A creamy and delicious twist on the boring old Caesar salad! This chicken caesar pasta salad is made with delicious homemade caesar salad dressing, penne rigate, grilled chicken, crunchy croutons, and fresh romaine lettuce! This is definitely going to be a hit at your next summer picnic!
Leave that boring, often dreaded potato salad in the 16th century! We’ve got a new creamy chicken caesar salad in town that is going to happily knock the socks off of everyone.
Happy Happy, Joy Joy!
You guys, the hubby and I have a thing with pasta salad. We WUV them. For like a million different reasons but i’ll give you just a few a) because they are totally awesome b) they are so customizable – I can turn it into a seafood pasta salad, chicken, completely veggie (insert fainting husband here) c) EVERYONE loves them, which makes them ideal to take to parties, picnics, barbecues, and bookclubs. Who doesn’t want to be the pasta salad bringing hero?
Pasta + chicken + homemade caesar dressing + romaine + croutons = easy dinner. There’s so much going into this salad that there’s no way NOT to love it. And the tangy caesar dressing really ties everything in together. Trust me, it’s pretty hard to resist this salad!
One evening I was sitting on Pinterest looking for a killer pasta salad to make this summer. Something with bright grape tomatoes, LOTS of parmesan, and creamy salad dressing. And then. I found it. The chicken caesar pasta salad of my dreams. But obvi living with Anees meant adding some kind of protein in there. And that’s when grilled chicken went into this little salad and made it all kinds of perfect.
The dressing! To keep this salad on the lighter side, i’ve used low-fat buttermilk and greek yogurt instead of yogurt like traditional pasta salads. And the best part? You can’t even tell the difference! I love a guilt-less pasta salad. Plus it’s a cinch to pull together and it really makes this caesar pasta salad POP. A little greek yogurt, low fat buttermilk and a bit of mayo just to help bring in that nice rich flavor without packing on the calories. Then a hint of lemon juice, a little anchovy paste, lots of parmesan, salt and pepper. Also, if you’re making this for a crowd or want it extra creamy, swap the greek yogurt with sour cream. Tangy, creamy, yet guilt free. It doesn’t get anymore perfect than this.
Oh and another thing — this salad feeds a crowd! There is just so much going that it will make enough to last 2 people for. days. Diced chicken, 1 heart of romaine, a pint of grape tomatoes, and a few handfuls of croutons. I sometimes like to keep the components of this salad in separate containers and just assemble as needed. You can also make this chicken caesar pasta salad into a mason jar salad. Start with the dressing on the bottom, chicken then the pasta, romaine, scallions, tomatoes, and croutons on top.
How amazing would that be for a bagged lunch? I see some jealous coworkers in your future.
Also, the protein is completely up to you! I’d love this salad with chickpeas instead of chicken, or even grilled shrimp! Use whatever shape of pasta you prefer. I like fusilli or penne rigate best because the ridges hold in all that dressing and you get nice little bites full of creamy dressing and sliced scallions all wrapped in the spirals or hidden inside the penne pasta.
This creamy chicken caesar pasta salad makes for an easy dinner and the leftovers are even better for lunch the next day! Bring it to your next potluck or picnic and watch them line up for the recipe!
Once you taste it, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk (no substitutions)
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1 clove garlic, grated
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 lb. grilled chicken, diced
- 1 pound penne rigate or fusilli pasta
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 heart of romaine, chopped
- 1/2 cup scallions, chopped (greens only)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups croutons
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Using a small whisk or fork, mix the dressing until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Boil the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, let cool.
- When ready to serve combine the chicken, pasta, tomatoes, romaine, and scallions in a large bowl, and toss with desired amount of dressing. Top with parmesan and croutons, serve immediately.