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Caesar Pasta Salad – Spend With Pennies

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This delish Caesar Pasta Salad is cold and refreshing, just in time for summer!

A delicious pasta salad tossed with grilled chicken, parmesan cheese, and crisp romaine lettuce in a super quick Caesar dressing.

Serve as a hearty side dish, a light summer supper, or tuck it into a pita or wrap for a healthy midday lunch!

plated Caesar Pasta Salad with lemon slices

A Favorite Summer Meal

  • This meal is great made ahead of time and packs well for lunches all week.
  • Caesar pasta salad is full of goodness from protein, veggies, and dairy all into one delish dish!
  • It’s the perfect potluck dish because there is something for everyone.
  • So many variations to choose from. Use whatever pasta is on hand or use leftover or rotisserie chicken. Love kale Caesar salad, swap out the romaine for kale!
  • Toss with bottled dressing, use the shortcut version below or try our favorite from scratch Ceasar salad dressing.
  • Serve with extra homemade croutons or a slice of garlic bread and watch it disappear!
chicken caesar pasta salad ingredients

Ingredients and Variations

Pasta – Choose medium-sized pasta shapes that have ridges and spaces for the dressing to cling to. We like penne, rotini, and larger sizes of shells and macaroni.

Chicken – Grilled chicken makes this side dish salad a full meal deal! Make it with this DIY chicken seasoning blend or this spicy Cajun blend. Other delicious protein options are bay shrimp, smoked or grilled salmon, or diced salami.

Dressing – Caesar salad dressing has delicious lemon parmesan and garlic dressing.

Greek yogurt can be switched out for sour cream. To decrease the calories a bit, use light mayonnaise and low fat Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Additions – For a salad bar, offer a variety of toppings like extra parmesan cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped hard-boiled eggs, bacon bits, sunflower seeds, or slivered almonds.

Do you HAVE to add anchovy paste?

NOPE! If it’s not your jam, skip the anchovy or add some chopped or slightly mashed capers in place.

But… I do recommend giving it a try! It adds a unique umami to the recipe and lasts a long time. I don’t love anything really ‘fishy’ so I just add a little, it does add a special flavor to the dressing!

How to Make Caesar Pasta Salad

This salad is delicious and so easy to throw together! The steps are simple:

  1. Make the dressing (per recipe below) and refrigerate.
  2. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Grill seasoned chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F, remove from the grill and let rest.
  4. Chop chicken. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss with the desired amount of dressing. Top with additional croutons.

Pro Tip for Firm Pasta

After draining, plunge pasta into a bowl of ice water for about 2 minutes to stop the cooking process, then thoroughly drain again

bowls of Caesar Pasta Salad

Tips for Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Make the dressing first so the flavors can blend. I often double the dressing to have Caesar salad later in the week too!
  • As with all pasta recipes, be sure to salt the pasta water. Use any medium pasta shape.
  • 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 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.
Caesar Pasta Salad in bowl with lemon

Storing Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Store dressing/salad in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. If stored longer, there is a risk that the garlic may produce botulism, a serious toxin, and this is not a risk worth taking.
  • Add fresh chopped romaine lettuce and salad dressing, if desired.
  • To make ahead, mix all the ingredients except the dressing and refrigerate. Add the dressing just before serving.

More Pasta Salads That Eat Like a Meal

These pasta salads are a full meal in a bowl and best of all, they keep a few days for lunches!

Did you enjoy this TITLE recipe? Leave a comment and a rating below!

plated Caesar Pasta Salad with lemon slices

4.88 from 16 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Caesar Pasta Salad

Loaded with the traditional Caesar Salad flavors in a creamy garlic lemon dressing, this meal is both flavorful and filling!

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 10 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Author Holly Nilsson

  • 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°F). Rest until cooled then chop or slice.

  • Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with desired amount of dressing.

  • Serve immediately.

  • Make the dressing first so the flavors can blend. I often double the dressing to have Caesar salad later in the week too!
  • As with all pasta recipes, be sure to salt the pasta water. Use any medium pasta shape.
  • 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 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.

4.88 from 16 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Calories: 537 | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 503mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3194IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 178mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course, Pasta, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Caesar Pasta Salad in bowls with writing
close up of Caesar Pasta Salad with a title
plated Caesar Pasta Salad with writing
close up of Caesar Pasta Salad in a bowl and plated with writing



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