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Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is a perfect side dish idea for a Potluck or a BBQ. It also makes a great lunch or dinner and is easy to customize with simple additions like avocado, bacon, hard boiled eggs, and more!

A glass bowl filled with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with Lemon wedges on the side.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Any Caesar Salad fan will flip out over this refreshing Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad! This recipe is so easy to make and is truly perfect for any kind of gathering. It also makes a great lunch idea that can be eaten cold right from your lunchbox!

The chicken is marinaded in savory Caesar Dressing, (store-bought or homemade), while you prepare the salad ingredients and cook the pasta. The chicken is then seared to golden perfection and combined with classic Caesar salad ingredients that we all know and love. 

Fresh tomatoes add a pop of color, and optional additions include avocado, hard boiled eggs, crispy bacon, crisp cucumbers, and more!

Be sure to browse through all of my pasta salad recipes!

How to Make It

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup Caesar dressing while you measure out the additional ingredients and start boiling the pasta water. Sear the chicken until golden on each side and cooked through. Set aside and let it rest, then dice.

Seared chicken before and after being diced for Salad.

Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and drizzle with olive oil. Let it cool for 5 minutes and toss with 1/4 cup Caesar dressing.

Drained Pasta next to a glass bowl of pasta tossed in Caesar salad dressing.

Add the diced chicken and 1/4 cup more dressing, and toss to coat. Add the chopped lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and remaining ¼ cup salad dressing. Toss well to evenly coat. Transfer to a clean bowl prior to serving if desired.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours prior to serving.

Assembling Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad in a glass bowl with pasta, lettuce, and chicken.

Make Ahead Method

  • Marinade and cook the chicken 1-2 days ahead of time. Let it cool completely and store it in an airtight container. The lettuce can be chopped/washed/dried 1-2 days ahead of time and store in an airtight container. The Parmesan cheese can be shredded and stored as well.
  • Combine all ingredients within 3 hours of serving.

Pro Tips

  • Dressing: I use 12 oz. Marie’s refrigerated Caesar Dressing for this recipe if I don’t have time to make a double batch of my Homemade Caesar Dressing. You can find Marie’s in the produce section of the grocery store.
  • Croutons: I use Texas Toast Caesar Croutons for this recipe if I don’t have time to make my Homemade Croutons.
  • Optional Additions to this salad include: Avocado, bacon, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers.
  • Pasta: The pasta doesn’t look like much (quantity-wise), after it’s boiled/drained but it quickly becomes more substantial after being combined with the other ingredients. If you prefer more pasta and less lettuce, use 3/4 lb. penne and 1 heart of romaine.
  • Parmesan Cheese: This is one recipe where it’s okay to use cheese that is already pre-shredded/shaved, versus doing it yourself from a block at home.😁I use Belgioioso Parmesan cheese.

Storage

  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Note that the consistency is ideal when served fresh.

A white plate with Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with a fork on the side.

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Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad in a glass bowl.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

5 from 2 ratings
This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is easy to make and has the best fresh flavors. It's perfect for potlucks, picnics, BBQ's, and simple lunches.

Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless/skinless chicken breast, about 1 ¾ lbs.
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 ½ cups Caesar dressing, divided. See notes.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ½ lb. penne rigate
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped/washed/dried
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup croutons
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded and/or shaved
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

Marinade the Chicken

  • Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create 2 thinner slices. Place in a gallon freezer bag (or in between saran wrap) and use the textured side of a meat mallet to pound it to ½ inch thick. Pat completely dry.
  • Sprinkle lightly with salt/pepper. Place ½ cup of the Caesar dressing in a gallon freezer bag and add the chicken. Remove excess air from the bag and seal. Let it marinade at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Measure out Ingredients/Cook Pasta

  • Meanwhile, measure out remaining ingredients and begin boiling salted pasta water. Once a boil is reached, cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions. (Set a timer to avoid overcooking.) Drain once cooked and spread it out on a tray or on parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Toss to coat and let it cool for 5 minutes.

Sear the Chicken

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken in batches for 4-5 minutes per side, until a golden crust has developed. Set aside and let it rest for 10 minutes, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Assemble the Salad

  • Add the cooled pasta to an extra-large bowl. Add ¼ cup Caesar dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add the chicken and another ¼ cup dressing, toss to coat. Add the chopped lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and remaining ¼ cup salad dressing. Toss well to evenly coat. Transfer to a clean bowl prior to serving if desired. You can serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 hours prior to serving. (Note: You will have an extra 1/4 cup of dressing, which you can choose to use only if preferred.)

Notes

Pro Tips:
  • Dressing: I use 12 oz. Marie’s refrigerated Caesar Dressing for this recipe if I don’t have time to make a double batch of my Homemade Caesar Dressing. You can find Marie’s in the produce section of the grocery store.
  • Croutons: I use Texas Toast Caesar Croutons for this recipe if I don’t have time to make my Homemade Croutons.
  • Pasta: The pasta doesn't look like much (quantity-wise), after it's boiled/drained but it quickly becomes more substantial after being combined with the other ingredients. If you prefer more pasta and less lettuce, use 3/4 lb. penne and 1 heart of romaine.
  • Parmesan Cheese: This is one recipe where it's okay to use cheese that is already pre-shredded/shaved, versus doing it yourself from a block at home.😁I use Belgioioso Parmesan cheese.
  • Optional Additions to this salad include: Avocado, bacon, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers.

Storage:
  • Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Note that the consistency is ideal when served fresh.

Nutritional information provided is an estimate and is per serving. This recipe makes 10 servings. 

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 556mg, Potassium: 486mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 11017IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 126mg, Iron: 2mg
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4 comments on “Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad”

  1. I just made this for a cookout, can’t wait to try it!!!! 

  2. I made this recipe for a pot luck at work. It worked out perfectly for me to cook the chicken ahead of time and wash and dry the lettuce, tomatoes, etc. at home. Then…at lunch, I took out all the previously prepped ingredients and mixed before serving. It was SO SO easy and it was the only recipe that was completely gone after lunch-time. It was such a hit that everyone wanted the recipe and I directed them to your site. I’m so grateful that I did not have to spend a long time on this recipe as I am always short on time. Thank you so much!!!

    • I’m so happy this was such a success at your potluck Kayla! It’s great to hear you found it easy to prepare, this is one of my go-to’s whenever we have a lot of people over. I actually just made it as a side for my daughters birthday. Never fails, thanks so much for the great comments and for taking the time to leave a review!💖

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