Tuna, Broccoli and Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
Published Sep 20, 2022, Updated Jul 14, 2023
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This tuna, broccoli and kale caesar pasta salad is packed with loads of veggies and protein. It comes together in under 30 minutes and is sure to become a new family favorite especially on those busy weeknights!
Sometimes as a parent it can be so stressful to get dinner on the table, especially when you have picky kiddos or a baby who is just starting to eat solids. This is where the new Feeding Littles & Beyond cookbook comes in, which my friend Ali Maffucci co-wrote. It’s all about meals that the whole family (ages 6 months-99 years) can eat so you only have to make one meal for dinner!
With so many awesome recipes in the cookbook it was challenging to pick just one to share, but I was super excited about this tuna broccoli and kale caesar pasta salad. Tuna is such an awesome protein but and you can never go wrong with a pasta salad recipe, am I right?!
I also love that this recipe comes together in about 20 minutes, which is perfect for those busy weeknights. It’s easily become a new family favorite in our household. Olivia gobbled it up when I made it for dinner!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s a dish the whole family will love!
- It’s packed with protein and loaded with green veggies!
- Perfect for meal prep.
- Comes together in under 30 minutes so is perfect for those busy weeknights.
Feeding Littles & Beyond Cookbook
A little more Feeding Littles & Beyond… it is a collaborative cookbook between New York Times bestselling author Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized and Megan McNamee and Judy Delaware, founders of Feeding Littles.
The cookbook is filled with over 100 delicious recipes that were created with the whole family in mind. Each recipe is baby-led weaning friendly, so it can be served to your baby and they can feed it to themselves. In addition to the recipes the cookbook includes strategies for baby-led weaning/feeding, meal prep tips, tips for dealing with picky eating and dining out, recipe modifications for allergies and so much more!
If you’re looking for baby-led weaning recipes to make for the whole family, I highly recommend checking out this cookbook!
- rotini pasta – the perfect pasta for this recipe to capture the Caesar dressing, but feel free to use your preferred pasta of choice here. Penne or bowtie would also work great. I used Banza chickpea pasta for added protein!
- broccoli florets – adds a crunch factor to this salad and some extra nutrients! When choosing broccoli, look for tightly closed, dark green florets with firm stalks.
- lacinato kale – also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale, but you can also use curly kale. Kale is one of the healthiest and most nutritious leafy greens out there. It’s low in calories, loaded with antioxidants and high in vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C and K, calcium and potassium.
- canned tuna – the protein in this salad! Canned tuna allows for a quick and easy protein addition without the need for cooking. I typically buy Albacore tuna because you get bigger chunks of meat that aren’t mushy and it has a milder flavor compared to other canned tuna. I really like the Wild Planet brand!
- caesar dressing – the caesar dressing really brings this pasta salad together. You can use store-bought or easily make your own at home with my healthy caesar dressing, which is made with Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise or my avocado caesar dressing, which is made with avocado instead of eggs.
- parmesan cheese – adds a great savory flavor and some saltiness to this dish. I recommend using fresh parmesan cheese versus using pre-shredded or pre-shaved cheese. Since I’m eating dairy-free I used the Violife just like parmesan wedge.
- extra-virgin olive oil – for sautéing the broccoli.
- salt and pepper – to season the broccoli.
Substitutions & Notes
- Want to swap out the veggies? Go for it! There are plenty of vegetables that would work well in this pasta salad! Some good options to sub the broccoli for would be zucchini, corn, green beans, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, bell peppers and red onions. If you want to swap out the kale, any leafy green or lettuce would work like spinach, arugula or romaine.
- Want to skip sautéing the broccoli? You can always use raw broccoli or another raw veggie like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red peppers or carrots instead.
- Need to make this dish gluten-free? If you have a gluten allergy or are simply avoiding gluten, you could swap out the pasta with a gluten-free option. My favorite brand is Banza!
- Need to make this dish dairy-free? Skip the parmesan or use a dairy-free option. You could also make my vegan parmesan, which is made with hemp seeds. When it comes to the dressing you could always use a dairy-free option like Primal Kitchen Dairy-Free Caesar Dressing.
- Want to make this dish vegan? Use a dairy-free cheese and dressing and swap the tuna for a vegan alternative like tempeh bacon or roasted chickpeas!
- Want to swap the protein? Instead of tuna you could always swap it out for canned salmon, shredded chicken or bacon/turkey bacon. My slow cooker shredded chicken is my favorite way to cook chicken!
- Don’t love the taste of kale? If you’re not a huge kale person I recommend massaging your kale with a little olive oil or avocado oil, salt and pepper before mixing it with the other ingredients to help break down some of the tough fibers and make it more palatable.
- Want to add croutons? I love croutons in my salads, especially caesar salads so feel free to toss some in for added crunch. My sourdough croutons are delicious and super easy to make in the oven!
How to Make
Cook pasta: Start with cooking your pasta in a large pot until al dente, or according to the package instructions. When the pasta is ready, drain into a colander and let cool for a few minutes.
Saute broccoli: While the pasta is cooking, cook the broccoli in a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Set aside for later use.
Combine: In a large bowl toss together the kale, tuna, cooked pasta and caesar dressing. Divide the mixture onto four plates and top with the broccoli and grated parmesan!
How to Serve
This tuna, broccoli and kale caesar pasta salad is filling enough on its own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it with a side dish or serve it as a side. Here are some ideas:
- Skip the tuna and serve this salad on the side with a protein of choice like these black bean burgers, air fryer chicken breast or balsamic salmon.
- Serve this pasta salad with a side of roasted veggies like grilled sweet potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted carrots or air fryer cauliflower.
- Add some fruit to your meal with a side of this easy fruit salad.
How to Store
This pasta salad stores well in the fridge so it’s great for meal prep! If you’re storing the full salad leftovers will stay fresh for about 2 days if stored in an airtight container. If you’re looking for this salad to last you all week I recommend storing it without the tuna and adding the tuna right before serving.
More Kid-Friendly Recipes
- Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Easy Tortilla Pizzas
- Healthy Mac and Cheese
- Nut Free Granola Bars
- Turkey Cauliflower Baked Ziti
- Yogurt Muffins (4 Ways)
- 25 Kid Tested & Parent Approved Recipes
- Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
More Tuna Recipes
- Sweet Potato Tuna Salad
- Tuna Salad
- Tuna Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Spaghetti Squash Tuna Noodle Casserole Boats
- Tuna Curry Bowl with Cauliflower Rice
- Lentil Tuna Salad
- Broccoli Avocado Tuna Bowl
- Healthy Tuna Noodle Casserole
Tuna, Broccoli and Kale Caesar Pasta Salad
- 1 8 oz box rotini pasta, (I used Banza)
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- salt and pepper
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, finely sliced
- 3 5 oz cans wild albacore tuna in water, drained and broken up
- ¼ cup Caesar dressing
- ½ cup sliced Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta into a colander.
- While the pasta cooks, cook the broccoli. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender and browned. Set aside.
- Toss together the kale, tuna, cooked pasta, and Caesar dressing in a large mixing bowl.
- Divide the mixture onto four plates and top with the broccoli and sliced Parmesan.
- Recipe reprinted with permissions from Feeding Littles and Beyond.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.