This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is loaded with tender chicken, bacon, croutons, penne pasta, and the most delicious easy homemade Caesar dressing. Perfect for summer gatherings!
Ah Caesar Salad. My favorite salad. It always has been and always will be. I'm always trying to add more pasta salads to the blog as the weather warms up, so why not combine two wonderful things into one?
I'm partial to homemade Caesar dressing. There's nothing quite like it. If you want to give my version a go, it only takes 10 minutes. Or, use your favorite bottled variety. Either will be fine. I also like to make my homemade croutons for this recipe. Again, this is optional, but I do think that making most things from scratch yields the best tasting results.
Sitting on the patio with a bowl of this pasta salad and a glass of wine = a perfect summer evening.
Recipe notes & tips:
- If you want to make this recipe super quickly, I suggest using already cooked (or rotisserie) chicken, using store-bought Caesar dressing and croutons, and you could even buy the bacon bits.
- Want to make this with grilled chicken? No problem! The pan-frying method is only one possible way of making this salad.
- Want to use a different shape pasta? That's totally fine.
- This does make a large amount of salad, so feel free to halve the recipe or even eyeball the ingredients. It doesn't need to be precise.
- If you want to make this salad ahead, I suggest waiting to add the lettuce and dressing until just prior to serving.
- I shave my parmesan cheese using a plain old potato peeler. If you prefer to grate it, I love my handy Microplane grater. I always recommend keeping a block of parm in the fridge at all times. 🙂
- The frying can make a mess, and clean-up is much easier with a splatter guard (I love mine).
More tasty pasta salads to try:
Will you give this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad a go? Questions? Leave me a comment below. Loved this recipe? I'd be so happy if you shared it with a friend! 🙂
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- 1 pound uncooked pasta
- 6 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 2 large chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 cups romaine lettuce chopped or torn
- 2 cups croutons
- 3/4 cup Caesar dressing or to taste
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated or shaved
- Lemon juice (optional, to taste)
- Boil a salted pot for the pasta. Cook it al dente according to package directions. Once it's done, drain it and rinse it with cold water. Let it sit in a colander/sieve so it drains thoroughly while you're doing other steps in the recipe.
- Meanwhile, cut the bacon into bite-size pieces (I use kitchen shears to make this easy), and cook it over medium-high heat until crispy (about 10 minutes). Once it's finished, take the pan off the heat and remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, and leave the fat in the pan.
- Cut your chicken in half lengthwise and season both sides with the garlic powder and salt & pepper. Return the skillet to the heat (medium high), and when the fat is hot, fry the chicken for about 5 minutes/side or until it's golden and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and let it cool a bit prior to slicing it into strips.
- Once your pasta, bacon, and chicken are all ready, it's time to assemble the salad in a large bowl. Toss it with the dressing (feel free to add more if needed). I like to squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on top of the salad prior to serving. I suggest eating this salad as soon as you've added the dressing.
- You can easily halve this recipe (or halve it and keep the chicken the same) if you don't need a big batch.
- This recipe is very forgiving, so you don't need to stick to the ingredient quantities I suggest. I encourage you to add more/less of something to suit your tastes. And feel free to swap the chicken with rotisserie chicken!
- Prep time will be longer if you make the Caesar dressing and/or croutons from scratch. I count some of the prep time in the cook time since you can multi-task pretty easily in this recipe.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.