Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil + Tuna Pasta Salad
When I think of summer food, one of the things that comes to mind is picnics, potlucks, and pasta salad.
Growing up, I did swim team every summer and I remember relishing the days of eating my mom’s pasta salad post-practice or the night before a big swim meet. I recall hearing the term “carb-o-loading,” but not understanding the purpose.
As a fitness professional, I now know that she and my coach had my nutritional needs in mind, and were helping to replace my glycogen stores from hours of exercise, and keep me strong for the next day’s practice or competition.
While carbs make great fuel pre and post exercise, as an adult who also strength trains, I know that it’s incredibly important to also get in protein after a workout. You need to provide your body with amino acids, the body’s building blocks, to repair your muscles.
One of the ways I do that is by making a version of my mom’s trusty old pasta salad, and tossing in a couple cans of tuna.
Canned tuna is a great lean protein option, with many health benefits. It’s also quick, easy, and cheap to add to meals.
With just one 60 calorie serving, you get 13 grams of muscle-pumping protein. The takeaway message: tuna makes you strong!
This Sun-Dried Tomato, Basil and Tuna Pasta Salad calls for two cans of tuna, but you can toss in as many as your buff bod desires. The mild taste of the fish is complimented with the salty and savory flavor of sun-dried tomatoes, and the fresh, pungent smell of basil.
- 2 C. Whole Wheat Fusilli Pasta, cooked
- 2 cans Bumble Bee Solid Albacore Tuna, in water
- 1 C. Yellow Corn
- ½ C. Fresh Basil
- ¼ C. Sun-dried Tomatoes
- ¼ C. White Wine Vinegar
- 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt + Pepper to taste
- ¼ C. Parmesan
- Cook pasta according to directions.
- Chop basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Toss all ingredients together.
This holds up well in the refrigerator and makes a great summer lunch for afternoons on-the-go. I made it for dinner last week, then packed up my leftovers for a no-fuss picnic on the beach the following day.
The recipe is also very modifiable. You can really toss in any veggies you like. I’d suggest lightly-cooked summer squash, asparagus, spinach, or fresh cherry tomatoes.
If you’re dairy-free, go ahead and leave out the parmesan — it doesn’t make a huge difference taste-wise. Or make some vegan parmesan by combining pine nuts, nutritional yeast, and a little extra virgin olive oil in a food processor. It works like magic!