When my kids really love a dish, I like to think of ways I can turn that into more meal options. Lately they have been really enjoying chicken Caesar pasta salad. Since macaroni is also an old favorite, I thought I would combine the two to make this chicken Caesar pasta salad! It is cool, fresh, and ready in under 30 minutes!!!
I love this recipe because it is a little more fun than a regular salad, and it makes the perfect side or party dish. You can serve this as a side with sandwiches or warm bread with dip or bruschetta. And it is also a great dish to bring to serve at showers, cookouts, parties, or cocktail hours, as it is full of well-loved ingredients, but a bit more elevated than your average chips and dip or store bought side.
Why You'll Love This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Quick and Easy – This recipe can be prepared in under 30 minutes! It is so simple and fast, making it the perfect last minute option, or a great choice for when you have several other dishes to prepare. It's a great pasta salad for potluck!
- Hot or Cold – You can serve this dish warm or chilled. This is nice because not only do you have options for how to enjoy it at home, it also means that this dish is easy to transport and serve if you plan to travel with it.
Ingredients For Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Pasta – You will need one 10 oz box of pasta. You can use whatever kind you like. I prefer macaroni noodles, but rotini or penne work nicely as well. You can choose whole wheat or veggie based pasta if you want to boost the nutritional value of the dish.
- Chicken Breast – For this dish, we need precooked chicken breast. You can grab a bag from the meat section in your grocery store, or use leftover chicken breast from your refrigerator.
• Salt and Pepper – A little salt and pepper are key to any dish.
- Mayonnaise - Mayo makes up the base of the dressing in this dish. You can opt for an avocado oil mayo if you are looking for a healthier option.
- Shredded Parmesan – You can’t have chicken Caesar salad without parmesan!
- Olive Oil – We need a little olive oil for our dressing. You can substitute avocado or grapeseed oil, but avoid using coconut, as it will ruin the consistency of the dressing.
- Garlic Powder – Garlic powder makes up an important part of the seasoning for this dish.
- Worcestershire – Hard to pronounce, easy to savor – our Caesar dressing wouldn’t be complete without a little Worcestershire.
- Lemon Juice – Lemons are high in vitamin c and provide a lovely element of brightness to this dish!
- Dijon Mustard – Dijon is one of the key components in any Caesar dressing, so don’t skip it or substitute a different type of mustard. It won’t have that signature Caesar flavor without it.
- Romaine Hearts – Romaine contains biotin, folate, and vitamins k and a. Since this will be served as a pasta salad, you will want to chop it into smaller pieces than usual.
- Anchovy Paste – Anchovy paste is optional, but is usually present in Caesar salad.
How to Make It
- Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and set aside.
- Whisk together the salt, pepper, mayo, olive oil, shredded parmesan, garlic powder, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and anchovy paste. Cream until smooth.
- In an extra-large mixing bowl, toss chicken cubes, romaine lettuce and pasta in the Caesar dressing until thoroughly coated. Garnish with breadcrumbs and parmesan as desired.
Step by Step Instructions
First, prepare the components of your dish. Start by cooking your pasta according to the directions on the box. While you are waiting for the pasta to cook, you can go ahead and chop your chicken breast into cubes, and chop your romaine hearts and set them aside for later. Once your pasta is done cooking, drain it and set aside to cool.
Now it is time to prepare your dressing. In a large mixing bowl, cream together your salt, pepper, mayo, olive oil, shredded parmesan, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and anchovy paste. Whisk until your mixture is smooth and well mixed.
Next, add your cubed chicken breast, chopped romaine hearts, and cooked pasta into the bowl and toss until all components are completely coated in the dressing.
Garnish with breadcrumbs and parmesan if desired, and serve!
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave in 30 second intervals if desired.
- Pasta can get a little mushy sitting in the pot. To avoid accidentally overcooking the pasta, you can rinse it with a little cold water when it is in the colander.
- If you enjoy this recipe and want to change it up next time, you can try mixing in cubed avocado, bacon, sliced grape tomatoes, julienned carrots, or chopped hard boiled egg.
Chicken Caesar salad may get a bad rap for its mayonnaise based dressing and added cheese, however, there is still nutrition to be found in the chicken and lettuce. If you are concerned about the nutritional content of this dish, you can make simple swaps to make it leaner and more nutritious. You can use whole wheat pasta, avocado oil mayonnaise, avocado oil in place of the olive oil, and add in whatever extra veggies you like. You can also swap the romaine for chopped spinach if desired.
Since this is a pasta salad, it is not necessarily a low carb option, but you can consult the nutrition facts on the pasta and mayonnaise to make the lowest carb choices possible.
This dish spices up a traditional Caesar salad by turning it into a fun and tasty pasta salad! You can also mix in extra goodies if you still wish to spice it up. If you want to add literal spice, toss in some red pepper flakes.
Some great mix-in ideas include tomato, bacon, avocado, hard boiled egg, chopped broccoli, extra cheese, or carrots.
Looking for more delicious pasta dishes? Try these:
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- 10 oz dried Pasta
- 2 cups Chicken Breast grilled/precooked and cubed
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 1 cup Mayo
- ⅓ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
- 2 tbs Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Worcestershire
- 1 tbs Lemon Juice
- 1 tbs Dijon Mustard
- 1 ½ cup Romain Hearts chopped
- 2 tsp Anchovy Paste optional
- Cook pasta according to box directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, pepper, mayo, olive oil, shredded parmesan, garlic powder, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and anchovy paste. Cream until smooth and well incorporated.
- In an extra-large mixing bowl, toss chicken cubes, romaine and pasta in the Caesar dressing until thoroughly coated. Garnish with bread crumbs and parmesan as desired.
May be served warm or cold.
Reheat by microwave in 30 second intervals.