electronic Gourmet Guide


Paintbox Tuna-Mac Salad


This version of macaroni salad is full of colors and flavors: sharp, orange cheddar cheese; sunny, sweet yellow corn, and crisp, bright green bell pepper, flecked with flakes of tuna and parsley. It packs a full range of nutrition in one dish—carbs, antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene, calcium, and protein—while keeping the fat calories to a respectably low 33 percent. This is pyramid power-food, and it tastes great!

As a bonus, it takes about as long to make the salad as it does to boil the water and cook the pasta. While the pasta cooks, prepare the remaining ingredients. Then, once the pasta has cooked, simply mix the ingredients together, taste and correct the seasonings and serve at room temperature or chilled until ready to serve.

View this recipe as a guide. If you or your family prefers salmon to tuna, by all means use that instead. Carrots, red or yellow bell peppers, purple or green onions and other herbs may also be substituted. Depending on your children's' ages, they make great helpers with this dish by cutting the veggies and cheese, and mixing and measuring the ingredients.

Time: 20 minutes
Serves 8 as a side, or 4 to 6 as a lunch or dinner.


  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • dash salt
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced small
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper, diced small
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, diced small
  • 1 cup corn kernels (cooked fresh, frozen defrosted or canned)
  • pinch dried thyme, crumbled
  • 6 ounces tuna in water, drained
  • salt & pepper to taste

1. Bring large pot of water to the boil, add salt and macaroni. Cook until macaroni is al dente.

2. While the pasta is cooking, place the buttermilk, mayonnaise and half of the lemon juice in a large mixing bowl. Drain the pasta and pour it into the mixing bowl with some water still clinging to it. Stir the pasta, then add the onion, celery, bell pepper, parsley, cheese, corn and thyme. Stir in the tuna and remaining lemon juice, adding salt and pepper to taste. Taste the pasta and adjust the seasonings. Chill. Pasta absorbs liquid as it chills. Taste before serving and if it seems dry or dull, refresh the flavors with a splash of lemon juice, buttermilk or small spoonful of mayonnaise, or a combination.

Note: If packing this salad as a brown-bag lunch, be sure to keep it well chilled, either in a pre-chilled thermal container and frozen juice box, or with a cold pack if no refrigerator is available.

Per serving: 318 Calories; 12g Fat (33% calories from fat); 16g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 22mg Cholesterol; 233mg Sodium

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This is an edited and updated archive of pages originally published in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

Modified August 2007

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