Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Bold and crunchy Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad! All the fresh ingredients in a classic Chicken Caesar Salad with whole grain pasta for energy.
Anytime I bring a dinner salad to the table I get blank stares.
That’s not to say my family doesn’t like salad. They actually enjoy a fresh crunchy salad quite a bit (even the kids) and expect to see salad at dinner nearly every night.
Yet they would rather have a salad covering a third of their dinner plate, rather the towering over the entire dish.
My kids want carbs. A dinner salad, no matter how tasty it might be, means “less exciting” to them.
So today’s recipe is dedicated to Ava and Carson… My scrappy salad eaters who would always rather have carbs, but know that salad is a part of life you just have to put up with.
I try to make it easy on them.
This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe involves salad and carbs. The carbs are IN the salad to make it filling and inviting.
You still have all the fresh zesty flavors of a classic caesar salad, with chunks of lean grilled chicken, and whole grain pasta to satisfy carby cravings.
I blended a quick homemade caesar dressing to ensure the salad stayed on the lighter side, using low fat buttermilk, garlic, and anchovies.
If the idea of anchovies scares you, just remember, any good caesar salad dressing involves anchovies. You have been eating them all along, and didn’t even know it. *wink*
Grill the chicken and boil the pasta at the same time so they are both ready to mix into the Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad. Then pile everything into a large bowl and mix with the fresh-made dressing.
If you’d like to make this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe ahead of time, withhold the romaine, parmesan cheese, and croutons until you are ready to serve it, so they stay fresh and crisp.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is a fabulous make-ahead for fall parties. The recipe makes a very large bowl, so there is plenty to share. You’ll be amazed at how many non-salad-eaters will dive right in when they see the pasta.
Try serving it at your next game day party, or on Halloween Night!
Consider serving it on Q Squared NYC dinnerware! It’s crack resistant, making it safe to use with kids and guests.
I’m partial to this Hampton Toile pattern. However, Q Squared NYC has a pattern to suit any style or occasion.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
For the Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad:
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 cup pitted black olives
- 1 cup chopped green onions
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups croutons, store-bought or homemade
- Homemade Caesar Dressing
- Salt and pepper
For the Homemade Caesar Dressing:
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 7 whole anchovies from a can
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- Preheat the grill to medium heat. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts.
- Once the grill is hot, grill the chicken for 5-6 minutes per side. Then remove from heat and allow it to rest. Meanwhile, drop the pasta in the boiling water. Cook for 6-8 minutes, then drain and cool.
- Place all the ingredients for the homemade Caesar dressing in the blender. Puree until smooth. Chop the chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and roughly chop the romaine lettuce.
- To assemble, place the pasta, tomatoes, black olives, and chopped green onions in a large bowl. Top with the chopped grilled chicken Then pour the dressing over the pasta salad and toss to coat. If making ahead, cover the Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Right before serving, toss in the chopped romaine, shredded Parmesan cheese, and croutons. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve cold or at room temperature.
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Disclosure: We are product advocates for Q Squared NYC. All opinions are our own.