Creamy Caesar Pasta Salad with Chicken

updated Aug 9, 2022
summer
Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe
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Credit: Kelli Foster

If you simply can’t say no to chicken Caesar salad, you’re going to fall hard for this creamy Caesar pasta salad. Inspired by the beloved salad, tendrils of spiral pasta are partnered with bite-size pieces of juicy chicken breast, crisp romaine, ruby-red tomatoes, buttery croutons, and shards of salty Parm, all tossed together with creamy Caesar dressing (store-bought or homemade — your choice!). It’s a summery crowd-pleaser that’s perfect as a main course or as a potluck side.

What Is Pasta Salad Sauce Made Of?

True to its name, this pasta salad is tossed together with creamy Caesar dressing. Take your pick between using your favorite bottled Caesar salad dressing or make a batch of homemade Caesar dressing. If you decide to make your own, our recipe for creamy Caesar dressing makes just the amount you’ll need for the pasta salad, so you won’t be stuck with any leftovers.

Should You Rinse Pasta for Pasta Salad?

Yes. As a rule of thumb, you’ll always want to rinse pasta when making it for pasta salad. The reason is two-fold. First, rinsing under cool water stops the cooking process immediately. It also removing the starchy coating, keeping the pasta loose for the salad and ensuring it doesn’t clump together or get gummy.

Credit: Kelli Foster

What Can I Add to Caesar Pasta Salad?

This pasta salad is a riff on chicken Caesar salad. Here’s what to add.

  • Chopped romaine
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Diced boneless chicken breast. Omit to keep the salad meat-free.
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the Parmesan into shards.
  • Croutons. Use your favorite store-bought variety or make a quick batch of stovetop croutons.

Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 9 minutes to 11 minutes

Makes about 3 quarts

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces

    dried rotini pasta (about scant 2 1/2 cups)

  • 1 pound

    boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 small)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water

  • 1/4 teaspon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 small

    heart romaine lettuce (about 4 ounces)

  • 1 pint

    grape tomatoes (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

  • 1 1/2 cups

    homemade or store-bought croutons

  • 1/2 cup

    homemade or store-bought creamy Caesar dressing

Instructions

  1. Bring a large saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil. Add 8 ounces dried rotini pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the chicken.

  2. Pat 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts dry with paper towels and cut into 1-inch cubes. Season all over with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch or larger skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook, flipping occasionally, until cooked through and browned all over, 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove the skillet from the heat.

  4. When the pasta is ready, drain and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well.

  5. Prepare the following, adding each to the same large bowl as you complete it: Core and chop 1 small heart romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups). Shave 1 ounce Parmesan cheese with a vegetable peeler into shards (about 1/2 cup).

  6. Add the pasta, chicken, 1 pint grape tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups croutons, and 1/2 cup creamy Caesar dressing. Toss to coat. Garnish with more Parmesan cheese shards if desired.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.