|

Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad

I don’t know about you but I just cannot get enough variations on the classic Caesar salad. Caesar wraps, salads, rice bowls, chicken wings — I love them all. So making this delicious Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad is an easy choice.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad in a freezer meal bag on the top half of th image, with the thawed and ready to eat salad in a bowl on the bottom half of the image. Words state "yes, seriously! Freezer meal Caesar Pasta Salad."

Perfect for a potluck, picnic, or carry-in, your crowd will love this delicious and easy pasta salad freezer meal. The tangy Caeser dressing perfectly compliments the chicken, pasta, and romaine lettuce for this lunch or dinner. I love having so many different varieties of meals in my freezer to choose from on busy weeknights. This one is particularly easy. Just thaw it out and add some lettuce! Members of the club also have access to our Jalapeno Ranch Pasta Salad.

Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and cubed
  • 8 oz. bowtie pasta
  • 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt, pepper

Ingredients For the Day of Serving

  • 1 cup Romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
  • croutons (optional) 
  • cheddar cheese, cubed

Assembly Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cool water. When cooling, toss occasionally with olive oil to prevent it from clumping.

Mix the salad dressing, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add cubed chicken, pasta, bacon, and cheese. Gently mix until evenly distributed. Transfer into a large resealable freezer bag. Remove as much excess air as possible: seal and freeze.

Pasta, dressing, chicken and seasoning in a bag to be frozen.

Cooking Instructions

Thaw the freezer meal overnight in the fridge. Transfer the contents of the bag to a serving bowl. Stir in 1 cup of romaine lettuce that is torn into bite-sized pieces and 1/2 cup of croutons (optional) before serving. Serve chilled.

Collage image showing the process of making and serving Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad.

What is the best way to cook the chicken for this recipe?

You have so many options! One of the easiest ways to cook chicken is to use your grill. First, salt and pepper the chicken, or use your favorite chicken seasoning. Then, cook the chicken breasts for about 7 minutes per side on high heat with the grill lid shut. Dice them up and use them in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.

Of course, the absolute easiest way to get cooked chicken is not to cook it yourself – buy a rotisserie chicken already cooked. Then pull the chicken off the bone and dice it up.

If you have leftover chicken, dice that up and use it for this recipe.

What is an easy way to cook bacon for this recipe?

My favorite way to cook bacon when it needs to be crumbled in the end is to go ahead and cut it into small pieces with scissors. I do this directly over the skillet with the bacon stacked three or four slices deep — whatever my scissors can handle. Once all the bacon is cut and in the skillet, I use my spatula to break it up and spread it out. It cooks very quickly this way. Once it is finished cooking, I place paper towels in the bottom of a mixing bowl, place a strainer on top, and strain the bacon. In this way, the grease goes directly into the paper towels for easy cleanup, and the bacon is ready to use. You can also use store-bought bacon bits.

Remember to let the chicken, bacon, and pasta cool completely before freezing them to avoid food safety issues. Once it is contained in a bag, it will cool more slowly and could stay in dangerous temperature ranges for too long.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe Ideas

You can change up this pasta salad so many different ways!

Let’s talk about greens first. Instead of romaine lettuce, you could use baby arugula, a Spring greens mix chopped up, or baby spinach.

It’s also fun to change up the pasta type. Instead of bowtie pasta (also called farfalle), you can use medium shells, rotini, wheels, or rigatoni. You can also look around the pasta aisle and just pick what you want. Almost any medium-sized pasta will work. Make sure you cook your pasta al dente. Overcooking the pasta is bad for this dish since it is frozen and then thawed. You do not want soggy pasta.

Are you bored of Caeser dressing? Try a different dressing, and you will have a whole new pasta salad. Ranch, Italian, or a Vinaigrette are all lovely.

Spice things up with red pepper flakes. Add color and flavor with diced cherry tomatoes or drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Make it a twisted Caesar buy adding feta crumbles before serving it. Avocado slices are another creamy and delicious way to dress up your salad.

Plated Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad ready to eat.

How do I store Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad

Once you’ve mixed the lettuce into the salad, it doesn’t keep real well because the lettuce will get soggy. As an alternative, if you know you will have extra, you can mix half of the salad at a time, and save the second half to mix on another day. Just split the “day of” ingredients in half, and split the freezer meal bag in half.

What to Serve with Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad

Crusty bread or easy homemade freezer garlic bread is a nice add-on to this one-dish meal. You can also serve it alongside other salads and casseroles for a potluck, carry-in, party, or event. It works perfectly for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

Caeser Chicken Pasta Salad
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
4 mins
Total Time
52 mins
 
Calories: 314 kcal
Ingredients
Ingredients for your Freezer Bag
  • 1 chicken breast cooked and cubed
  • 8 oz bowtie pasta
  • 1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
For Day of Serving
  • 1 cup Romaine lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces
  • cheddar cheese cubed
  • croutons (optional) 
Instructions
Assembly Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

  2. Rinse with cool water.

  3. When cooling, toss occasionally with olive oil to prevent it from clumping.

  4. Mix the salad dressing, lemon juice, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.

  5. Add cubed chicken, pasta, bacon, and cheese.

  6. Gently mix until evenly distributed.

  7. Transfer into a large resealable freezer bag. Remove as much excess air as possible: seal and freeze.

Serving Instructions
  1. Thaw the freezer meal overnight in the fridge.

  2. Transfer the contents of the bag to a serving bowl.

  3. Stir in 1 cup of romaine lettuce that is torn into bite-sized pieces and 1/2 cup of croutons (optional) before serving.

  4. Serve chilled.