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Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is made using a handful of ingredients including tender, juicy chicken, crunchy bacon, perfectly cooked pasta, crisp Romaine lettuce, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese all generously coated in a creamy Caesar dressing. This dish is perfect for a light lunch or refreshhing dinner and will elevate your salad game!

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with bacon and croutons in a white bowl
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Why You Will Love This Recipe

  • Flavor Combo: Combining the elements of a traditional Caesar salad with pasta adds a unique twist to the classic flavors. The creamy Caesar dressing, savory chicken, crisp lettuce, and Parmesan cheese create an amazing fusion of tastes.
  • Protein Boost: Adding chicken to the pasta salad not only enhances the flavor but also increases the protein content. This makes the salad more filling and suitable as a complete and balanced meal.
  • Versatility: This dish can be served in various settings. It works well as a light lunch, a refreshing dinner, a potluck dish, or even as a picnic option.

Key Ingredients

  • Pasta
  • Lettuce
  • Chicken
  • Bacon
  • Caesar Salad Dressing
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Croutons
  • Ranch Seasoning (Optional)
fresh romaine lettuce in a glass bowl
Caesar salad dressing, grated Parmesan cheese, and croutons in separate glass bowls
homemade ranch seasoning in a white bowl

What Type of Pasta To Use

It’s best to choose pasta shapes that can hold the dressing and other ingredients well while providing a satisfying texture. Here are some pasta options that work well for this salad:

  • Rotini: This is what I use. It’s spiral-shaped and great for holding onto mayo and dressings.
  • Penne: Tube-shaped
  • Farfalle: Bow-tie shaped
  • Orzo: Rice-shaped pasta
  • Fusilli: Corkscrew shaped (Trader Joe’s has a great one!)

When cooking pasta for pasta salad, it’s important to follow the instructions on the package for how to cook it al dente. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t become mushy when it’s mixed with other ingredients.

cooked rotini pasta in a glass bowl

What Type of Chicken to Use

Use what works best for you. You can use chicken breasts, chicken thighs, etc. You can cook it yourself or grab pre-cooked chicken from the grocery store. Here are some options:

  • Air Fryer Chicken Breast
  • Slow Cooker Crockpot Pulled Chicken
  • Smoked Pulled Chicken
  • Smoked Chicken Breast
  • Grilled Chicken Breast
  • Rotisserie Chicken: Using rotisserie chicken is a convenient option, especially if you’re looking to save time. Simply shred or chop the cooked chicken and toss it into the pasta salad.
  • Poached or Boiled Chicken: Poaching or boiling chicken is a simple cooking method that retains moisture. Poached or boiled chicken can be shredded or diced and added to the salad.
  • Pre-cooked Chicken Strips: For added convenience, you can use pre-cooked and seasoned chicken strips or tenders that can be grabbed in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. Simply heat them according to the package instructions and add them to the salad.
  • Canned Chicken: Canned chicken is a quick and easy option. Ensure that you drain and shred the canned chicken before adding it to the pasta salad.
cooked chicken and bacon in separate glass bowls

How to Make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Detailed measurements and full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Cook the pasta in accordance with the instructions on the package.
  2. Combine pasta, bacon, chicken, lettuce, cheese, and optional ranch seasoning in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle with salad dressing. Toss and sprinkle croutons throughout.
  4. Serve immediately.
cooked chicken and bacon in a skillet
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with bacon and croutons in a glass bowl

Substitutions and Ideas for Add Ins

salad dressing drizzled over Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with bacon and croutons in a glass bowl

Can You Make it Ahead/How Long it Will Last in the Fridge

If you know you want to make it ahead or eat leftovers, keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to serve. Toss the salad with the dressing just before eating to maintain the best texture.

It can be stored in the fridge tightly covered and sealed for 3-4 days.

salad dressing drizzled over Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with bacon and croutons in a glass bowl

Modifications

This is the type of dish that is simple to modify to suit your taste. You really don’t need measurements. Once you have the key ingredients and any substitutions you want to add, make the dish your own. Adjust things to suit your preferences and taste.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with bacon and croutons in a white bowl

More Salad Recipes

Fried Chicken Salad
Spaghetti Salad with Italian Dressing
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Lump Crab Salad with Real Crab Meat
Seafood Pasta Salad with Shrimp and Crab

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with bacon and croutons in a white bowl

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is made using a handful of ingredients including tender, juicy chicken, crunchy bacon, perfectly cooked pasta, crisp Romaine lettuce, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese all generously coated in a creamy Caesar dressing. This dish is perfect for a light lunch or refreshhing dinner and will elevate your salad game!
Save this recipe here.
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword cesar pasta salad, chicken caesar pasta, chicken Caesar pasta salad, chicken pasta salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 488kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rotini pasta
  • 10-12 ounces cooked chicken Diced into cubes or sliced into strips.
  • 4 cups chopped lettuce
  • 3 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 2-3 tablespoons Grated Parmesan
  • 3-5 tablespoons Caesar Salad Dressing
  • Croutons
  • Ranch Seasoning to taste Optional

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta in accordance with the instructions on the package. While it cooks prep the remaining ingredients.
  • Combine the pasta, bacon, chicken, lettuce, cheese, and optional ranch seasoning in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle with salad dressing. Toss and sprinkle croutons throughout.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

I like to cooked the bacon and the chicken together in a skillet on the stove. This adds even more flavor to the chicken.
This is the type of dish that is simple to modify to suit your taste. You really don’t need measurements. Once you have the key ingredients and any substitutions you want to add, make the dish your own. Adjust things to suit your preferences and taste.
If you know you want to make it ahead or eat leftovers, keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to serve. Toss the salad with the dressing just before eating to maintain the best texture.
 
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Nutrition (displayed with net carbs)

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 25g
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Nutrition DataMacros are provided as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. This information is calculated using MyFitnessPal.com. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.
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