Let’s just start out by saying you need this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad in your life! Pasta salads are totally my thing lately so I decided to add turn one of my favorite salads into a pasta salad And yes of course it’s even better than just a plain salad itself because pasta makes everything delicious! It also makes it that much more filling so it’s feels like more of a meal than just a salad does. I also loved this because my kids were much more excited to eat it for dinner than they would be to just eat a salad. Kids love pasta. I love pasta, and I’m seriously loving this Caesar Pasta Salad!
It has so many layers of satisfying flavor. You get all the fresh greens, sweet fresh tomatoes, charred grilled chicken, salty parmesan, garlicky croutons and that rich and creamy caesar dressing! In other words this is one epic pasta salad! I know this will be a go-to recipe for me this summer and I love that it’s made healthier with Greek yogurt. One of my favorite things substitutions is Greek yogurt in place of mayo and it works perfectly here. Most of the time I do part mayo part greek yogurt but here since this dressing has olive oil it doesn’t need any mayo. Just be sure not to omit any of the ingredients for the dressing because together they really build up the flavor. Now who’s hungry??
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
Yield: About 4 servings
- 3 - 4 anchovy fillets (about 1 1/2 tsp once mashed)*
- 1/2 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
- 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Salt , to taste
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 10 oz . dry penne pasta
- 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce (preferably romaine hearts or the center portion)
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts , grilled then diced
- 1 pint grape tomatoes , halved
- 1/2 cup freshly , finely shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup homemade or store-bought croutons (optional)
For the dressing:
Remove larger bones from anchovy fillets. Place in a small mixing bowl and mash to a paste with the back of a spoon. Add in Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, pepper salt and sugar and stir until well blended. Chill in refrigerator while preparing remainder.
For the salad:
Cook pasta in salted water according to directions on package. Drain and rinse just briskly so noodles don't stick then let cool. Add lettuce, pasta, chicken and half of the tomatoes to a salad bowl. Pour dressing over top, sprinkle in half of the parmesan and toss to evenly coat. Top with remaining half of the tomatoes, the croutons and the remaining parmesan and serve immediately.
*Yes they smell terrible but that really are a must for this dressing, they are a key flavor for caesar dressing. It doesn't add a fishy taste just a rich flavor. I don't recommend anchovy paste as it's not quite as good as the freshly mashed stuff.
Recipe source: inspired by Spicy Southern Kitchen