Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad featuring fusilli pasta and salad greens tossed with grilled chicken and a delicious, homemade Light Caesar Dressing.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad is a fusion of classic flavors, ideal for those who love a light yet satisfying meal. This recipe combines the crispness of chopped Romaine lettuce and the heartiness of grilled chicken, all tossed with multi-colored fusilli pasta. What sets this dish apart is the homemade Light Caesar Dressing, a creamy blend of nonfat yogurt, Dijon mustard, fresh garlic, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese, adding a tangy and flavorful twist. Garnished with extra parmesan cheese, this easy-to-prepare salad, ready in just 25 minutes, is perfect for a family meal or a casual gathering.
Ingredients For Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Multi-color Fusilli Pasta: The base of the salad – adds texture and color. Also, any pasta like penne or rotini can work.
- Romaine Lettuce: Provides a crunchy, fresh base for the salad. Iceberg or butter lettuce can also be used.
- Chicken Breast, Grilled: Adds protein and a smoky flavor.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: Enhances flavor with a salty, umami kick. You could also use Grated Pecorino Romano or nutritional yeast for a dairy-free option.
- Non-Fat Plain Yogurt: Acts as the basis for the Caesar Dressing and adds creaminess.
- Dijon Mustard: Adds tang and depth to the dressing. If you need to substitute, use honey mustard or yellow mustard.
- Garlic or garlic powder. Minced shallot would also work.
- Lemon Juice: Brings a fresh, citrusy zest to the dressing. Substitute with lime juice or white wine.
How To Make Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad
- Cook Pasta: Follow package instructions to cook fusilli pasta, then rinse, drain, and cool it completely.
- Prepare Salad Base: Layer chopped Romaine lettuce on a large plate.
- Add Chicken and Pasta: Place the cooked pasta over the lettuce and add grilled, bite-sized chicken pieces on top.
- Make Dressing: In a blender, combine nonfat plain yogurt, Dijon mustard, garlic, lemon juice, water, and grated parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Assemble: Drizzle the dressing over the salad and pasta.
- Garnish and Serve: Sprinkle with additional grated parmesan cheese and serve.
Enhance your Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad by serving a Minestrone Soup as a starter. Add a vegetable side dish like these Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon. You could also serve it appetizer style with Cajun Fries or make it a meal with these Pork Meatballs.
Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad with Light Caesar Dressing
- 1 pound multi-color fusilli pasta
- 6 cups chopped Romaine Lettuce
- 1 pound grilled chicken breasts, sliced or cut into bite-size pieces
- grated parmesan cheese, for garnish
- ½ cup Non-Fat Plain Yogurt, (I use Dannon)
- 1½ tablespoons dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water, add 1 more tablespoon for a thinner consistency
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to the directions on the package; rinse, drain and completely cool.
- Meanwhile, layer the chopped lettuce on a large, shallow plate.
- Add cooked pasta over the lettuce and top with sliced grilled chicken; set aside.
- Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients in a blender. Blend until creamy and smooth. If it's too thick, add water, about a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Garnish with grated parmesan cheese, and serve.
- Add cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, or avocado chunks for extra textures and flavors.
- Provide additional Caesar dressing on the side for people who prefer a more robust flavor.
- Top with croutons for added crunch and texture.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.