If you like Caesar Salad, and you really like Chicken Caesar Salad, and you also like pasta salad this is your lucky day. It was my lucky day a few months back when I first made this, and it has been my family’s many lucky days as I make it again and again.
It is the best of both worlds, two lovely dishes colliding. I know that seeing lettuce in a pasta salad isn’t all that common—and my boys were surely skeptical when they first laid eyes on this—but it works, and really why not? I love grains in greens salads. And other leafy greens are used in pasta salads, like herbs and chopped arugula for instance.
It turns out, in fact, that the crunch of lettuce paired up with the toothsomeness of cooked pasta really, really works! And then when it is all bound together with a Caesar dressing it just seems to make sense.
And the chicken, is a bonus, and gives the whole thing weight and substance, not to mention a nice dose of protein. Slivered red onion and more Parmesan pull the while thing together. Try and stop eating this, just try.
You can use any plain shredded cooked chicken in this salad, whether it be homemade or from a rotisserie chicken. If you are making the chicken from scratch and want to hit the Caesar note hard, you could use chicken from this recipe.
If you want to know how to make shredded chicken in the slow cooker, check this out, with info about the easiest way to shred chicken (hint: while it’s warm).
This recipe for Caesar dressing comes together in about 5 minutes, and it’s delicious. If you want to use some bottled dressing and skip this part, then you are 5 minutes closer to your salad. Did you know that a man named Caesar Cardini invented Caesar salad dressing in Tijuana, Mexico? I found that quite surprising.
Here it is, all plated up with Tomato Mozzarella and Basil Salad (recipe coming). That was one fine summer lunch, I will surely say that.
More Easy Pasta Salad Recipes:
- Simple Vegetarian Spring Pasta Salad
- Pasta Salad with Chicken and Chipotle Dressing
- Greek Chicken Pasta Salad
- Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, and Herbed Mayonnaise
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- 1 pound penne rigate or ziti
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
For the Caesar Dressing
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon very finely minced garlic
- 1 finely minced anchovy filet or ¼ teaspoon anchovy paste optional
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 2 large hearts of romaine chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- Cook the pasta in a big pot of salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, make the Caesar dressing: In a container with a lid (or the food processor), add the olive oil, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, anchovy (if using), salt and pepper. Cover tightly and shake to combine well, or process to blend. Add half the Parmesan and shake or pulse again to combine.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it well, then place into a large bowl. Add the Caesar dressing and toss to coat well. Allow the pasta to cool to room temperature. Add the chicken, romaine, and red onion to the bowl with the remaining Parmesan and toss again.
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