Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Potlucks and cookouts have become the unofficial test arena of my blog recipes. I slide my dish onto the table, quietly announce its title, then silently score it based on how guests react. Second helpings, recipe requests, and overall amount of leftovers each contribute to the tally. This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe? OFF THE CHARTS.
Not only did I not have any leftovers of this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad after our last cookout, almost every single person asked for the recipe. Full points!
Although I initially intended this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad to be a side dish, I’ve actually loved it best as an easy, all-in-one dinner for Ben and myself. Made with whole wheat bowtie pasta, juicy chicken, and crisp veggies, this pasta salad hits all the key food groups, and thanks to my favorite easy homemade Caesar dressing and a shower of crunchy croutons, it’s jam-packed with flavor and texture too.
I most recently made this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad on Saturday, after returning home from a photography workshop in California. I’m an entirely self-taught photographer, and although I’m coming to enjoy photography much more, it’s still the most challenging aspect of food blogging for me.
Improving my photography is one of my biggest goals this year, and the workshop—which was lead by two of the photographers I most admire, Todd and Diane—left me feeling energized and inspired. I’ve never been so proud of my photos. (You can see two I took here and here.) Now that I’m back home, I hope I can incorporate what I learned, even if I no longer have access to Todd and Diane’s beautifully lit studio or incredible collection of props.
Although the workshop was demanding (in a good way), it was also enormously fun, to the extent that I returned home with a case of the post-vacation blues. It might sound silly, but a big bowl of Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad really did lift my mood. This recipe takes very little time to make, so I was able to enjoy more time out on our porch with Ben, and it’s vibrant, zippy flavor and fresh ingredients are cheerful too.
My next mood booster: the Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad leftovers I know are waiting for me in the refrigerator for lunch today. I can’t help but smile!
Tools I used to make this recipe:
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Easy Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad. Perfect for a side or hearty main meal. Whole wheat pasta, crisp veggies, and the best creamy homemade Caesar dressing.
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 batch Homemade Caesar Dressing
- 8 ounces whole wheat pasta (I used bowties/farfalle)
- 10 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces (about 1 large or 2 small breasts)
- 1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped (about 6 cups or 5 ounces)
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half if large
- 3/4 cup croutons
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking. Shake off any excess water and set aside.
- If necessary, cook the chicken breasts. A fast, easy way to do it is to gently pound them to an even thickness, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, then pan-sear them in olive oil over medium heat until cooked through (about 4 minutes per side). Alternatively, you place them in a large pot and cover them with water. Place on the stove, add salt and pepper, then bring the water to a simmer. Gently simmer the chicken until cooked through, about 8 minutes or longer depending upon the size. Remove from the water, and when cool enough to handle, cut into bited sized pieces.
- Place the cooked pasta into a large serving bowl. Add the chicken, romaine, tomatoes, croutons, and Parmesan. Drizzle with Caesar dressing, then toss to combine. Enjoy cold or at room temperature.
This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad tastes best the day it is made but will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and can be made 1 day in advance. If you know you will be serving leftovers, you can make a little extra homemade dressing and set it aside to toss on the leftovers before serving to keep them from drying out.
Serving Size: 1 (of 6)
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 417
- Total Fat: 15g
- Saturated Fat: 4g
- Cholesterol: 44mg
- Sodium: 47mg
- Carbohydrates: 50g
- Fiber: 9g
- Sugar: 4g
- Protein: 28g
If you like this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, don’t miss these other easy, healthy pasta salad recipes: