Chicken Caesar pasta salad with whole wheat noodles, shredded chicken, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, almonds, and homemade Greek yogurt Caesar dressing.

Jump to:

There’s no doubt that pasta salads make the best dishes. Just like our Pasta Salad with Italian Dressing or Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad, this chicken Caesar pasta salad is easy, fresh, and a crowd-favorite. Not to mention it’s like two meals in one. 

This pasta salad is made with only 7 ingredients! With a simple recipe like this, you can easily throw it together for picnics, potlucks, or a quick lunch. Plus it’s a great alternative to traditional Caesar salad.

Reasons to Love this Recipe

Having a recipe that comes together quickly, is hearty enough to feed the whole family, and has the best mix of soft pasta and crispy lettuce is a delight. But there are certainly more reasons to love this chicken Caesar pasta salad recipe.

  • Year-round recipe. Pasta salad is a great salad to make any time of year.
  • Quality. Made with better ingredients like homemade Greek yogurt Caesar dressing, crunchy romaine lettuce, whole wheat pasta, vine-ripe tomatoes, and Parmesan for the ultimate Caesar salad pasta recipe.
  • Perfect for lunch or dinner. Hearty enough for dinner and also perfect for lunch meal prep.
  • Serve a crowd. It yields a lot of salad with a blend of pasta, chicken, and lettuce. 
close up caesar pasta salad in grey bowl.

Ingredients

The ingredient list is short and sweet for this pasta salad. Here’s what you’ll need:

chicken caesar pasta ingredients.
  • Pasta – preferably rotini or penne. I like to go with organic whole wheat noodles whenever I can. If you can’t find whole wheat rotini or penne, something such as bow-tie will work too. 
  • Romaine lettuce – whether you pick up a bag of chopped romaine or a head of romaine and chop it yourself, you’ll need about 6 cups of chopped lettuce.
  • Chicken – I’m a fan of making shredded bone-in chicken breast. It tastes way better than rotisserie. But I’m also not opposed to rotisserie chicken either. Use what works for you.
  • Tomatoes – It’s hard to find good-tasting tomatoes in the off-season months. That’s why I love tomatoes on the vine. You can find them year-round and they taste pretty good.

Tip: If your tomatoes are hard, simply leave them on your counter for a few days so they can ripen up. 

  • Parmesan cheese – Buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. It’s fresher and tastes better than bagged cheeses. You can substitute with shredded Asiago cheese, Pecorino Romano, or Manchego cheese.
  • Almonds – sliced almonds take place of the traditional croutons in this salad. They add the perfect crunch. Make sure to buy roasted almonds or roast them yourself for even more flavor.
  • Caesar dressing – I love Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing. It’s lighter than traditional dressing and is very easy to make. It can be made ahead of time and simply stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Substitutions

Build a pasta salad recipe that fits your taste and diet with a few substitutions. It’s easy to switch out ingredients without loss of flavor with these alternative ideas for Caesar pasta salad with chicken.

  • Switch the protein. Chicken is the classic addition to Caesar salad, but using grilled lemon plank salmon, sliced grilled steak, or crispy tofu would all be delicious with the pasta salad with lettuce.
  • Use a different dressing. If you want more variety with this easy pasta salad recipe, try using another homemade dressing like this Italian dressing or buttermilk ranch dressing.
  • Make croutons. I use sliced almonds instead of croutons in this recipe, but you can switch them out or add your own homemade sourdough croutons. They’re easy to make and so buttery and delicious.

Variations

If you enjoyed this pasta salad with romaine lettuce recipe, then you might also like a few of these other side dish ideas using lettuce and pasta.

  • Penne Pasta Salad with Spinach – Use penne pasta, spinach, and roasted red peppers tossed in the creamy Caesar yogurt dressing and top with grilled shrimp.
  • Spring mix with bowtie pasta – The soft blend of lettuces with farfalle and my homemade poppyseed dressing would be a great combination with feta cheese, sliced almonds, chicken, and tomatoes.
  • Bacon Caesar pasta salad – Add crispy bacon and use cheese tortellini tossed in the creamy dressing with crispy lettuce.

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta: Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions or until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. 
caesar pasta salad recipe.
  • Toss everything together: In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with bite sized pieces of romaine lettuce, chicken, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, almonds, and Caesar dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
step by step on how to make chicken caesar pasta salad recipe.
  • Chill: Cover the pasta salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. It tastes the BEST chilled.

How to Serve

It’s clear that this pasta salad with chicken and romaine lettuce is a delicious meal on its own but you can also pair it with lighter-type side dishes to make a complete meal. Here are some of our favorites:

How to Store

This creamy Caesar chicken pasta salad tastes best the same day. It will soak up the dressing the longer it sits, especially after it’s been refrigerated. You can enjoy it the next day but I would recommend making an extra dose of Caesar dressing to freshen up the pasta before serving.

If making this pasta salad ahead of time for a cookout or meal prepping, here are a few steps for the best results.

  1. Toss together the pasta, chicken, tomatoes, and cheese. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. The dressing should be stored separately and will last in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  3. When ready to serve, toss the pasta with the dressing, romaine lettuce, and roasted sliced almonds. 

Meal prep pasta salad: You can prepare these in meal prep containers and have each portion in individual sections. For more meal prep ideas, check out our orzo salad recipe.. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t soak up all the dressing and that the lettuce and almonds stay crisp and crunchy.

Recipe FAQs

What other type of pasta can I use for chicken Caesar pasta salad?

You can use any other small-shaped pasta such as bowtie or penne. Feel free to substitute with gluten-free or use regular white pasta instead.

Is chicken Caesar meant to be eaten cold?

This salad is meant to be enjoyed cold. It tastes even better after chilling in the fridge.

close up caesar pasta salad with chicken.

If you try Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad, please leave a star rating and let us know how you like the recipe in the comments below.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
chicken caesar pasta recipe

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Katya
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Caesar pasta salad with whole wheat noodles, shredded chicken, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, almonds, and homemade Greek yogurt caesar dressing. It’s seriously so easy to make!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups (4 oz.) dry whole wheat pasta, such as rotini or penne
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped, about 6 cups
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken
  • 2 medium tomatoes on the vine, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, roasted
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt Caesar Dressing

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to the box instructions until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine the pasta with romaine lettuce, shredded chicken, tomatoes, Parmesan, almonds, and Caesar dressing. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Leftovers: Pasta salad tastes the best the same day. It will soak up the dressing the longer it sits, especially after it’s been refrigerated. If you want to enjoy it the next day, have some extra Caesar dressing on hand to toss the pasta with before serving.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 1 cup
  • Calories: 391
  • Sugar: 3.7 g
  • Sodium: 482.4 mg
  • Fat: 25.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 23.9 g
  • Protein: 19.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 47.9 mg