Ready in under 30 minutes, this Chicken and Bacon Caesar Pasta Salad is a perfect side dish to have at your next barbecue. Using ingredients you probably already have on hand, this pasta salad is creamy, cheesy, and full of bacon!
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Is there a more perfect dish than a pasta salad? It's easy to make, is delicious room temperature or cold, and it keeps in the refrigerator a long time! You can also make them for all sorts of occasions like this Spooky Halloween Pasta Salad. Don't miss this garden vegetable and herb pasta salad, and orzo pesto pasta salad.
What's in this Pasta Salad?
Chicken Breasts- If you don't have chicken breasts, or want to make this recipe even easier, feel free to use a rotisserie chicken. Shred the meat off the chicken and use that. This is also a great recipe to add any leftover chicken you might have in the refrigerator.
Pasta- Use whatever your favorite pasta shape is. I think the farfalle are really fun for the Summer and they hold the Caesar dressing really well. If you do not have farfalle on hand though, any pasta shape will work.
Romaine Hearts- You want to use a hearty lettuce in this recipe. Mixed greens will wilt and get soggy under the weight of the pasta and Caesar dressing.
Bacon- Use your favorite type of bacon, Applewood or thick cut would be delicious.. Avoid maple bacon or flavored bacon, as that would overpower the salad.
Caesar Dressing- For this recipe, I used Ken's Caesar Salad Dressing. There are so many different Caesar dressings out there that are delicious. If you want to make your own, this is a great recipe for homemade Caesar dressing.
Equipment You'll Need
How to Make this Chicken and Bacon Caesar Pasta Salad
Wash and chop the romaine hearts and place them in a large bowl. You can also use the prewashed romaine lettuce that is in bags at the grocery store.
Next, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Make sure you salt the water well, as that is the only time you will be able to season the pasta. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it into a colander and run cold water over the pasta. This will stop the cooking and cool down the pasta faster. Add the pasta to the romaine lettuce.
Cook the bacon until crispy and drain the grease off the bacon. Crumble the bacon and set it aside.
Cut the chicken breasts into about one inch pieces and place them in a lightly oiled sauté pan. Add the granulated garlic and Italian seasoning to the chicken breasts in the pan and cook about 10 minutes. The chicken breasts should be completely cooked through. Set them on a plate and allow the chicken to cool slightly.
Add the chicken breasts, shredded parmesan, and crumbled bacon to the bowl with the pasta and romaine. Top with the Caesar salad dressing and croutons (if using) and toss everything well to combine. Enjoy!
Questions about this Recipe
Yes, but there's a special way to do it. If you want to make this ahead of time, make all the components separately, and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the pasta salad. Then, when you are ready to serve, place all the ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine. The romaine tends to get soggy if it is in the dressing too long, and the croutons get soggy as well.
This would be a perfect dish to take to a barbecue, or you could make it as a side to this Instant Pot pulled bbq chicken, open face tuna melt, or a chicken burger with feta and spinach. This pasta salad does need to stay quite cold, so avoid serving it at room temperature. The creamy dressing and the chicken breasts need to stay cool at all times.
If you wanted to make this vegetarian, simply keep the chicken out of the recipe. To make it dairy free, use your favorite dairy free dressing and eliminate the parmesan cheese. Feel free to up the veggie content by adding corn or cucumbers. Instead of chicken, shrimp would be amazing in this recipe too!
Other Recipes to Try!
And don't forget to check out some other drool worthy recipes below! Thanks for sharing this journey with me!
- Salsa Verde Chicken Bake
- Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken
- Easy Pepperoni Pizza Meatballs
- Double Chocolate Oat Cookies
- Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Zucchini
- Taco Stuffed Peppers
- Summer Sausage Recipe
Chicken and Bacon Caesar Pasta Salad
- 2 Heads of Romaine Washed and Chopped
- 1 lb Pasta shape of your choice
- 6 Strips of Bacon Your favorite kind
- 2 Chicken Breasts Large, about 1.5 pounds
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Granulated Garlic
- 1 cup Caesar Salad Dressing Your favorite variety
- ½ cup Shredded Parmesan Plus more for topping
- Croutons (Optional)
- Chop and wash the romaine hearts and place the pieces in a large bowl.
- Boil water and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- When the pasta is done cooking, use a colander to drain the pasta. Run cold water over the pasta to stop the cooking and to cool off the pasta. Add the pasta to the bowl with the romaine.
- Cook the strips of bacon until crispy. Once crispy, pat the bacon grease off with a paper towel and set the bacon aside.
- Cut the chicken breasts into one inch pieces. Lightly oil a sauté pan and place the diced chicken into the pan. Add the Italian seasoning and granulated garlic. Cook 10 minutes on medium high and sauté until the chicken is completely cooked. Take the chicken out of the pan and place it on a plate. Set that aside.
- Add the chicken and shredded parmesan to the bowl. Crumble the bacon into the bowl. Top with the Caesar dressing. Toss everything together until completely combined.
- Right before you are ready to serve, top with croutons and more shredded parmesan. Serve immediately.
- Use your favorite type of bacon, Applewood or thick cut would be delicious.. Avoid maple bacon or flavored bacon, as that would overpower the salad.