Caesar Pasta Salad is the perfect dish for summer. Tender pasta noodles tossed with traditional Caesar Salad ingredients in a creamy garlic lemon dressing this meal is both flavorful and filling.
Adding grilled chicken breast turns this dish into a full meal and is perfect served alongside a slice of Homemade Garlic Bread!
I love that can be made ahead of time and served on the hottest of days, offering relief from the heat of the oven!
Caesar Salad Lovers
If you like a homemade Caesar Salad, you are going to love this Caesar Pasta Salad recipe. It combines all of the delicious flavors of a classic Caesar salad with pasta to make a perfect summer meal!
Caesar salad dressing has to be one of my all time favorites, rich and creamy with a distinct lemon and garlic flavor. I highly suggest making the homemade dressing for this recipe, it’s both quick and delicious.
The Secret Ingredient
Well, I guess it’s not really secret… but Caesar salad dressing typically has anchovies in it and they really do add an amazing dimension of flavor to this dressing!
I personally don’t eat much that has a really strong fish flavor but using anchovy paste adds so much umami to this recipe (I don’t use tons so it’s not super fishy) that I never leave it out.
You can certainly replace anchovies with blended capers if you don’t want to use it but it’s worth trying at least once. Using a paste instead of chopped anchovy fillets makes a smoother dressing and I prefer it without little chunks so I generally use the paste but if you happen to have filets on hand, definitely use those!
If you’re really in a time crunch you can most certainly sub in your favorite bottled Caesar salad dressing; either way, this Caesar pasta salad is unforgettably good!
Tips for Caesar Pasta Salad
- As with all pasta recipes, be sure to salt your pasta water.
- Any medium pasta shape will work in this recipe.
- You can use grilled chicken, rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken to make this recipe quick.
- To make this meal a side dish, leave out the chicken.
- Homemade dressing is best but you can certainly substitute your favorite bottled caesar salad dressing if you prefer.
- Bacon or real bacon bits will both work perfectly in this recipe. Skip the imitation bacon, it will get soggy.
Homemade Herb Croutons is both easy and delish! I whip up a batch and store them for use over the next couple of weeks.
Parmesan for Caesar Pasta Salad
Caesar Pasta Salad tastes best when using fresh parmesan cheese; you can use a powdered version if that is what you have, but the flavor of fresh parmesan really takes this recipe to the next level of yum! While real fresh parmesan cheese can be a bit pricey, it lasts forever in the fridge and it just a little bit goes a long way since the flavor is intense.
While we do serve this as a summer main dish, you can certainly make it into the perfect potluck side dish by skipping the chicken. I do prefer to toss this pasta salad with dressing right before serving for maximum freshness, but surprisingly the lettuce holds up really well in this salad and if we have leftovers we enjoy it for lunch for a couple of days!
More Perfect Pasta Salads
- Creamy Chicken Pasta Salad – party fave!
- Chicken Club Ranch Pasta Salad – great for potlucks
- Bow Tie Pasta Salad – classic
- Italian Pasta Salad – our favorite
- BLT Pasta Salad – kid approved
4.34 from 3 votes Review Recipe Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 30 minutes Servings 8 servings Author Holly Nilsson Course Main Course, Side Dish Cuisine American Loaded with the traditional Caesar Salad flavors in a creamy garlic lemon dressing this meal is both flavorful and filling.
- 3/4 lb penne or other medium pasta
- 2-3 chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- seasoning to taste I love cajun seasoning
- 6 cups romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 cup croutons
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 6 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
- lemon wedges for serving
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons anchovy paste
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- salt & fresh black pepper to taste
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- Combine all dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate.
- Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Run under cold water and drain well.
- Season chicken breasts with olive oil and seasoning to taste. Grill over medium heat 4-5 minutes per side or until juices run clear. (165 degrees). Rest until cooled.
- Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with desired amount of dressing.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information Calories: 577, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 707mg, Potassium: 496mg, Carbohydrates: 37g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Protein: 26g, Vitamin A: 3185%, Vitamin C: 4.8%, Calcium: 176%, Iron: 1.7%
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)
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This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is loaded with all of the traditional toppings for a caesar salad, including croutons, parmesan cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, with added pasta and chicken, all smothered in a creamy caesar dressing. Serve this cold pasta salad as a side for your next bbq or as an easy weeknight dinner.
There is something completely refreshing about this caesar pasta salad. I love the crunch from the romaine and croutons and the flavors of the creamy pasta, grilled chicken and parmesan cheese.
You can make homemade caesar dressing for the pasta salad, or buy a good quality creamy caesar dressing from the store. I like Newman’s Own or Brianna’s brand.
I love adding chicken to my pasta salad recipes because it’s an easy way to add protein and make them more filling, which is great if I plan on serving them as a main dish.
Some of my favorite main dish pasta salad recipes with chicken include this healthy chicken pasta salad with a creamy citrus dressing, and this spinach chicken bowtie pasta salad with teriyaki dressing.
No one loves a good pasta salad as much as my kids! I constantly keep cooked noodles in my fridge just for the convenience of throwing together a quick lunch of one of their many favorite pasta salads.
How to make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad:
Start by cooking the noodles in boiling water until al dente, according the package instructions.
Drain the water and rinse the noodles with cold water. Drizzle some caesar salad dressing over the cooked pasta and refrigerate it while you prepare the rest of the pasta salad.
Season the chicken on all sides with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.
Cook in a hot skillet, flipping only once, until golden on both sides and cooked through.
Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow it to rest before chopping.
Combine the pasta, chicken, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, croutons and shredded parmesan in a bowl. Add desired amount of caesar dressing on top and toss everything gently to evenly coat in the dressing.
Looking for more great recipes to enjoy this summer? Don’t miss:
25+ Sides to Bring to a BBQ
Tuna Pasta Salad
Baked Potato Salad
Don’t miss all my pasta salad recipes!
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad loaded with all of the traditional toppings for a caesar salad, including croutons, parmesan cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, with added pasta and chicken, all smothered in a creamy caesar dressing. The perfect easy weeknight meal, or side dish for a BBQ. 5 from 1 vote Pin Course: Main Course, Salad Cuisine: American Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Servings: 4 people Calories: 307kcal Author: Lauren Allen
- 6 ounces penne pasta
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts , grilled
- 4 cups Romaine lettuces , chopped
- 1/2 medium size cucumber , chopped
- 1 carrot , shredded
- 1/4 cup green onion , thinly sliced
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes , halved
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup croutons (optional)
- caesar salad dressing , to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain water and set aside to cool.
- Chop the grilled chicken breasts into small chunks.
- In a large bowl toss together chicken, cooked penne pasta, lettuce, cucumber, carrot, green onion, cherry tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and croutons.
- Drizzle with desired amount of Caesar salad dressing and toss to coat.
Calories: 307kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 245mg | Potassium: 709mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 7185IU | Vitamin C: 22.9mg | Calcium: 146mg | Iron: 2.2mg Did you make this recipe?Tag @TastesBetterFromScratch on Instagram #TastesBetterFromScratch!
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*I originally shared this recipe May 2014. Updated June 2018.