My Chicken Caesar Pasta Is an Easy, Creamy Weeknight Winner

The only salad that I know of that most kids routinely and voluntarily eat is Caesar salad. Kids love it, adults love it—the umami-packed dressing is a great unifier. What do you if you want something heartier than salad, but you still want the punchy flavors and creaminess of Caesar? Make this chicken Caesar pasta.

This magical dish is what would happen if you combined Alfredo and Caesar into one dish to rule them all. The sauce has all of the makings of Caesar dressing but swaps the egg for heavy cream and combines it with juicy chicken tenderloins. You can’t go wrong serving it over your favorite pasta, or, for a low-carb option, serve it over romaine hearts with croutons.

I guarantee that as soon as your family or dinner guests hear the words “chicken,”  “Caesar,” and “pasta,” they’ll come running.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces dried farfalle pasta (about 3 cups)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped drained canned anchovies
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup (2 ouncesgrated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Method

  1. Boil water:

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the chicken:

    Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper.

    Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, about 3 minutes. Add the seasoned chicken and cook, turning as needed, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, about 8 minutes.

    Remove the chicken from the skillet, set aside on a plate, and loosely cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

    chicken breast tenderloins cooking in a pan for chicken caesar pasta recipe
    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

    cooked chicken tenderloins on a plate for chicken caesar pasta recipe
     

  3. Cook the pasta:

    Stir the pasta and 1 tablespoon of the salt into the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente, about 11 minutes.

    pasta boiling in a pot for chicken caesar pasta recipe
     

  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce:

    While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same skillet over medium heat (do not wipe the skillet clean). Add the garlic and anchovies and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    Slowly whisk in the cream, Dijon, and Italian seasoning and use the whisk to scrape any browned bits from the skillet. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

    Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmesan, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper until the cheese is melted.

    heavy cream whisked into the rest of the sauce ingredients in the pan for chicken caesar pasta recipe
     

    chicken caesar pasta sauce in the pan
     

  5. Assemble and serve:

    When pasta is done cooking, drain well. Transfer to the skillet with the sauce. Stir in the chicken tenders until fully coated. Garnish with additional Parmesan and black pepper, if desired.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars and a comment below!

    farfalle pasta added to the pan with the sauce for chicken caesar pasta recipe
    caesar pasta topped with chicken tenderloins for chicken caesar pasta recipe
     

    close-up: chicken caesar pasta on a forkFAQ

What is Chicken Caesar Pasta?

Chicken Caesar Pasta is a delicious and satisfying pasta dish inspired by the classic Caesar salad flavors. It typically consists of cooked pasta tossed with creamy Caesar dressing, grilled or sautéed chicken breast pieces, crisp romaine lettuce, and grated Parmesan cheese. The result is a flavorful and comforting meal that’s perfect for busy weeknights.

What ingredients are needed to make Chicken Caesar Pasta?

To prepare Chicken Caesar Pasta, you’ll need pasta of your choice (such as penne, fettuccine, or spaghetti), boneless, skinless chicken breasts, Caesar salad dressing (store-bought or homemade), romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and optionally, lemon juice and anchovy paste for added flavor.

How do I make Chicken Caesar Pasta?

Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Grill or sauté the chicken in olive oil until cooked through and golden brown on the outside. Once cooked, slice the chicken into strips or bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with Caesar dressing until well coated. Add the sliced chicken, chopped romaine lettuce, grated Parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of lemon juice (if using). Toss everything together until evenly combined, then season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, garnished with extra Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.

Can I customize Chicken Caesar Pasta to suit my preferences?

Yes, Chicken Caesar Pasta is highly customizable to suit your taste preferences. You can add additional ingredients such as cherry tomatoes, crumbled bacon, diced red onions, or roasted vegetables for extra flavor and texture. If you prefer a lighter version, you can use grilled or roasted chicken breast instead of sautéed chicken, and opt for a lighter Caesar dressing or make your own with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist.

Is Chicken Caesar Pasta suitable for meal prep?

Yes, Chicken Caesar Pasta can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for easy meal prep. Simply cook the pasta and chicken, toss everything together with the Caesar dressing, and store in an airtight container. When ready to eat, you can reheat the pasta in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through, adding a splash of water or additional dressing to loosen it up if needed. It’s a convenient option for busy weeknights or packed lunches.

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