I recently started and finished both seasons of The Morning Show on Apple TV+, or however they want us to say that. I say “recently started and finished” because it’s not one of those shows you casually catch up on here and there — it is so riveting that I couldn’t watch anything else until I’d seen every single episode!
The cast is unmatched, the storyline is current and relevant, and the acting is incredible. (Where has Billy Crudup been all my life?) I feel like I could be watching the inner workings of any morning news show on television today, and it is NUTS. So good – I’m waiting on pins and needles for season three to come out this fall.
As crazy as it sounds, I’m equally as obsessed with my Chicken Caesar Salad Pasta recipe. No, really! This is the type of dish you put leftovers of in the fridge then come back five minutes later for another bite because you can’t stop thinking about it. The combination of fresh and crispy salad with tender pasta, sizzling chicken, and creamy caesar dressing is ridiculously craveable and I am always so sad when the last bite is gone. It is that good.
Chicken Caesar Salad + Pasta
Warmer weather is just around the corner here in central Iowa (I think and hope and pray) and this recipe is not only perfect to serve as a light and fresh spring or summer dinner, but also at summer BBQs and potlucks. There is something SO SATISFYING about adding rotini pasta to a classic caesar salad.
Much better than croutons, IMO!
This chicken caesar salad with pasta is a cinch to throw together and, if you are indeed serving it for dinner, it’s a complete meal in one so no need for extra side dishes. Whole grains, lean protein, and lots of veggies: check, check, and check!
Here’s what you’ll need for this easy chicken caesar pasta salad recipe:
- Gluten free rotini. I’ve been loving Jovial Brown Rice Pasta lately, especially because it doesn’t become hard and crumbly once chilled like rice/corn blend pastas typically do. If you don’t need to eat gluten free, you can use traditional rotini.
- Chicken breast. Simply seasoned chicken breasts are grilled or sauteed then chopped into bite sized pieces and folded into the pasta salad. They add staying power, plus grilling them adds a ton of flavor.
- Romaine lettuce. Can’t have caesar salad without it! I buy the bags of whole romaine hearts then chop them myself, but you could use a bag of pre-chopped romaine if you prefer.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes. I truly love the fresh bursts of juicy tomato in each bite of this pasta salad. Use cherry or grape tomatoes, or dice up some Romas.
- Red onion. Thinly sliced red onion adds zip, crunch, and spice, plus a beautiful pop of color.
- Parmesan cheese. 99% of the time I advise you freshly grate parmesan cheese before adding it to one of my recipes, but for this one I’m recommending using pre-shredded parmesan cheese so it doesn’t melt into the dish. I’ll show you my go-to brand below.
- Capers. Capers are tiny but pack an enormous flavor punch to each bite of this pasta salad recipe. They really take it up several hundred notches.
- Caesar Salad Dressing. I’m here to make your life easy and so I am 1,000% recommending you use your favorite store bought bottled caesar salad dressing to dress this salad with. Or make your own homemade caesar dressing – do what’s best and easiest for you! I’ll share my favorite brand of bottled below.
While I truly feel like the combination of ingredients and flavors I’m sharing knocks it straight out of the ballpark, feel free to try these recipe variations:
- Swap roasted, sauteed, or grilled shrimp for the chicken, or leave out the meat and use a can of chickpeas instead. Rotisserie chicken is a great, easy option too.
- Use brown rice bow ties or penne instead of the rotini – or your favorite pasta shape.
- Toss in whatever greens you have in the fridge that need using up. Arugula would be delicious in here!
Alrighty – ready to feast?
How to Make This Recipe
Start by adding gluten free rotini (also called fusilli) to a large pot of salted water then boil until tender. Drain the noodles then rinse under cold water until they’re completely cold and set aside.
Meanwhile, pound chicken breasts into an even thickness to ensure even cooking then season with pepper and homemade seasoned salt on both sides.
Place the chicken inside a grill pan over medium-high heat then grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until the chicken is cooked through. Let rest for 10 minutes before chopping into bite-sized pieces.
Alternatively you could grill the chicken on a gas or charcoal grill, or simply saute in a pan. I do REALLY love the grill flavor it adds to the chicken caesar pasta salad though!
Next, to a large bowl add the drained cold pasta plus chopped romaine lettuce, grape or cherry tomatoes, red onion, capers, shredded parmesan cheese, and lots of freshly cracked black pepper.
Here’s the shredded parmesan cheese I love and recommend. It’s so convenient to not only add to this dish, but any other foods that benefit from a sprinkle of parm on top at the end before serving, like pasta!
Last step is to add your favorite bottled caesar salad dressing – I LOVE this Ken’s Creamy Caesar, which is of course gluten free. It’s thick, and savory, and cheesy – MMM!
Last step is to add the grilled chicken then DEVOUR! You can serve this dish immediately or chill for a couple of hours before serving. Again, if you’re using brown rice pasta, it stays softer in the fridge vs a corn/rice blend pasta. I hope you love this super-tasty, must-try take on chicken caesar salad! Enjoy!
More Pasta Salad Recipes You’ll LOVE
- The BEST Pasta Salad
- Mediterranean Orzo Salad
- Grilled Corn and Avocado Pasta Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
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Chicken Caesar Salad Pasta
Chicken Caesar Salad Pasta is a fun and filling twist on classic Caesar Salad! Perfect for parties and potlucks, or simply dinner tonight.
- 8oz gluten free rotini/fusilli ( Jovial Brown Rice Rotini recommended)
- 2 small chicken breasts (~3/4 - 1lb total), pounded to an even thickness
- homemade seasoned salt and pepper
- 2 hearts of romaine, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1-1/2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese shreds
- 3 Tablespoons drained capers
- freshly cracked black pepper
- Caesar Salad Dressing, to coat (I use 3/4 cup)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil then add 1 Tablespooon salt followed by the rotini, and then cook until tender. Drain then rinse under cold water until cool. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Alternatively you could use a gas or charcoal grill over medium-high heat, OR cook the chicken in a nonstick sprayed skillet. Season chicken on both sides with homemade seasoned salt and pepper then place inside grill pan and grill until cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a cutting board then let rest for 10 minutes. Chop into bite sized pieces then refrigerate while you assemble the rest of the salad.
- To a very large mixing bowl add the chopped romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, red onion, parmesan cheese shreds, capers, freshly cracked black pepper, cooled pasta, and Caesar salad dressing. Stir with a spatula to evenly coat. Add cooled chopped chicken then fold to combine and serve.
- If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a comment + star rating!
- Click here for my Homemade Seasoned Salt recipe >
- I like Ken’s Creamy Caesar Dressing, though you can use whatever Caesar salad dressing you like.
- Because this pasta salad is made with gluten free pasta, it's best eaten right away or chilled for up to 2 hours prior to serving. You may need to toss with additional dressing before serving if chilling first. Brown rice pasta will stay softer after being chilled vs a corn/rice blend gluten free pasta.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Photos by Ashley McLaughlin