whole food ~ well made

albacore tuna salad closeup

Is Hot Enough for this Retro Albacore Tuna Noodle Salad?

On June evenings when it got really hot–so hot your shorts stuck to your thighs and even we kids were sweating–my Mom did not call us inside for supper.

Instead of the usual place-mats-and-cloth-napkins dinner table, she brought the food out to us where we played in the yard under the shade of towering oak trees.

Onto the picnic table she plunked a big yellow bowl of tuna noodle salad and a platter of sliced watermelon, both icebox cold.

albacore tuna salad prep

The salad was four ingredients: macaroni, diced celery, white albacore tuna and mayonnaise.

She dished it out on paper plates, and I recall that we were allowed to dash to and from the table for bites. I remember the cold, slippery pasta and the watery celery reviving me from the inside out.

We ate to fuel up (because June meant long days and late bedtimes) and to cool down. Freedom and sustenance in every bite.

And so this week with temperatures soaring, I’m thinking about that tuna dish.

And while it’s true that tuna can be a poor choice environmentally speaking, troll-caught albacore tuna off the Oregon coast is actually a best choice on the Seafood Watch list.

There’s no by-catch from these methods (aka “dolphin safe). No monster tuna these–just 10 to 25 pound albacores migrating off the Northwest coast from now until early fall. {I buy an Oregon brand called Sweet Creek available through Azure Standard, which we also use for classic tuna sandwiches on white toast.}

albacore tuna salad overview

So, I’m taking a page of my Mom’s dinner playbook today: boil the noodles early in the day when it’s still cool, then mix the ingredients together and chill until somebody gets hungry.

Serve with a side of watermelon.

I’ve even got a yellow bowl.


and become a forager

Classic Tuna Noodle Salad

I have to admit that I fought the urge to rejig this with recipe with homemade mayo, fresh herbs, shell peas, sriracha... But I also recognized that some things are best left alone. Simple. Unadorned. Even plain. This tuna noodle salad is one of them. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
chilling time 2 hours
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Lynne Curry


  • 8 ounces macaroni or other shaped pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups diced celery
  • 6-7 ounces albacore tuna troll or pole-caught in the North Pacific or North Atlantic
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch salt


  • Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until tender to the bite. Drain and rinse in cold water, then drain well again.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the celery, tuna, mayonnaise and cooled pasta. Mix well and season with pepper and salt. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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