Tuna and Shells Salad a la Costa Rica

This is a simple yet tasty traditional Costa Rica dish. I’ve not put any sort of spin on it, it’s the original version. In Costa Rica, there is a huge selection of canned tuna at the supermercados, and you simply can’t find better canned tuna anywhere. The tuna is packed the same day it’s caught, at a plant located in Puntarenas, on the Pacific side of the country. You can make this salad using fresh tuna that you cook yourself, but then it wouldn’t be Costa Rica style 🙂

Tuna and Shells Salad a la Costa Rica

Pure Costa Rica, the recipe without any tweaking
5 from 2 votes
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Latin America


  • 1 bag small pasta shells (small bag, 8.8 oz)
  • 2 cans tuna in oil (5 oz cans)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 cup frozen peas thawed
  • ½ small onion diced
  • 2 medium stalks celery diced
  • ½ cup green bell pepper diced
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped


  • Prep the tuna fresh ingredients and have them ready to go.
    Tuna and Shells ingredients
  • Cook the pasta shells according to instructions. Drain them only when you're ready to mix up the salad, otherwise they'll stick together.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.
  • Drain the tuna and add it and all the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Keyword atun y caracolitas,, costa rica canned tuna, costa rica tuna salad, tuna pasta salad, tuna salad
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Tuna and Shells Salad a la Costa Rica

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