Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Grey circle with number 30A grey circle with KF
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Calories
443

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Each bite is filled with tender chicken, romaine lettuce, pasta, parmesan, homemade garlic herb croutons and tossed with an easy caesar dressing. It’s a fresh and flavorful main course or side dish that will quickly become a favorite!

If you’re a Caesar Salad lover then you need to try out my Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad and definitely my Egg Free (anchovy free) Caesar Dressing.

This Hearty Chicken Pasta Salad is Great for Summer!

Everyone greets me with a little extra enthusiasm when I pull up to the potluck with a container full of this pasta salad. No matter how many times I multiply the recipe, it never takes long for that container to empty out! I swear that I could bring a whole truckload of this salad and leave without a scrap of leftovers.

The medley of chicken, lettuce, croutons, pasta and dressing is too delightful to resist. Those contrasting flavors and textures make each bite a treat for your taste buds. With only 20 minutes required to prepare it from scratch, this foolproof dish will become your new go-to when you’re craving something fresh and healthy!

Romaine lettuce, grated parmesan cheese and the rest of the salad ingredients arranged on a marble surface

What You’ll Need

Here’s the rundown on the ingredients for the croutons, the dressing and the rest of the salad. See the recipe card toward the end of this post for specific quantities.

For the Garlic Herb Croutons

  • Stale Sourdough Bread: Cut into cubes.
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic Cloves: Freshly minced.
  • Salt & Pepper: Added to taste.
  • Chopped Fresh Parsley

For the Caesar Dressing

  • Garlic Clove
  • White Vinegar
  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil has the best flavor for dressings like this one.
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Tabasco: Feel free to add as much or as little as you’d like.
  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Mayonnaise: Greek yogurt works too if you’d like a lighter option.
  • Honey

To Make the Chicken Pasta Salad

  • Rotini Pasta: Or another short, textured noodle such as farfalle (bowtie pasta), rigatoni or penne.
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Chopped Cooked Chicken: Rotisserie chicken works well here.
  • Parmesan Cheese
A homemade salad on a kitchen countertop beside a jar of dressing and a dish of grated parmesan

How to Make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This salad is incredibly simple from start to finish! Just follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Make the Croutons

  1. Heat Oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Coat Bread Cubes in Oil & Garlic: Add the cubed sourdough bread, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves to a large bowl. Toss to coat all of the bread cubes.
  3. Bake: Spread the bread cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the croutons for 10 minutes, tossing them halfway through.
  4. Season: Remove the croutons from the oven once they’ve just begun to brown. Season them with salt, pepper and fresh parsley. Set the seasoned croutons aside to cool completely.

Make the Dressing

  1. Blend Everything But the Oil & Cheese: Add the garlic, vinegar, mustard, tabasco, lemon juice, honey and mayo to a food processor or blender. Blend until the garlic is minced.
  2. Add Oil & Cheese: Add in the olive oil and grated Parmesan, then blend until everything is combined. Set the prepared dressing aside.

Assemble the Salad

  1. Combine Salad Ingredients: Add the chopped romaine lettuce, cooled rotini pasta, chicken, homemade croutons and parmesan cheese to a large bowl.
  2. Add Dressing: Drizzle the caesar dressing over the salad and gently toss until everything is coated.
  3. Enjoy! Serve the salad cold.
An overhead shot of a serving bowl full of salad on a marble countertop

Can I Make It in Advance?

Sure thing! In addition to the pasta and chicken, both the croutons and salad dressing can be prepared ahead of time. Store the cooled croutons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Keep the dressing in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

When you’re ready to assemble the salad, give the dressing a thorough shake or stir if needed to re-combine the ingredients. Build the salad as usual and enjoy!

Tips for Success

Want a few more words of advice before you whip up your pasta salad? I’ve got your back.

  • Opt for Fresh Flavorings: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly grated parmesan are sure to give you tastier results than their pre-packaged counterparts. That restaurant-quality flavor is more than worth the small amount of effort!
  • Use the Right Bread: I like to use day-old sourdough bread for my croutons, but you can reach for any crusty and slightly stale bread of your choice. French baguettes and ciabatta buns work wonderfully as well. Just be sure to let those bread cubes sit out uncovered for a few hours (or overnight) so they dry up enough to bake into crunchy croutons.
  • Chill Before Serving: Since this salad is meant to be served cold, I recommend setting it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before you dig in. It’s much more refreshing when it’s nice and chilled! Plus, this gives the flavors a chance to meld and intensify.
A close-up shot of a bowl of chicken caesar pasta salad on a kitchen countertop

Add-Ins & Variations

Looking for some easy ways to reinvent this chicken pasta salad? Have at it!

  • Use Crumbled Feta Instead of Parm
  • Add Halved Olives
  • Swap Out the Chicken for Steak or Salmon
  • Add Cooked Bacon Bits
  • Substitute the Lettuce for Another Green
  • Add Chopped Avocado
  • Jazz Up the Dressing With Your Favorite Herbs

Serving Suggestions

Whether you serve this salad as a main course or a side dish, there are tons of tempting pairing options to explore. If I’m making it as an entree, I’m probably serving it alongside Grilled Corn on the Cob With Roasted Jalapeño Sauce. The spicy goodness is unmatched! It also goes well with these Skillet Green Beans and of course my Air Fryer Garlic Parmesan Brussel Sprouts which only take about 15 minutes to make.

Want to get more helpings out of this dish by enjoying it as a side? Try pairing it with Honey Garlic Grilled Shrimp or Crock Pot Potato Corn Chowder. You can’t go wrong with either one!

Chicken caesar pasta salad in a large white bowl on a marble surface

How to Store Extras

Keep leftover Caesar salad in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay good for up to 3 days, but the lettuce will begin to wilt after 24 hours. To prevent this, assemble the salad one serving at a time so you can store each component separately.

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A homemade salad on a kitchen countertop beside a jar of dressing and a dish of grated parmesan

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

  • Author: Krista
  • prep_time Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • cook_time Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • total_time Total Time: 20 minutes
  • yield Yield: 6 1x
  • category Category: Lunch
  • method Method: Oven
  • cuisine Cuisine: American

Description

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is a sure to be a crowd pleaser. Each bite is filled with tender chicken, romaine lettuce, pasta, parmesan, homemade garlic herb croutons and tossed with an easy caesar dressing. It’s a fresh and flavorful main course or side dish that will quickly become a favorite!

Scale

Ingredients

For the Garlic Herb Croutons

  • 1 1/2 cup cubes sourdough bread
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper to season
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

For the Caesar Dressing

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • a few dashes of tabasco
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon honey

For the Chicken Pasta Salad

  • 8 oz. rotini pasta
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Instructions

Make the Croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. To a large bowl add cubed sourdough bread, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves. Toss to coat.
  3. Spread bread cubed out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  5. Remove croutons from oven. Season with salt, pepper and fresh parsley.
  6. Set aside.

Make the Dressing

  1. To a food process (or blender) add garlic, white vinegar, mustard, tabasco, juice of half a lemon, honey and mayo. Blend until garlic is minced.
  2. Next, add olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese. Blend until everything is combined. Set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  1. To a large bowl, add chopped romaine lettuce, cooled rotini pasta, chicken, homemade croutons, cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese.
  2. Drizzle caesar dressing over top and gently toss together so everything is coated.
  3. Serve cold.

Notes

  • To Make Ahead: Store cooled croutons in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Keep dressing in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for up to 1 week. When ready to assemble salad, shake or stir dressing well to re-combine if needed. Build salad as usual and enjoy!
  • To Store: Keep leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note that the lettuce will begin to wilt after 24 hours.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 cups
  • Calories: 443
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 439 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 14 g
  • Cholesterol: 17 mg

Keywords: summer pasta salad, homemade chicken salad, salad with croutons

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Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football!

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