Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad has Cajun chicken, bacon, and an easy homemade dressing (with NO anchovies!)! Makes a great lunch or party side dish.

One of my favorite things about summer barbecues is trying all the food that people bring along.

I recently tried a Caesar Pasta Salad just like this one: Loaded up with spicy Cajun chicken, bacon, and tons of noodles! I couldn’t WAIT to make it at home and eat it all myself.

Sharing is overrated.

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad has Cajun chicken, bacon, and an easy homemade dressing (with NO anchovies!)! Makes a great lunch or party side dish.

Let’s start with our greens.

How do you keep lettuce from turning brown?

I have always heard that you are supposed to tear greens by hand, rather than chop them with a knife, to avoid bruising. Do you have one of those fancy Lettuce Chopping Knives made of plastic designed JUST to assist with this scenario? Guilty as charged.

But it’s SILLY. As long as your knife is sharpened, you’ll have no problems with bruising. The idea that cut lettuce turns brown is largely a myth.

Probably started by Lettuce Knife Lobbyists.

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad has Cajun chicken, bacon, and an easy homemade dressing (with NO anchovies!)! Makes a great lunch or party side dish.

Cajun Chicken

I love Cajun Anything, so I spiced my chicken accordingly. I sautéed mine in a pan, but you can bake, broil, grill, or poach as you see fit.

I’ve also made this salad with leftover Rotisserie chicken. If you go that route, you can always stir some Cajun seasoning for that spicy flavor.

A popular restaurant dish, this Cajun Chicken Alfredo is updated with broccoli, homemade cajun seasoning, and the creamiest, cheesiest Alfredo sauce!

No-Nonsense Caesar Dressing

You’ll love my Homemade Caesar Salad dressing.

Instead of anchovies and raw eggs, this version uses staple ingredients such as mayonnaise (there are you eggs!) and Worcestershire sauce (there are your anchovies!).

Add some spicy brown mustard and lemon juice for a tangy zing, season with salt and pepper, and your new favorite dressing is ready to go. If you find the dressing is too spicy or tangy, just add a little more mayonnaise.

Save this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad to your “Salads” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad has Cajun chicken, bacon, and an easy homemade dressing (with NO anchovies!)! Makes a great lunch or party side dish.
4.8 from 5 votes
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Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad has Cajun chicken, bacon, and an easy homemade dressing (with NO anchovies!)! Makes a great lunch or party side dish.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 245 kcal

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 pound rotini or other small pasta
  • 1 pound thin boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 2 tablespoons Homemade Cajun Seasoning or store bought
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 2 cups croutons
  • 8 ounces bacon cooked and crumbled (8 slices)
  • Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing or store bought
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add rotini and cook according to package instructions, about 9 to 11 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  2. Meanwhile, arrange chicken on a baking sheet or work surface and sprinkle both sides generously with Cajun seasoning

  3. In large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Arrange chicken in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until the temperature on an internal thermometer reaches 165 degrees, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and rest for 5 minutes. Slice into strips.

  4. In a very large bowl, combine cooled rotini, lettuce, croutons, and bacon. Drizzle with Caesar salad dressing and toss until uniformly coated. Top with chicken and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

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This Caesar Salad is upgraded with extra veggies and cheese tortellini! Makes a great lunch or tasty party side dish and it's ready in just 25 minutes.

This Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad has Cajun chicken, bacon, and an easy homemade dressing (with NO anchovies!)! Makes a great lunch or party side dish.

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20 comments

  1. I love the addition of the tortellini, a great alternative to adding chicken.

  2. I love this idea of adding tortellini to a salad! This looks delicious!!

  3. This is really clever! It’s like a caesar and pasta salad had a baby, two of my favourites! Plus you’ve upped the stakes by using tortellini rather than ordinary pasta. I also like the simple dressing you’ve used and the quantity you make gets a big tick from me too! A pet peeve of mine are salad recipes that should be called “Mayo dressing with lettuce” rather than “Lettuce with mayo dressing” because the salad is DROWNING in dressing. So one of the first things I always do is check out the dressing recipe quantities and I like that yours is so sensible! Pinning!

    • Thanks Nagi, glad you approve! :) Whew! I know what you mean though, so many times it’s something like, would you like some lettuce with your salad dressing? In this case it’s full-fat dressing all over the place too so it is definitely best to be judicious in your usage. Still trying to offer a salad here, after all! :) Thanks for the pin too!

  4. What a wonderful way to customize Caesar salad, a nice break from chicken,I love it! I’m also not a fan of raw eggs in m Caesar dressing, so your dressing recipe is just “my type”. This salad looks fresh, I want to dig into it right now!

  5. Wow. This kind of salad is totally new to me. I love it!

  6. This is a really interesting version of a classic crowd-pleaser salad, Meggan! The dressing sounds great, too!

  7. This looks delicious! I bet it is more filling with the tortellini too! Gorgeous photos Meggan!

  8. I love the addition of the cheese tortellini in this caesar salad. The salad looks so fresh and delicious! What a great, easy to make lunch or dinner!

  9. I just LOVE this tortellini on a salad..yum!

  10. I gobble up tortellini way too fast for me to just keep on hand, but I love the idea of adding them to a salad, especially a caesar salad (one of my faves!)!

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