Dear Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, it’s time for your debut! This simple but splendid recipe has been my faithful barbecue, potluck, and easy lunch companion since the first summer we arrived in Wisconsin.
It’s easy, healthy, and perfectly represents the magic that occurs when two classic, well-loved recipe concepts (chicken Caesar salad and pasta salad) meet to create a refreshing new experience.
Ben’s parents live on a lake and, being the dutiful son and daughter-in-law that we are, we mooch off of their prime location as many warm weekends as we can.
Through the years of blogging, weekends on the lake have become one of my most valuable recipe testing grounds. We’re rarely the only guests so an extra side dish (like this BLT Pasta Salad) to share is always a welcome contribution.
I slide my dish onto the table, then silently sit back and observe how the other guests react.
Second helpings, recipe requests, and the overall amount of leftovers (goal = none) each contribute to whether or not I decide if the recipe is a keeper.
This chicken Caesar pasta salad recipe? OFF THE CHARTS.
Why I Love This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
This crowd-approved side combines the key ingredients of chicken Caesar salad—juicy chicken, crunchy greens, crispy croutons, salty Parmesan, and creamy Caesar dressing—with whole wheat pasta and fresh cherry tomatoes to create a dish that’s tailor-made for lazy weekend days and quick weeknight dinners.
How Do You Make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad?
This tasty chicken Caesar pasta salad is jam-packed with flavor, and its pleasing contrast of textures makes it satisfying and addictive.
- Whole Wheat Pasta. ATTENTION whole wheat pasta skeptics! I beg you to try it.
- Chicken. For the chicken, I recommend my easy method for How to Cook Shredded Chicken, Baked Chicken Breast, or Crock Pot Shredded Chicken. You can also use a rotisserie chicken for a fast, easy shredded chicken pasta recipe. Grilled chicken pieces would be wonderful here too.
- Romaine Lettuce. For the greens, romaine is traditional for Caesar, though I’ve also done this recipe as a kale chicken caesar pasta salad and a caesar pasta salad with spinach. Romaine or kale would be my top recommendations, because they are hearty enough to stand up to the other ingredients and maintain their texture long after the pasta is made, a key qualification of a potluck-worthy dish.
- Cherry Tomatoes. Bright, delicious little bursts of flavor! Plus, the red color is beautiful in the bowl.
- Croutons. For a bit of crunch and added flavor.
- Parmesan. Nutty, cheesy, and perfectly suited for Caesar dressing.
- Dressing. I love using my delicious Homemade Caesar Dressing!
- Cook, drain and rinse the pasta. Transfer into a large serving bowl.
- If necessary, cook the chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss together the remaining ingredients with the cooked pasta and chicken until evenly coated with dressing. Enjoy!
How to Make Ahead and Store Caesar Salad
- To Store. Chicken Caesar pasta salad tastes best the day it is made but will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days and can be made 1 day in advance.
- To Make Ahead. This salad can be made 1 day in advance.
- If you know you will be serving leftovers, you can make a little extra dressing and set it aside to toss on the leftovers before serving to keep them from drying out. No extra dressing? Try reviving the leftovers with a big squeeze of lemon juice.
Let the summer sunshine and the days of Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad begin!