Crispy veggies and creamy caesar dressing make this pasta salad stand out from the crowd. This caesar pasta salad is always one of the first things to disappear at picnics!
Summer is beginning to draw to a close, and Labor Day barbecues are looming on the horizon. Many of us have been eating staples like pasta salad, and macaroni salad all summer. This Caesar Pasta Salad is a welcome twist. It is made with penne, Caesar Salad dressing and a host of fresh veggies. It is sure to be a hit at your next get-together.
More Easy Picnic Sides
How To Make Caesar Pasta Salad
Begin by gathering a large serving bowl as well as the following ingredients: penne pasta, cherry tomatoes, green onions, romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, shredded parmesan cheese, and croutons.
First, prepare the pasta as per the package direction for al dente. Then rinse under cold water ,to stop the pasta from cooking. Then, drain well, and set aside in a large serving bowl.
Prepare the vegetables by chopping the lettuce into small, bite-size pieces, and dicing the green onions. If the cherry tomatoes are large, consider slicing in half (you want all the ingredients to be easy to eat). Next, add the lettuce, onions, and tomatoes to your cooked pasta. Fold in the dressing, then add parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly, and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to serving.
Just before serving, add croutons. Do not add prior to refrigeration, or it will make the croutons soggy. Keep this dish cold while serving if at all possible.
1. Can I Add Chicken?
Absolutely, especially if you’re planning on using your caesar penne pasta salad as a main entree. To modify the recipe, simply add the chicken at the same time as the dressing, and stir thoroughly. The best type of chicken for this recipe is shredded or cubed. Just make sure the chicken is bite sized. It doesn’t take much time to bake or grill your own chicken breasts. You can easily shed it with 2 forks. Another great option is to consider purchasing a rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket and shredding it for a delicious burst of flavor.
2. Can I Use Other Pasta Shapes?
You may choose to use other types of pasta other than penne. The best type of pasta for pasta salad is anything that has a unique shape to it. I’m also a fan of rotini, cavatappi, or even good ‘ol elbow macaroni. Curves and crannies in the pasta help the dressing and other ingredients “stick”. One upon a time I was a picky child who insisted my mother was hiding vegetables inside the rotini spirals. Avoid spaghetti and other shapeless pastas.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Long Does Pasta Salad Last?
As a general rule, pasta salad will last about 3-4 days in the the fridge. Because our recipe contains lettuce I wouldn’t suggest keeping it longer than a day or 2. You could also keep the lettuce on the side ,and only add it to the portion you are planning to eat.
If you know you’ll be short on time before a party and you want to make ingredients in advance, you can cook pasta ahead and then freeze it in an airtight container. Once frozen, cooked pasta is best used within 1-2 months. When you’re ready to prepare the dish, reheat slowly or by steaming. Avoid microwaving.
Freezing with the salad dressing is not recommended.
How Much Pasta Salad Should I Make Per Person for a Party?
The short answer is, it depends. If your pasta salad is accompanying a meal (even something as simple as burgers and hot dogs), you can get by with making a little less, as most people will fill up on the main course. If you are just serving it with other sides, you’ll need more since pasta salad is popular and people will likely use it as their “main course”. Carb are life! The number of side dishes available matters as well; with a lot of different dish options, people will tend to take a little bit of everything in order to try out all the different foods. A general good rule of thumb is to have at least ½ cup of pasta salad for each person.
Pasta salad is a classic side dish to serve at any backyard barbeque. It’s a great addition to burgers, ribs, steak,or hot dogs. In addition, it also pairs with pretty much anything on the grill like chicken, ribs, or pork tenderloin. It also works well as a picnic addition with cold cut sandwiches or fried chicken. If you include chicken you can even use it as your main dish!
Whether you choose to enjoy your pasta salad as a side dish or with chicken as the main entrée, this recipe is sure to be the hit of your next picnic or backyard barbecue party!
Caesar Pasta Salad
- 8 Ounces Penne Pasta
- 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes Halved
- 3 Green Onions Thinly Sliced
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce Chopped
- ½ Cup Caesar Salad Dressing
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese Shredded
- Croutons To Serve If Desired