Chicken caesar pasta salad is the fusion of pasta salad and chicken caesar salad. Not only are the flavors from these two salads blended and intensified, but they also complement each other really well in a truly delectable way. This certainly is going to become a favorite salad recipe using many top-loved ingredients.
The addition of al dente pasta helps to provide more substance to this salad – perfect if you want to enjoy it as a hearty and comforting meal instead of a side dish.
The convenience of using rotisserie chicken means that there’s minimal cooking time involved. In fact, you could quite easily prepare the majority of this salad’s components beforehand, leaving you only to combine and toss the ingredients together just prior to serving!
Table of contents
What is Caesar Pasta Salad?
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad takes a classic Caesar salad and combines the ingredients with pasta noodles and the convenience of rotisserie chicken breasts to make an ultra-delicious and satisfying main meal. This dish is great for an easy weeknight dinner or to take to a potluck!
Rotisserie chicken brings this easy pasta salad together in no time!
You have veggies, grains, and protein all in one easy, no-bake meal!
You can have this meal ready and on the table in just 20 minutes! It couldn’t be easier.
What Ingredients do I Need?
- pasta – we used bowtie, but rotini, penne, shells, etc. can all work
- romaine lettuce – feel free to use a blend of your favorite CRUNCHY lettuces
- rotisserie chicken – I love to buy the bulk package of rotisserie chicken already taken from the bones from Costco; you can also use leftover chicken from a homemade roasted chicken
- parmesan cheese – best if you can shave or grate your own
- caesar croutons or homemade sourdough croutons
- crumbled bacon – yes please!
- caesar salad dressing
- freshly cracked pepper and lemon wedges to garnish
How to Make a Caesar Pasta Salad
It couldn’t be easier. Cook, drain, and cool your pasta (I just run cold water over it right in the strainer!) Then toss everything together in one big salad bowl.
Variations and Substitutions
- I’ve used bowtie pasta for this chicken caesar pasta salad recipe but feel free to use any other pasta such as shell pasta, Cavatappi, fusilli, penne, rotini, wholewheat pasta, or even gluten-free pasta. What a choice!
- While I adore parmesan cheese in the pasta salad, you could use something else like Parmigiano-Reggiano which is more intense and flavorful but comes at a higher price tag.
- Shredded chicken can be used instead of chopped. You can even opt to use leftover chicken from previous meals or cook your own chicken specifically for this pasta salad.
- For a slight kick of heat, consider adding some cayenne pepper into the salad or even some sliced jalapenos.
- I’ve used store-bought creamy Caesar dressing for this recipe but feel free to use homemade Caesar dressing instead.
Pasta salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Some of the ingredients, such as the croutons and the lettuce will start to become soggy and spoil quite quickly in storage which is why I suggest that you rather try to consume any leftovers as soon as possible within the next day or two.
If you can pick out the lettuce and croutons from this salad then you should have no problem with freezing it like any other pasta salad for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and serve chilled.
I suggest that you make the pasta components in advance (those that won’t spoil quickly) and store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The lettuce and croutons should only be added to the pasta salad just prior to serving.
I’ve used rotisserie chicken for this pasta salad for convenience sake but there’s nothing stopping you from cooking your own chicken and adding it as chopped chicken or even shredded chicken.
Whether you bake the chicken or use a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or Air fryer, is of little importance. You could even use chicken that’s leftover from previous meals in the week.
Tips For Making Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Once ingredients have been assembled and tossed, serve the salad immediately to maintain not only its freshness but the delicious crunch of the croutons as well. Never leave this salad sitting at room temperature for an extended amount of time.
- It’s best to use Romaine lettuce for this pasta salad as it has a more robust leaf structure, won’t wilt as easily and quickly as other more leafy lettuce varieties, and has a lovely flavor.
- You can use bacon crumbles that are packaged or crumble freshly cooked bacon yourself.
- This recipe calls for a 12 oz jar of dressing which is sufficient to mix into the salad. If you want to coat your salad more heavily then you will need another jar of dressing to add to the salad or to serve as a side condiment. Otherwise, make as much of your own homemade dressing as you like.
- Remember that stored pasta usually absorbs more dressing or sauce as it sits in storage. You may find that additional dressing needs to be added when serving leftover chicken caesar pasta salad for this reason.
More Salad Favorites
Caesar Pasta Salad
- 6 cups bowtie pasta cooked (about 1 lb. package)
- 2 cups romaine lettuce chopped (about 1 small head)
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken chopped
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shaved
- 5 oz. package of classic caesar croutons (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup crumbled bacon
- 12 oz. jar of caesar salad dressing
- Freshly cracked pepper and sea salt optional
- lemon wedges for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook bowtie pasta according to package instructions, Drain and rinse with cold water until completely cool.
- When the pasta is cool, toss together all of the salad ingredients In a large bowl.
- Top with freshly cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.