Pasta Salad Niçoise

The Simple Art of EatingWell, May/June 1996

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Toss canned tuna, roasted red peppers and lots of fresh herbs with pasta for a quick pasta salad to enjoy for a weeknight supper or picnic salad.

Pasta Salad Niçoise

Makes: 6 servings, 1 1/3 cups each

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  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 5- to 6-ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna (see Tips), drained and flaked
  • 1/2 cup diced jarred roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives or scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted black olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa (see Tips)
  • 12 ounces small whole-wheat pasta shells


  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Mash garlic and salt into a paste with a chef’s knife or a spoon. Transfer to a large bowl and add tuna, peppers, basil, chives (or scallions), olives, capers, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, pepper and harissa, if using. Toss gently to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well. Add the pasta to the tuna mixture and toss gently to combine.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: If not serving immediately, toss the cooled pasta with 1 teaspoon oil. Refrigerate the pasta and the tuna mixture separately for up to 1 day.
  • Tips: Chunk light tuna, which comes from the smaller skipjack or yellowfin, has less mercury than canned white albacore tuna. FDA/EPA advice recommends no more than 6 ounces of albacore a week; up to 12 ounces canned light tuna is considered safe.
  • Harissa, a fiery North African chile paste, is available at specialty-food stores or at Harissa in a tube will be much hotter than that in a jar. You can use Chinese or Thai chile-garlic sauce instead.


Per serving: 451 calories; 10 g fat (1 g sat, 6 g mono); 12 mg cholesterol; 69 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 24 g protein; 7 g fiber; 722 mg sodium; 242 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Iron (21% daily value), Vitamin A (16% dv), Zinc (15% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1 fat

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