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This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is made with an easy-peasy Caesar dressing made with anchovies, garlic, and mayonnaise. The combination of lettuce, pasta, tomatoes, and chicken makes the perfect meal. This is an excellent salad for your next barbecue, picnic, or family reunion.

With all the delicious flavors of a Caesar salad in a simple pasta salad, it’s sure to become one of your new favorite pasta salad recipes!

A chicken caesar pasta salad in a white bowl being served with wooden spoons.

Warmer weather is just around the corner, and this is the perfect recipe for an easy spring and summer dinner. It’s also a great picnic, potluck, summer BBQ, or Easter Meal side dish!

What can make that classic Caesar Salad even better? Why pasta, of course!

And the fact that this is a cinch to pull together! With the pasta included with the Chicken Caesar Salad, it’s a complete meal all on its own. I ask (or declare), what’s better than that on a busy weeknight or for a light Sunday evening dinner?

Ingredient Notes

Labeled image of ingredients needed to chicken caesar pasta salad recipe.
  • Chicken: I love to use a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken for an easy option. You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe. You can grill, bake, sauté, or cook the chicken in an Instant Pot before slicing it into strips or bite-sized pieces. Use your favorite seasonings or sprinkle with a bit of Greek seasoning when cooking.
  • Pasta: Choose a pasta shape that will hold the dressing well, such as penne, fusilli, or rotini. Cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente, then rinse it under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Crisp Romaine Lettuce: Romaine lettuce provides the classic Caesar salad base. Make sure to wash and dry the leaves thoroughly before using them in the salad. You can also grab bagged lettuce for a shortcut.
  • Creamy Caesar Dressing: I provide a quick and flavorful dressing recipe that is easy to make using mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, and black pepper. You can also use store-bought Caesar dressing if desired.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Shaved Parmesan cheese adds a savory, salty flavor to the salad. Or use freshly grated Parmesan for the best taste.
  • Crunch Croutons: Croutons provide texture and crunch to the salad. You can use store-bought croutons or make your own by toasting cubes of bread with olive oil and seasonings.
  • Cherry Tomatoes (optional): Cherry tomatoes add sweetness and acidity to the salad. I like to halve them for the perfect bites, or you could leave them whole, depending on your preference. If you want this to be a more traditional Caesar salad base, you can omit them altogether.

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How To Make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe

Be sure to see the recipe card below for exact ingredients and full recipe instructions!

  1. Make Caesar Dressing: In a large bowl, add the creamy dressing ingredients. Mix with a spoon or whisk until thoroughly combined.

    A white bowl with caesar salad ingredients added and stirred to combine.
  2. Cook the Cooked Pasta: Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the package directions.
  3. Prepare Vegetables: While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes and shave the parmesan cheese.
  4. Drain and Cool Pasta: Drain the al dente pasta. Run cold water over the pasta so it doesn’t continue to cook. Once cooled, set aside.
  5. Add Salad Ingredients to Dressing: Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and stir the dressing to be sure well combined. Add the drained pasta, juicy chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, 1 cup of croutons, and 3/4 cup of shaved parmesan cheese to the bowl.

    A white bowl filled with ingredients for caesar pasta salad and then mixing in the dressing.
  6. Toss to Combine: Use a spoon or tongs to incorporate the dressing throughout the salad.

    A white bowl with chicken caesar pasta salad tossed with wooden spoons and then topped with shaved parmesan cheese and croutons.
  7. Top with the remainder of the croutons and parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Tips

  • I omitted adding salt, as the anchovy paste, mayonnaise, and cheese provide plenty of salt. Taste the dressing and adjust it to your liking. If you’d like more salt I suggest starting with adding ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of salt to the dressing.
  • This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for a large crowd. Just adjust the serving size in the recipe card for adjusted ingredient amounts.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Add crumbled crispy bacon for a smokey flavor.
  • Omit Chicken: I love how using protein makes a complete meal, but you can skip it if you’d like. If you’d like to serve this as a side dish, you may want to leave it out.
  • Protein Substitutions: Instead of chicken, you can use grilled shrimp, cooked salmon, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. If you prefer a different type of meat, such as turkey or ham, you can use that instead of chicken.
  • Vegetable Additions: Add a variety of fresh vegetables such as diced cucumbers, shredded carrot, bell peppers, or avocado for extra crunch and flavor. Roasted vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers can also be a delicious addition.
  • Greens Variation: Instead of romaine lettuce, you can use a combination of baby spinach, arugula, or kale for a different flavor profile and added nutrients.
  • Crouton Alternatives: Want to keep it a little healthier? Replace traditional croutons with toasted nuts or seeds like almonds, pine nuts, or sunflower seeds for added protein and crunch. Homemade crispy chickpeas or lentils can also be used as a flavorful alternative to croutons.
A wooden serving spoon scooping out a serving of Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely! While traditional recipes often call for penne, fusilli, or rotini pasta, you can use any pasta shape you prefer. Try using smaller pasta shapes like bowties or shells for a fun twist. Just ensure it’s cooked al dente so that it holds its shape well in the salad. You can also use whole wheat pasta, gluten-free, or vegetable-based pasta to keep it a little healthier.

Is it necessary to use anchovy paste in the dressing?

Anchovy paste adds a distinct umami flavor to Caesar dressing, but if you’re not a fan, you can omit it. We already have Worchestershire that gives a depth of flavor. You may want to add salt to the homemade dressing if omitting anchovy paste.

How long does the dressing keep in the fridge?

Homemade Caesar dressing can typically be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Shake or stir it well before using.

Can I make this salad vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can easily make a vegetarian or vegan version of this salad by omitting the chicken, using a vegan parmesan cheese replacement, and using a vegan Caesar dressing made with plant-based ingredients.

Can I make this salad gluten-free?

Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta. Pick a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, or if using a store-bought dressing, ensure it is gluten-free certified to make this salad gluten-free.

A white serving plate topped with Caesar Salad with chicken and pasta

Make Ahead and Storage Instructions

Make Ahead: The chicken can be cooked, or grab and shred a rotisserie chicken, and all the ingredients can be chopped beforehand. Wait to add the dressing until ready to serve.

Storage: This creamy Caesar pasta salad is best when served fresh. When storing leftovers, cover them with foil or plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. It will hold up for a day or two.

For Meal Prep, you can combine the pasta salad without the lettuce. Store the lettuce separately until ready to enjoy.

What to Serve with Easy Caesar Salad with Chicken and Pasta

Chicken pasta with Caesar Dressing salad pairs well with a variety of dishes to create a complete and satisfying meal. Here are some ideas for what to serve with it:

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A chicken caesar pasta salad in a white bowl being served with wooden spoons.
Recipe
5 from 8 votes

(click stars to rate)

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 side servings
Author: Nikki Lee
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Ingredients 

Caesar Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, (1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Caesar Pasta Salad Ingredients

  • 8 ounce pasta of choice, (rotini pasta used here)
  • 1 pound cooked chicken, cubed
  • 4 romaine hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups croutons, divided
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shaved, divided

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add Dressing Ingredients: mayonnaise, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, and black pepper. Mix with a spoon until fully combined. Taste the dressing to see if it needs more lemon juice, or if you like a sweeter dressing, you can add ¼ teaspoon of white granulated sugar. Place the dressing in the fridge.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package ingredients. Approximately 10-12 minutes.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes and shave the parmesan cheese.
  • Drain the pasta with cool water until the pasta is cooled.
  • Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and stir the dressing. To the bowl, add the drained pasta, chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, 1 cup croutons, and 3/4 cup shaved parmesan cheese. 
  • Use a spoon or tongs to incorporate the dressing throughout the salad.
  • Top with the remainder of the croutons and parmesan cheese.

Notes

10 side servings or 4 meal-sized servings. Nutrition calculations based on side servings.
Make Ahead: The chicken can be cooked, or grab a rotisserie chicken, and all the ingredients can be chopped beforehand. Wait to add the dressing until ready to serve.
Storage: This pasta salad is best when served fresh. When storing leftovers, cover them with foil or plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator. It will hold up for a day or two.
For Meal Prep, you can combine the pasta salad without the lettuce. Store the lettuce separately until ready to enjoy.
TIPS:
    • I omitted adding salt, as the anchovy paste, mayonnaise, and cheese provide plenty of salt. Taste the dressing and adjust it to your liking. If you’d like more salt I suggest starting with adding ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon of salt to the dressing.
    • This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled for a large crowd. Just adjust the serving size in the recipe card for adjusted ingredient amounts.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving Calories: 404kcal (20%) Carbohydrates: 24g (8%) Protein: 21g (42%) Fat: 25g (38%) Saturated Fat: 6g (38%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0.04g Cholesterol: 54mg (18%) Sodium: 490mg (21%) Potassium: 339mg (10%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 2g (2%) Vitamin A: 4162IU (83%) Vitamin C: 7mg (8%) Calcium: 214mg (21%) Iron: 2mg (11%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is the perfect blend of creamy, crunchy, and savory. I love to make it as a quick lunch or even to serve to my family for dinner with some crusty bread.

  2. 5 stars
    I absolutely love this mashup! This is the best of both delicious worlds, and we loved it last night when I made it. The pasta adds such nice texture to the classic Caesar falvors.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. Made it for lunch and it was a hit. You really can’t go wrong with the main ingredients of chicken and pasta with parmesan cheese. Always a winner!!