A healthy chicken Caesar salad meets a refreshing, creamy pasta side dish in this Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.
It’s loaded with penne pasta noodles, crisp green leaf lettuce, crumbled bacon, tangry red onions, and chopped rotisserie chicken- all lightly bathed in a creamy Caesar dressing. Salted & peppered to perfection, it’s a perfect filling side or light, filling meal.
1 cup dry pasta cooked according to package directions
6 slices thick cut bacon; cooked crisp and crumbled
2 cups chopped romaine or green leaf, lettuce
salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp bacon grease*
1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken roughly chopped
1/4 cup red onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Caesar dressing or more to taste
1 cup croutons optional
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, run under cold water to stop cooking, and set aside.
Cook bacon, reserving 1 tbsp of the grease/drippings.
Transfer cooled pasta to a bowl and toss with the bacon drippings* until evenly combined.
Add in all other ingredients and stir thoroughly until evenly combined.
Add in more dressing if necessary, to taste, and again toss everything to evenly coat.
*Don’t skip the bacon drippnigs! I know it might be tempting, but the flavor just isn’t nearly as robust without it. Also, it helps prevent the pasta from sticking together if you want to let it chill or transport.
**If not serving immediately, DO NOT add in the lettuce until you are ready to serve. If you add in the lettuce and don’t serve immediately the lettuce will be wilted and soggy.