Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

If you are looking for the perfect option for a light lunch or dinner, this caesar chicken pasta salad is just the solution. From the kitchen of Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, this simple and delicious dish combines the freshness of crisp lettuce, the richness of Parmesan cheese, the tanginess of homemade caesar dressing, and the heartiness of roasted chicken all packed into a pasta salad that is ideal either for home or as a packed lunch on the go.

Set against the backdrop of fusilli pasta cooked to al dente perfection, this recipe boasts a mixture of textures and flavors, which is sure to satisfy. The recipe serves four people, making it perfect for a lunchtime gathering or a family dinner. If you have more than four mouths to feed, it is really easy to scale up the quantities to cater for as many as you need. Enjoy this pasta salad either as a light yet filling standalone meal, or serve it as a side dish at your next gathering. It is also a good option as a potluck party contribution, just hold off on adding the dressing and toppings until you're ready to eat to keep everything lovely and crisp.

Gather the ingredients for caesar chicken pasta salad

To make this caesar chicken pasta salad recipe, first you will need to gather the ingredients. You will want bread, olive oil, Italian herbs, salt, and pepper for the croutons. You'll also need chicken breasts, oregano, and garlic powder. To make the classic caesar sauce you will need anchovies, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and Parmesan. Fusilli pasta, little gem lettuce, and Parmesan shavings complete the dish.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Step 2: Prepare the bread

Toss the cubed bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon Italian herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Bake the bread

Bake the bread for 15 to 20 minutes until it is crisp and golden, then set aside to cool.

Step 4: Season the chicken

Transfer the chicken breasts to an oven dish and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ⅓ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Roast the chicken

Roast the chicken breasts for 20 minutes until just cooked through.

Step 6: Start the caesar salad dressing

Meanwhile, to assemble the salad dressing, add the anchovies, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon water, and the grated Parmesan to a bowl.

Step 7: Mix the caesar sauce

Mix until well combined, then set aside.

Step 8: Heat a saucepan of water

Heat a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.

Step 9: Cook the pasta

Add the fusilli pasta and cook according to the packets instructions until al dente, about 10 minutes, then drain through a colander.

Step 10: Slice the chicken

Slice the chicken breasts.

Step 11: Combine ingredients in a bowl

To assemble and serve the salad, add the pasta, the chopped lettuce, and the dressing to a large bowl.

Step 12: Toss ingredients in the dressing

Toss together so the salad and pasta are coated in the dressing.

Step 13: Assemble the salad

Transfer the pasta mixture to a serving bowl or platter, and top with the chicken, croutons, and Parmesan shavings before serving.

How can you switch up this caesar chicken pasta salad recipe?

The versatility of this caesar chicken pasta salad recipe allows for various adaptations to suit individual preferences and dietary needs. If you aren't a fan of meat you can omit the chicken, and instead add a protein-rich alternative such as chickpeas, tofu, or a replacement meat. You would also need to remove the anchovies from the caesar dressing; capers can be used instead to add that salty umami tang. This would create a delicious plant-based pasta salad that is both satisfying and nutritious. You may choose to swap out the Parmesan cheese to ensure that the dish is fully vegetarian. The recipe can easily be made gluten-free too. Simply swap out the fusilli pasta with gluten-free pasta and the celiac in your life is good to go.

For those who prefer a lighter dressing, the caesar dressing can be adjusted by using Greek yogurt or a combination of yogurt and mayonnaise instead of solely mayonnaise. To add more nutrients to this dish, you could add cherry tomatoes, diced cucumbers, or even sliced bell peppers to the salad for extra freshness and crunch. Additionally, other leafy greens like spinach or arugula can be used in place of or in addition to lettuce. 

How should you store leftover caesar chicken pasta salad?

This caesar chicken pasta salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to three days. To store it properly, transfer any salad ingredients into an airtight container to maintain freshness and prevent it from absorbing any strong odors from the refrigerator. It is best to keep the dressing separate from the salad to prevent the ingredients from becoming soggy. When ready to serve, simply mix the salad with the dressing, ensuring that all components are evenly coated. If the salad appears dry after being refrigerated, a small amount of additional dressing can be added to refresh the flavors.

It's worth noting that the croutons may lose some of their crispness if stored in the fridge with the other ingredients. For optimal texture, it is best to store them separately in an airtight container at room temperature, and add them to the salad just before it is served. 

Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
If chicken caesar salad is a common lunchtime go-to in your household, switch things up with this pasta salad version, which includes fusilli noodles.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
55
minutes
Servings
4
Portions
caesar chicken pasta salad
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh cubed bread
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • ½ pound fusilli pasta
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 head little gem lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan shavings, to serve
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Toss the cubed bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon Italian herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake the bread for 15 to 20 minutes until it is crisp and golden, then set aside to cool.
  4. Transfer the chicken breasts to an oven dish and coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ⅓ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Roast the chicken breasts for 20 minutes until just cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, to assemble the salad dressing, add the anchovies, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon water, and the grated Parmesan to a bowl.
  7. Mix until well combined, then set aside.
  8. Heat a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
  9. Add the fusilli pasta and cook according to the packets instructions until al dente, about 10 minutes, then drain through a colander.
  10. Slice the chicken breasts.
  11. To assemble and serve the salad, add the pasta, the chopped lettuce, and the dressing to a large bowl.
  12. Toss together so the salad and pasta are coated in the dressing.
  13. Transfer the pasta mixture to a serving bowl or platter, and top with the chicken, croutons, and Parmesan shavings before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 949
Total Fat 59.5 g
Saturated Fat 10.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 128.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 54.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
Total Sugars 3.1 g
Sodium 769.6 mg
Protein 46.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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