An Easy and Slightly Underwhelming Meal for Saint Anthony

Today is the feast of Saint Anthony of Padua and in honor of the feast I present you with our incredibly underwhelming (but easy!) summer favorite.  This pasta salad is one my mother would make often during the summer when we were growing up.  It feeds a crowd (cheaply!), isn't labor intensive, and the kids love it.  It certainly isn't the fanciest of meals, but we don't do much fancy around here.

So today, rather than the fancy fish dish I had on the menu (it just wasn't happening today.  Plus, I had forgotten to buy, you know, fish.) we had my mom's tuna pasta salad and thought of Saint Anthony.  Pasta because he was from Italy and tuna because according to the stories, he preached to the fish.
See?  Everything counts if you make it count.

This salad is so easy I feel funny calling it an actual recipe.  But here it is:

16 oz. elbow macaroni (whole wheat okay)
2 tbsp. olive oil
3-4 cans tuna fish
approximately 1 cup mayonnaise
5-6 stalks celery
salt and pepper to taste
Extras (almonds, olives, shredded carrots, peas, spices, whatever your fancy little heart desires)

Cook and drain the pasta and mix with the oil (the oil isn't necessary but it helps the mayo not soak in too much).  Mix that with the drained tuna, the mayo, the diced celery, and the seasoning.  Chill in the fridge until dinner!  I serve it with carrot sticks or snap peas or some such easy veggie to get the vegetables in.  It can be dressed up in loads of different ways.  Sometimes I add slivered almonds or onion powder or grapes or shredded carrots or my mom prefers sliced hard boiled eggs and paprika.

I love that you can make it in the morning and chill it in the fridge until dinner which is a lovely, lovely thing on busy, hot summer days.  (Sometimes you need to add a bit more mayo if it's been a while.)  And there you have it.

An easy but balanced Summer meal for busy summer days.  St. Anthony approved.

Linking up with Theresa at Ordinary Lovely to share easy summer meal ideas!


  1. Love St. Anthony, love being Italian, love this meal. My Nana (who was first generation and a momma in the 1950's, so she had a unique blend of Old World Tradition and "things-from-a-nifty-little-can" in her repetoire!) used to make a mean tuna pasta salad. My mom got it down recently - with such a simple recipe you'd think it'd be a piece of cake, but there was something that made it taste like "hers." I will have to find out what it is. I know she did paprika on the top as well as sliced hard boiled egg for presentation, and she used the spaghettio-style noodle, but besides celery and mayo I can't remember what else was in there. Anyway, I'd have *never* thought of this for St. Anthony but it's genius. Love when doing Feasts in the home gets simple and do-able! :)

  2. Thanks for linking up, Mary! I never make cold pasts salads. THIS is the summer I will give it a try! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. every summer Kevin has to make this because he has such fond memories of eating it as a child!

  4. Haha! The ever popular tuna salad!! It is the easiest and best loved dish I think I ever served to you kids but I never, ever in all the times I've made it, thought of St. Anthony! What an exciting new spin on an old favorite! I shall never look at this salad in the same way again! And if I lose the recipe, I know who to ask to find it for me!!

  5. Ha! Brilliant idea. I'm going to have to borrow this idea for next year. Thanks for sharing! =)


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