Spicy Chili-Lime Tuna & Orzo Salad

Recipe Details

  • Meal Type: Lunch, Dinner
  • Dietary Type: Omnivore

Spicy Chili-Lime Tuna & Orzo Salad

Meal: Lunch, Dinner
Dietary Type: Omnivore
Prep Time: 25-30 minutes (plus 30 minutes refrigeration time)
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes
Serves: ~

The Dish

Tuna pasta salad can get a bad rap for being too mayo-heavy, and for being somewhat bland. This version changes that perception, as it’s a heavy-hitter in the flavor department without depending solely on mayo for the bulk of the dressing. Starting with a Greek yogurt-mayo based mixture (spiced up with some lime and Sambal Oelek chili paste), this dish is a definite departure from the everyday tuna pasta salad. 

This recipe does not sacrifice in convenience either; the only cooking required is for the pasta. Everything else requires just a bit of prep work—making it a great choice for those days when it’s just too hot to have the stove on for long. 

This Spicy Chili-Lime Tuna & Orzo Salad also makes a generous amount—meaning any leftovers would make a great grab-and-go lunch option. 

Be sure to allow this to sit at least 30 minutes in the fridge before serving, however, as this allows the flavors to meld, and to create a very tasty, very easy tuna pasta salad. 


1 16-oz (454 g) box orzo pasta 
1 cup (133.5 g) frozen peas
1 large carrot, grated
1 celery stalk, chopped
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
2 5-oz (142 g) cans of tuna in water or oil, drained
thinly sliced radishes, chopped parsley, extra lime wedges (optional garnishes)


3/4 cup (170 g) whole milk plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup (52 g) mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons (30 ml) Sambal Oelek chili paste, or to taste
2 tablespoons (30 ml) low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon (2.3 g) onion powder
1 teaspoon (3.3 g) garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sesame oil, or to taste
Salt and black pepper, to taste


  • Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain and place into a large bowl.
  • Pour frozen peas into the bowl with the hot pasta. Toss to combine, and allow to sit 2-3 minutes in order for the peas to defrost. Add in the carrot, celery, red onion, and tuna. Gently toss to combine. 
  • In a small bowl, whisk together Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, Sambal Oelek, soy sauce, honey, lime juice and zest, ginger, onion powder, garlic powder, and sesame oil until thoroughly combined. Pour over the pasta mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry. Top with sliced radishes, parsley, and an extra squeeze of lime juice, if desired, before serving.


Adjust this recipe to your taste, as well. Want more heat? Add in extra Sambal Oelek. Less heat? Reduce it to 1 tablespoon (15 ml), or a ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml), or even less for a milder version. Want it zestier? More lime zest/juice is the way to go. You can even adjust the Greek yogurt/mayo ratio to your liking.