Caesar Dressing Is The Secret To An Unbeatable Pasta Salad

Caesar dressing is a wildly underrated ingredient, and one of the easiest ways to make use of it beyond your normal greens is in a pasta salad. People use Italian dressing, ranch, or thousand island for all kinds of meals outside of salad, but where is the love for Caesar? With a flavor profile built around anchovies and parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing is a powerhouse of umami, with plenty of rich fat and saltiness too. It's not hard to imagine it spread on a sandwich in place of mayo, or as a dip for crudité, and yet you are far more likely to find a cup of blue cheese instead. Well, you can rectify that culinary injustice yourself and elevate Caesar dressing to its rightful place among the most used condiments in your fridge, starting with some easy pasta salad.

The simplest way to use Caesar dressing in pasta salad is to just add pasta to your normal Caesar salad recipe. Start with something like our kale Caesar salad, but instead of just greens, use a 50-50 mix with cooked pasta like rotini or penne. Caesar dressing brings the same kind of creamy, fatty taste that mayo would bring to a standard pasta salad, but with much more depth of flavor and satisfying savoriness. When subbing in pasta, it can also help to cut your Caesar dressing with a little lemon juice or vinegar to brighten up the flavors and make it a little less gloopy.

Caesar dressing makes a savory, complex pasta salad

Of course, you don't need to be limited in your imagination when using Caesar dressing in any creamy pasta salad recipe. You can cut the greens entirely and make a more straightforward pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, red bell pepper, and some cucumber or celery for crunch, then mix in some chopped olives, capers, or even some marinated artichoke to bring some briny balance to the mix. You could also double down on the savory and crumble in some bacon. If you'd prefer to go green, you can draw inspiration from pasta primavera and make a salad of broccoli, asparagus, and green peas. You don't need to only be thinking about Italian dishes either. A tuna noodle pasta salad with Caesar dressing is a simple swap that will transform the finished product for the better.

The one big thing you can do to improve any of these pasta salad recipes is to make your own Caesar dressing. Pre-made salad dressing is fine for convenience, but homemade versions are a massive upgrade in flavor that you can also customize to your liking. And while emulsions like Caesar dressing can be tricky to make, you can follow our recipe for a blender Caesar salad dressing to make it a whole lot more foolproof. Caesar dressing is already going to make you a better pasta salad, but why not make it as good as it can be?