing for this cold salad sounds delicious too. I don't have macaroni in the pantry, but I think penne works for the recipe. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Peggy.

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