Growing up, I was NOT into pasta salads.
Of any kind.
I can remember the typical pasta salad served at a picnic or cook out – those colored pasta shells with Italian dressing, olives, cubed cheese, etc. Not. Interested. Come to think of it, I pretty much didn’t eat pasta growing up. MAYBE spaghetti but that was about it.
Now – lurve a pasta salad. I make a caesar salad of some sort with this Greek Yogurt Caesar dressing at least once every other week. Maybe more. Originally adapted from How Sweet Eats (all time favorite blog). I typically use kale and whatever toppings I have on hand – blacken some chicken, maybe some corn, sun-dried tomatoes, normal tomatoes, bread turned into croutons if I have it, parmesan, you get the idea.
Throw it all in there.
Well the other day I just had a craving – I needed it. I was CAESAR PASTA SALAD.
There is a restaurant in Tupelo, MS where I grew up called The Grill. Super creative.
BUT they always made this caesar pasta salad (maybe had some pesto in it) that everyone loved. Of course, I never loved it because of my pasta thing at the time, but it was a hit.
So this chicken caesar pasta salad was born. Needed it.
I was going to post because I’ve pretty much made this before and just adding pasta… but it turned out SO good.
Oh and I’ve done some variations to this caesar dressing – I’ve been subbing half the parmesan for nutritional yeast. Try it. And as a bonus you’ll get to see how I made my chicken breasts perfect every time.
- 1-2 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp each salt, pepper, and smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 cups pasta of your choice (I used a lentil/quinoa gluten-free mix)
- 3/4 cup fire-roasted frozen corn (thawed) - regular frozen corn is fine
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (I use the kind packed in oil)
- 2-3 cups mixed greens
- 1/2 -3/4 cup Greek yogurt Caesar dressing OR dairy free option below
- 3 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 tbs unsweetened dairy-free yogurt (like coconut) - may also use avocado or olive oil mayo
- 3 tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 tbs Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 tbs anchovy paste
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and smoked paprika on each side of the chicken breast(s). Place the coconut oil in a oven proof, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, place each chicken breast top side down. Sear until browned, about 3-4 minutes, and flip. Sear another 3-4 minutes on the other side and place in the oven. Cook 30 minutes, until done.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing and cook the pasta according to directions. Place pasta and all other ingredients in a large bowl. Once chicken is ready and rested about 10 minutes, sliced and place over salad. Top with desired amount of dressing and toss.