The best type of recipes are those that don't require much forethought, simple ingredients, and can be put together in under 30 minutes. That's why I love this quick and simple caesar pasta salad recipe. With just five ingredients, you've gone from assembly to dinner table, or lunch table, in no time. Plus, you can add virtually anything to it to amp it up. Double win!
Pasta salads are typically more popular during the summer months, but who doesn't love a caesar salad paired with delicious pasta any time of year?
What are the ingredients for this recipe?
The ingredients are essentially in the name of the recipe: caesar salad ingredients, with the addition of pasta. Here's what you'll need from start to finish:
- Romaine Lettuce: All good caesar salads start with a classic romaine lettuce.
- Parmesan Cheese: I like to use fresh shaved pieces, or you can buy shaved slices of parmesan at your local grocer.
- Caesar Dressing: I don't typically make my own, admittedly I'm not much of a dressing or marinade maker, so I tend to browse stores for ones that have the best ingredients. Newman's Own and Primal Kitchen are some of my go to dressings.
- Croutons: You can't make a caesar salad without having croutons.
- Pasta: I chose to use a gluten-free version for this dish, because it's what I had, but I love Barilla, Delallo, and GoodWheat pasta for this recipe.
See the recipe card below for specific information about quantities.
How do I make this recipe?
This is hands down the easiest pasta salad recipe you will ever make, and will become one of your go to meals time and time again.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the desired pasta to al dente. Strain, then set aside. Chop a head of romaine lettuce, rinse and pay dry. Add the romaine lettuce, pasta, croutons, and parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl.
Pour the caesar dressing on top, then mix thoroughly with large mixing spoons.
HINT: Don't rinse the pasta before adding to the lettuce to mix. Instead, let the pasta come to slightly room temperature, then add to the lettuce.
Recipe Swaps and Substitutions:
If you're looking to make this recipe for yourself or for others that may have some dietary needs, here's what I suggest in terms of swaps and substitutions:
- Pasta: This recipe is made using a gluten free pasta, so you can keep that the same, or swap for the pasta of your choosing.
- Cheese/Dressing: Opt for a dairy-free version and dairy-free parmesan cheese for those allergic to dairy.
- Croutons: You can use gluten-free croutons here, or leave them out if you can't find an alternative.
Recipe Variations and Serving Suggestions:
I love when recipes are blank canvases where you can add to it and make it an entire new dish, or another type of meal. Here are some ways you can vary this pasta salad, and some serving suggestions for when you make it:
- Protein: Feel free to add sliced steak chicken (like my juicy chicken cutlets), salmon, or any other protein that fits your craving (tofu would be great here too!)
- Veggies: Throw in other vegetables if you want to add more texture such as chickpeas, cucumbers, craisins, or even some almonds or walnuts.
You can serve this recipe as:
- An appetizer
- A side salad for a BBQ or a dinner
- A meal-prepped lunch (just don't add the dressing on top, keep it on the side)
- Dinner (with the added protein) and an additional side.
Kitchen Tools and Equipment:
For this recipe, you don't need much equipment to get started, and when it's all said and done, you'll use maybe four different tools in the kitchen. Here's what you'll need:
- Large mixing bowl
- Large pot
- Cutting board
- Strainer - for the pasta
You'll also need some serving spoons to serve the salad. I love these as they're pretty but also very durable.
How do I store this recipe?
If you've already added the salad dressing to this, I would suggest storing in an airtight container for up to 24 hours, after that, the recipe becomes a little difficult to eat and quite soggy. If you want to preserve some of the leftovers, you can keep the pasta and the salad separate, as well as the salad dressing. Assemble when you want to serve it, or prep it as a meal prep. The pasta will keep for a few days, as will the lettuce and parmesan.
Hungry for More?
Looking for a recipe to pair this with? Try out one of my chicken recipes:
Quick and Simple Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 large pot
- 1 strainer
- salad spoons
- 1 cutting board
- 1 lb pasta of choice preferred rotini or fusilli
- 1 head romaine lettuce rinsed then chopped
- 1 cup croutons
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shaved or grated
- ¼ cup caesar dressing to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the desired pasta to al dente. Strain, then set aside.
- Chop a head of romaine lettuce, rinse and pay dry.
- Add the romaine lettuce, pasta, croutons, and parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the caesar dressing on top, then mix thoroughly with large mixing spoons.