Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad | Gimme Some Oven


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This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is tossed with my favorite Caesar dressing, lots of Parm, and the yummiest garlicky breadcrumbs. 

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe

A good Caesar salad will forever and always be one of my favorite foods. But I’m also just as happy this time of year to whip up a delicious batch of its carb-y cousin, a chicken Caesar pasta salad. ♡

It’s basically everything we all love about a good chicken Caesar — perfectly-seasoned chicken, crisp Romaine leaves, a bold and tangy Caesar dressing and a generous shower of freshly-grated Parmesan — tossed with chilled and chewy al dente pasta. Then in lieu of traditional croutons, I like to whip up a quick batch of crunchy, salty, garlicky breadcrumbs to sprinkle on top. It’s a classic pasta salad recipe that’s always so satisfying and comes together easily too!

Of course, if chicken isn’t your thing, feel free to sub any other protein in here that you prefer (shrimp, salmon, bacon, Italian sausage, or even roasted chickpeas would be great options). And if you happen to have any roasted veggies on hand, they would always be welcome here too. I do just have to say that I’m partial to my favorite homemade Caesar dressing, but totally get it if you’d like to save some time and use a bottle of store-bought (in which case, Ken’s or Marzetti are two brands I always recommend).

However you make it, I promise that this classic Caesar pasta salad recipe is always a winner!

Chicken caesar pasta salad ingredients

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Ingredients

Here are a few quick notes about the pasta salad ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Chicken: I usually use boneless skinless chicken breasts, seasoned generously with fine sea salt and black pepper and sautéed in olive oil. But feel free to add any additional spices or seasonings to the chicken if you prefer!
  • Pasta: Farfalle (bow-tie pasta) is used in the photographs here, but any small pasta shape that you have on hand will work well here.
  • Romaine hearts: Look for a batch of Romaine lettuce hearts that are nice and crisp. We’ll roughly chop it to add to the salad.
  • Caesar dressing: I highly recommend making a batch of my favorite homemade Caesar dressing, but feel free to purchase your favorite store-bought Caesar if you would like to save time.
  • Parmesan: The more, the merrier when it comes to showering this salad with freshly-grated Parmesan! It’s salty, nutty, umami richness is always the perfect complement to the savory flavor of Caesar dressing.
  • Garlic breadcrumbs: Finally, instead of traditional croutons, we’ll sprinkle the pasta salad with a handful of garlicky breadcrumbs, made simply with butter, garlic, Panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. If you are prepping the pasta salad in advance, I recommend storing the breadcrumbs separately and adding them just before serving so that they remain nice and crunchy.

Chicken caesar pasta salad ingredients in bowl

Pasta Salad Tips

Full instructions are included in the recipe below for how to make this pasta salad, but here are a few additional tips to keep in mind!

  • Generously salt the pasta water. As always, be sure to generously salt the boiling pasta water before adding the pasta. This is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta itself, so the water should be nice and salty.
  • Season the chicken properly. Similarly, be sure to season the outside of the chicken with plenty of salt and pepper to bring out the best of its flavor!
  • Don’t overcook the pasta. The goal here is for the pasta to be perfectly al dente — chewy, and a bit firm to the bite. Pasta packages often overestimate the cooking time required, so give the pasta a taste test during the final few minutes of cooking and then strain and rinse it immediately with cold water once it’s ready to go so that it does not become soggy.
  • Use freshly-grated Parmesan. As always, I highly recommend purchasing a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and grating it by hand with a Microplane. The flavor will be so much bolder and fresher than using store-bought pre-grated cheese.
  • Add breadcrumbs just before serving. If you are prepping the pasta salad in advance, I recommend storing the garlicky breadcrumbs separately and sprinkling them on just before serving in order to preserve their crunchiness.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with garlick breadcrumbs in bowl

Recipe Variations

Here are a few variations that you’re welcome to try with this Caesar pasta salad recipe:

  • Use a different protein: Swap your favorite cooked protein for the chicken, such as salmon, shrimp, steak, bacon, Italian sausage, or roasted chickpeas.
  • Add veggies: Add your favorite cooked veggies, such as asparagus, bell peppers, eggplant, green beans or zucchini.
  • Add mix-ins: Add your favorite mix-ins, such as olives, sliced pepperoncini or sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Add nuts or seeds: Add toasted nuts or seeds, such as pepitas, pine nuts or sliced almonds.
  • Add mozzarella: Add mini mozzarella balls or burrata.
  • Add pesto or basil: Add a swirl of basil pesto or chopped fresh basil leaves to the salad. Or you could also add some herbs (such as minced rosemary) to the garlicky breadcrumbs too.

Chicken caesar pasta salad closeup

More Pasta Salad Recipes

Looking for more pasta salad recipes to whip up this summer? Here are a few of our favorites:

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Description

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is tossed with my favorite Caesar dressing, lots of Parm, and the yummiest garlicky breadcrumbs.


Pasta Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta (I used farfalle)
  • 3 Romaine lettuce hearts (12 ounces), roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Caesar dressing*
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping

Garlic Breadcrumbs Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper


  1. Prep the pasta water. Bring a large pot of generously-salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Cook the garlic breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the breadcrumbs along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl and set aside. Wipe down the sauté pan briefly until clean.
  3. Cook the chicken. Season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Using the same sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through and no longer pink inside. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then thinly slice it into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Cook the pasta. Cook the pasta in the salted water until just al dente. Strain the pasta through a colander, then rinse it with cold water until chilled.
  5. Toss the pasta salad. Add the pasta, lettuce, chicken and Caesar dressing to a large mixing bowl and gently toss until evenly combined. 
  6. Serve. Serve immediately, garnished with the garlic breadcrumbs, lots of Parmesan cheese, and a few extra twists of black pepper. Or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 4 hours and then serve chilled.


 

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