The perfect combination of salad and pasta, this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is AMAZINGLY delicious! This salad is loaded with tender chicken, crisp romaine, hearty pasta, creamy caesar dressing and rich parmesan cheese. Topped off with a special ingredient that brings all of the fresh flavors together, this salad is really something special.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad – The EASY Way!
If you are a salad lover, you are going to adore this salad.
If you aren’t a salad lover, this salad might just convert you!
I first had this salad at a cafe in a small town in Mississippi. It won my heart, and so even though we haven’t been back to the town, we have been making our version of this salad at home ever since.
It is just so good, it is UNFORGETABLE!
This salad makes a great lunch, but it is also for a light, but still filling dinner.
It can be made in as little as 15-20 minutes, and eaten at the table or just as easily packed for when you are on the go.
We eat this for dinner a lot, but I also love to bring it to potlucks and neighborhood barbecues. It is the perfect side to add to the spread since it has flavors everyone loves!
What to Serve with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
This salad combines veggies, protein, and starch all in one dish. It is well rounded and wholesome, and can be a meal all on its own, no sides required.
If you do want to add a little extra, there are a few things that go really well with this dish.
Side Dish Ideas
- https://easyfamilyrecipes.com/best-garlic-bread/Garlic bread- This is our favorite, unless of course we want it cheesy then we go with our Garlic Cheesy Bread
- Baked Potatoes
- Creamy Tomato Soup
You can choose one or add a few sides to make a wholesome, well rounded dinner.
This Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad recipe is as simple as promised! Just six ingredients for a family friendly meal.
In this section I am going to go through a few tips and tricks I use when making this recipe to get the absolute best and most delicious results.
Make sure to scroll to the bottom for the FULL recipe card.
- Romaine lettuce– Romaine is the best choice for a caesar salad, not only is it the traditional lettuce green to use in a caesar salad, but you need a heartier leaf like romaine to hold the creamy dressing and stand up with everything the salad is loaded with.
- Cooked chicken breast– I use rotisserie chicken most often. Although, you can use baked chicken, boiled chicken, or any leftover chicken that is neutral in flavor.
- Bowtie pasta– The pasta should be made per the package directions. I like the ratio of pasta that you get with bowtie (farfelle) pasta, but you can use any type you have on hand.
- Parmesan cheese shavings– You can also use shredded parmesan cheese instead of shavings
- Caesar dressing– You can use store bought or homemade Caesar, but I prefer to use creamy style caesar over a vinaigrette style caesar for this. My go-to dressing for this salad is Ken’s Creamy Caesar dressing.
- Grape tomatoes– This is less traditional for caesar salad, but I really like the sweetness of the tomatoes with the
- Use Romaine (or another hearty lettuce). Since the dressing is creamy, thus heavier, and the pasta is hearty, you need a lettuce that is substantial enough to hold its own in the salad. I don’t recommend more delicate greens like mixed greens, but something heartier like kale or curly leaf lettuce would work well as a substitute.
- Start with half the dressing. I recommend starting with half the dressing, then tossing the salad and adding more little by little until you get to consistency dressed that you like.
- Use an EXTRA large bowl- This makes enough to feed a crowd. In order to mix everything well so that all of the toppings are evenly coated with dressing, make sure to use a bowl that gives you plenty of room to toss things around as needed to get it all mixed.
- Scale the Salad if needed. This makes enough for about 8 servings, or 4 extra large (think restaurant style) portions. If you want to make less, you can half the ingredients to make 4 servings. If you are taking this to a party, it may be enough since it most likely won’t be the only food on the table, but you can always double the recipe for an extra large salad.
Recipe Short Cuts
If you need to make this recipe, but are extra short on time, here are a few ideas that can help make this recipe even faster!
- Prep the ingredients– Have all the ingredients prepped and ready so that all you need to do is toss the salad together right before serving. This can be done up to 3 days in advance. Note: store cooked pasta in water and drain before adding to the salad to keep the pasta from clumping.
- Make the salad ahead of time– You can also combine all ingredients and just leave off the dressing and lemon, then just before serving toss with the dressing. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance.
Salad can be made ahead and tossed with the dressing up to 1-3 hours in advance and stay fresh. This works well if you are preparing the salad to take to an event.
If you love this recipe as much as we do and want some quick ways to change it up for variety, these little tips will do the trick!
- Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad– Make salad as directed reducing the caesar dressing to 1/2 cup and adding 1/4 cup prepared pesto.
- LOADED Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad– Make the caesar salad as directed, adding crispy crumbled bacon, diced hard boiled eggs, green onions, and avocado to the lettuce mixture.
- Spicy Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad– Make caesar salad as directed, adding 1 tsp, up to 1 tbsp of crushed red pepper in with the dressing. Scale the amount of spice you want with more or less crushed red pepper.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Leftovers
If you have leftovers after making Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, they can be saved.
To save leftovers, try to package in an airtight container and refrigerate as soon as possible.
The dressing will start to wilt the lettuce, but the fresher and heartier lettuce used, the longer it will go without wilting in the fridge.
The salad should be good for at least 24 hours, but sometimes will last up to 3-4 days.
Here are a few ways to repurpose those leftovers and give them a delicious makeover!
- Chicken Caesar Wrap– Use a flat bread or tortilla and lay flat. Pile in chicken caesar pasta salad leftovers. Fold the end then roll the wrap up. Cut in half if desired.
- Garlic Bread Subs– Cut a sub roll in half. Butter each side then sprinkle with garlic powder and salt. Broil for 2-5 minutes or until the butter is melted and the edges start to brown. Pile the chicken caesar pasta salad in the sub roll and serve immediately.
- Chicken Caesar Open Face Grilled cheese– Butter one side of a good piece of white bread. Place it on a skillet or griddle butter side down heated to medium. Pile mozzarella, or Italian blend cheese on the other side and grill until the bottom is golden and the cheese is melted. Plate the bread and pile the chicken caesar pasta salad on top. Eat with a fork and knife.
More Easy Salad Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, I really hope you will take a moment to grab a few more easy recipes for another busy night!
You can check out all of my Easy Salad recipes here, or see a few of our readers favorite recipes below.
- 10 cups romaine lettuce, shredded (about 1 large head)
- 4 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or cubed
- 16 oz bowtie pasta, cooked per package directions
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shavings
- 1 cup caesar dressing, (up to 1 cup, more or less to taste)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 lemon
- Place all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Toss until evenly coated.
- Then squeeze the fresh lemon over the top and give one last toss.
- Serve immediately, or can be chilled for up to one hour.
Extra add ins:
- Crispy crumbled bacon
- Hard boiled eggs
- Pine nuts or sunflower seeds