5 from 2 votes

The Ultimate Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

 August 19, 2023

If there’s one thing better than a chicken Caesar Salad, it’s a chicken caesar PASTA salad. That’s right: all of the traditional Caesar Salad ingredients that you know and love, thrown on top of a bowl of pasta. What could be better than that?! This is THE Ultimate Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe, which is loaded with juicy chicken, crispy romaine lettuce, and a healthy Caesar dressing. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also made with pasta?! This recipe can easily be adapted to be made gluten-free, and is perfect for lunches on those late summer days!

A bowl of the chicken caesar pasta salad, sitting on a countertop

Friends, have you seen the TikTok trend going around lately about “girl dinner?” Basically, it started as a funny way to explain how girls / women love eating the same few, simple meals. One of the classic “girl dinner” examples was a Caesar salad, with a side of French fries and a Diet Coke. And I have to say, when it comes to “girl dinners,” that was always one of my favorites!

When I was growing up in LA, I loved nothing more than a crisp Caesar Salad and a refreshing Diet Coke on a hot, summer day. But now that I live in San Francisco, where it’s a little bit cooler, and try to eat healthier, I love making Caesar Salads at home and enjoying them with a side of Poppi, instead. And my favorite homemade Caesar salad this summer has definitely been my Ultimate Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.

This recipe is truly comfort food, because it has all of the classic Caesar Salad elements, paired with tender pasta. And let’s be honest, when it comes to pasta, you truly can’t go wrong. This recipe is perfect for all of your backyard bbq’s, summer gatherings, or anytime that you’re craving a light and refreshing lunch recipe.

And if you happen to be gluten-free and can’t enjoy traditional pasta salads, then fear not, because this recipe can easily be made gluten-free! Simply swap out the pasta for a gluten-free alternative. One of my favorites is by Banza, and it happens to be packed with protein, too.

What You Need to Make The Ultimate Pasta Salad

  • Pasta: While you can use any pasta shape that you’d like, for this recipe, I highly recommend using either penne or bowtie pasta. Why? Because they are classic pasta salad shapes! As mentioned above, you can use either conventional pasta or gluten-free for this recipe. Both taste equally as delicious.
  • Romaine Lettuce: Crispy, crunchy romaine lettuce is a key ingredient when it comes to Caesar salad, and it’s no different when it comes to this recipe. If you want this recipe to truly taste like a Caesar salad, then you NEED romaine lettuce!
  • Chicken: If you want to keep this recipe simple and easy, you can use rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken that you have. But, if you want to take this salad to the next level, try my perfectly juicy chicken.
A bowl of chopped romaine lettuce, sitting on a countertop next to a bowl of cooked pasta, and surrounded by the ingredients needed to make this caesar pasta salad
To make this pasta salad, start by cooking the pasta until it is al dente. Then, drain and rinse the pasta, and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
  • Parmesan Cheese: When it comes to parmesan cheese, I always recommend using freshly-grated cheese. Why? It contains less preservatives so it has a fresher flavor that truly shines in this recipe.
  • Plain Yogurt: Instead of using mayonnaise, we’ll be using plain yogurt to make the dressing. Yogurt contains higher protein content, keeping you feeling fuller for longer. You can also opt for Greek Yogurt or a plant-based yogurt here.
  • Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard adds the perfect amount of tang to this dressing recipe. Don’t skip it!
  • Worcestershire Sauce: If you are gluten-sensitive, be sure to use gluten-free Worcestershire sauce!
  • Lemon: The squeeze of a fresh lemon adds brightness and acidity to this dressing, helping to cut through the fat content of the yogurt.
  • Garlic: I always recommend using fresh garlic cloves, whenever possible.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper: Any good salad recipe needs a dash of sea salt and black pepper, and this recipe is truly no exception!

How to Make This Classic Pasta Salad

To make this pasta salad, start by preparing the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, on the stove. Once the water is boiling, add in the pasta and cook until it is al dente. This should take approximately 11-12 minutes, but be sure to reference the directions on the pasta box.

When the pasta is cooked through, drain it and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. Set the pasta aside to cool while you prepare the dressing. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until it’s smooth and creamy.

Next, chop the heads of romaine lettuce and add them to a large bowl. Finally, assemble the salad by adding the pasta into the bowl with the lettuce, along with the chopped chicken and parmesan cheese, and then pour the dressing on top of the pasta salad. Toss to fully combine, then serve the salad and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to three days.

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Tanya Pilgrim
A bowl of the chicken caesar pasta salad, sitting on a countertop
Nut Free/Refined Sugar Free

The Ultimate Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

5 from 2 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
SERVES 4 Meal-Sized Salads
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If there's one thing better than a chicken Caesar salad, it's a chicken Caesar PASTA salad. That's right: all of the traditional Caesar Salad ingredients that you know and love, thrown on top of a bowl of pasta. What could be better than that?! This is THE Ultimate Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe, which is loaded with juicy chicken, crispy romaine lettuce, and a healthy Caesar dressing. Oh, and did I mention that it's also made with pasta?! This recipe can easily be adapted to be made gluten-free, and is perfect for lunches on those late summer days!

Ingredients

For the Pasta Salad:

  • 12 Ounces Penne or Bowtie Pasta you can also substitute gluten-free pasta, if desired
  • 3 Heads Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 Cup Chicken chopped
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese grated

For the Dressing:

  • 1 ½ Cups Plain Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Lemon juiced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic mashed
  • ¾ Cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

  • To make this pasta salad, start by preparing the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, on the stove.
  • Once the water is boiling, add in the pasta and cook until it is al dente. This should take approximately 11-12 minutes, but be sure to reference the directions on the pasta box.
  • When the pasta is cooked through, drain it and rinse it thoroughly with cold water.
  • Set the pasta aside to cool while you prepare the dressing.
  • Add all of the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend until it's smooth and creamy.
  • Next, chop the heads of romaine lettuce and add them to a large bowl.
  • Finally, assemble the salad by adding the pasta into the bowl with the lettuce, along with the chopped chicken and parmesan cheese, and then pour the dressing on top of the pasta salad.
  • Toss to fully combine, then serve the salad and enjoy! Store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to three days.

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