This CAESAR PASTA SALAD is bursting with flavor from the juicy tomatoes, the sharpness of the parmesan, and a bite of crunch from the romaine lettuce. Take it to a get-together or add grilled chicken to make this pasta salad a full meal. With just a few easy steps, you’ll be enjoying this flavorful dish in no time!
I love Caesar salad to it’s core. It has the right amount of garlic to satisfy my obsession. So of course, I had to pair it with my other love of pasta. Why it took me so long to make this salad is almost unforgivable. Please don’t be like me and make the same mistake. You’ll fall head-over-heels in love with the scrumptious Caesar Pasta Salad immediately.
PASTA: the noodle choice is up to you! Make it simple with a classic macaroni, go fancy with bowtie, or use penne like me. Any will work and taste delicious.
CHERRY TOMATOES: I like the look of cherry tomatoes plus they’re so much easier to use. Just slice in half or even keep them whole if you prefer. But dicing up a larger tomato won’t change the flavor at all.
SHREDDED PARMESAN: so this can be confused easily with grated parmesan but I highly suggest you use shredded instead. They have two totally different flavors. The shredded is typically found in the refrigerated section with other cheeses and comes in a small container.
OLIVES: this seems to add a little sharpness and Italian flavor to the dish but is totally optional if olives aren’t your thing.
CAESAR CROUTONS: I love the extra crunch that croutons bring to the dish. Can be left out but I think your tastebuds might be a little disappointed.
KEN’S CAESAR DRESSING: this brand works so well with this dish. It’s extra thick and creamy with a good strong flavor that pops. But you absolutely can use either another brand or homemade if you prefer. This is totally up to you.
HOW TO MAKE CAESAR PASTA SALAD
COOK– pasta according to directions, preferably al dente. It’s a little underwhelming to eat if you have very limp noodles. Then drain and rinse with cold water.
SLICE – tomatoes in half.
COMBINE– all ingredients in a large bowl. Chill until serving. ENJOY!
PASTA– almost any pasta shape will work.
TOMATOES & OLIVES– Cherry or Roma works best because they seem to be the least juicy. Black olives pair better than green and whole or sliced work well. Feel free to omit either of these though if you prefer.
LETTUCE– romaine gives it that classic Caesar salad look but many other types like iceberg or curly would be good too.
CROUTONS– caesar flavored croutons have a nice taste and look but almost any flavor of crouton would be fine to swap.
CHICKEN– this dish tastes fantastic with grilled chicken! It completely makes it into an entire meal!
SEASONINGS– add some extra seasonings if you prefer.
KEN’S CAESAR DRESSING: again I think this brand is really tasty but feel free to use another one if you prefer.
Caesar Pasta Salad is fairly inexpensive and quick to make but I am always looking for ideas to save money or time. Here are a couple of ways this could help you if this recipe is out of budget or you are on a time crunch:
- add some grilled chicken to make this into a main dish for it to go a little farther.
- use whatever tomato is the best price and readily available.
- eliminate tomatoes or olives to save a little.
- meal prep- lasts up to 3 days in the refrigerator. You may need to freshen it up with a little more dressing the longer it sits. HOWEVER, the croutons will get soggy if they sit overnight. I highly recommend adding them right when you are about to serve this dish.
A few idea would be to use whole wheat pasta, lite or fat free dressing, and elimate the croutons.
WHAT CAN I EAT WITH CAESAR PASTA SALAD?
EVERYTHING! Just kidding- ish. Actually, pasta salad pairs very well as a side dish to a main course meat such as grilled or fried chicken, sandwiches, burgers, or even a nice juicy steak. And if you just add a little chicken on top, it becomes a fantastic main course itself!
Caesar Pasta Salad
- 1/2 lb penne pasta
- 1 heart romaine lettuce chopped
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes halved
- 2.25 oz can sliced black olives drained
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 bag Caesar flavored croutons
- 1/2 cup Ken's Steak House Caesar Dressing or to taste
- Cook pasta al dente according to the directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside in large bowl.
- Combine all other ingredients except croutons to the pasta and mix well. Chill. Add croutons when ready to serve. Enjoy!
- The amount of dressing is to taste. Add more or less to desired.
- Add more dressing to leftovers as it tends to dry a little in the refrigerator.
- Only add croutons when ready to serve as they will get soggy when left overnight in the refrigerator.