This Caesar pasta salad makes a wonderful summer dish that the whole family will enjoy. It has all the creamy goodness of the Caesar dressing, but to make it more filling just add pasta! This pasta salad is so easy to make, full of flavor and can be made ahead of time to be served on hot summer days.
Perfect for a mid-week lunch or dinner, picnics, camping, potlucks, barbecues, and lunchboxes!
CAESAR PASTA SALAD
When a rich and creamy caesar salad meets pasta salad, magic happens! And this is exactly what this recipe is about. 2 amazing recipes are combined into one to create a delicious and refreshing experience.
This recipe is one of my family’s favorite summer dishes, it’s kid approved and can be thrown together in just 20 minutes. Plus, who doesn’t love Caesar salad or pasta or grilled chicken? It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks and even makes a great camping recipe!
HOMEMADE CROUTONS RECIPE
The story starts with homemade croutons recipe. I never really buy croutons, as I find them really easy to make at home. It’s also cheaper and I can flavor them with whatever I like.
To make homemade croutons, you just need some bread, olive oil, and any flavorings that you would like to use.
I usually slice the bread with a knife, but you can just tear it with your hands. However, you have to make sure that the sizes of the croutons are similar so that they cook evenly.
Toss in a little bit of olive oil, garlic powder and cracked black pepper.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180c or 360f until they’re golden and crispy. Keep checking and flipping the croutons as they bake, they can burn easily so make sure that you keep checking.
HOW TO MAKE PASTA CAESAR SALAD
Start by cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Most pasta cooks in 9-10 minutes, and for this recipe, it’s best to cook the pasta “al dente” so cook for 1 minute less than what’s written on the pasta package.
Make sure that you salt the water that you will be cooking your pasta in and add a drizzle of olive oil, once the water starts boiling, add the pasta and let it cook.
I always keep some ready-to-use homemade croutons in my cupboard, but if you don’t have any. Just quick make some.
You can use rotisserie chicken, but if you have raw chicken breast and want to cook it. Then just coat it in a little bit of olive oil, then sprinkle cracked black pepper and salt and either pan fry it or grill it quickly. Once it’s ready, just slice it up.
Wash the lettuce, and tear the leaves using your hands and slice the cherry tomatoes.
In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the lettuce, caesar dressing, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and chicken. Give the pasta salad a good mix.
Top with more croutons, shaved parmesan cheese and a good grind of cracked black pepper.
HOW TO COOK THE CHICKEN?
The fastest and easiest way is to use rotisserie chicken. But you could also either use leftover barbecue chicken or simply pan fry a chicken breast by coating it in a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and then cook on both sides until the chicken is cooked through. Alternatively, you can use an electric grill to cook the chicken breast.
MAKE AHEAD PASTA SALAD
If you’re making this beforehand to serve later, I recommend that you set the croutons aside and only mix them in before consuming. If added before, the croutons will become moist and soggy and will completely lose their lovely crisp.
It might also be a good idea not to mix in the Caesar dressing and leave it out until you’re ready to serve the pasta salad. This will make sure that your lettuce leaves are crisp and stay fresh for longer.
TIPS TO MAKE THE PERFECT CAESAR PASTA SALAD
- Make your homemade caesar dressing instead of using store bought.
- Always salt your pasta water before cooking for more flavor, and add a drizzle of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking.
- Use any pasta shape that you like, but I prefer fusilli or penne for this pasta salad.
- Use homemade garlic croutons if possible.
- Use fresh parmesan cheese instead of the powdered version if available.
WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS: 6 SMARTPOINTS PER PORTION ON WEIGHT WATCHERS FREESTYLE PLAN
Love pasta? Try my Caprese pasta bake, it’s sooo good!
If you make this Caesar pasta salad, please don’t forget to rate this recipe and share a picture on social media. Tag #LittleSunnyKitchen in your posts as I would really love to see what you make! Thank you for supporting Little Sunny Kitchen, so I can keep sharing my tasty recipes with you for free
Caesar pasta salad
- 2 cups pasta Use gluten free if following GF diet
- 1 tbsp olive oil to cook the pasta
- 1 large chicken breast rotisserie chicken, pan-fried or grilled chicken breast or leftover chicken.
- 1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce shredded
- 4 tbsp Caesar dressing
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced into halves
- 1 cup croutons Use gluten free if following GF diet
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese shaved or grated
- salt and pepper
- Start by cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Most pasta cooks in 9-10 minutes, and for this recipe, it's best to cook the pasta "al dente" so cook for 1 minute less than what's written on the pasta package. Make sure that you salt the water that you will be cooking your pasta in and add a drizzle of olive oil, once the water starts boiling, add the pasta and let it cook.
- You can use rotisserie chicken, but if you have raw chicken breast and want to cook it. Then just coat it in a little bit of olive oil, then sprinkle cracked black pepper and salt and either pan fry it and grill it quickly. Once it's ready, just slice it up.
- In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the lettuce, caesar dressing, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and chicken. Add a little bit of salt if needed.
- Give the pasta salad a good mix. Top with more croutons, shaved parmesan cheese and a good grind of cracked black pepper.