• Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Fresh, crisp and flavorful, here is a delicious Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad perfect for a summer meal! Crisp Romaine lettuce, juicy grape tomatoes, soft noodles and crunchy croutons, there’s plenty to love on your plate here!

Well, Memorial Day is past, and it feels like summer is finally here! That means it’s time to pull out the cool meals again. That is cool in reference to the serving temperature of the meal.

Quite a few times in the past I would put together a dinner meal that was tasty, but served hot. My husband is always grateful, but there are somethings you can’t hide. Like your true feelings about eating piping hot lasagna after an hour long commute in bad traffic in a car with poorly functioning AC. I get it. It’s not that appealing!

I quickly learned the importance of having some fresh “serve chilled” type recipes. This one is great! One of my favorite things about the chilled entrees is that you can prep them so far ahead of the dinner rush! Cook the chicken the night before, or in the morning. Boil the pasta whenever you have 15 minutes to spare. Chop the veggies while the pasta is boiling. Then it can sit in the fridge till you are ready for dinner.

I love a good salad meal most of the time. But sometimes they are bulky, but just not very filling long-term. That’s because salad greens are not a significant source of energy. No carbs. No protein. No fat. No calories. Excellent to eat, but not enough to sustain you all by themselves.

That’s why it’s important to add protein (nuts, beans, meat, cheese, cottage cheese, etc) and fat (dressing, oil, etc). But it’s also important to add some carbs (pasta, fruit, grains, croutons, rolls, etc), because carbs are a major source of fuel for us!

I know carbs get a bad rap these days—they are being blamed for everything! But they are so important! So here is my soap-box. Food provides energy and nutrients for our bodies. There are only 3 things that provide usable energy—Fat, Protein and Carbs. Eliminating any one of these creates imbalance. “Healthy” is about balance, and all 3 macros are important in a healthy balanced diet! End of soap box.

Back to this meal…Adding a little pasta to this salad made it more filling and satisfying.

This salad was well received by my family. For the kids, as usual, I served up everything separate. I also gave them their choice of dressing. Can you guess what they chose? Yep it was the ranch. What is it about kids and ranch? My 2 year old will eat it by the spoonful! But hey! It helps them happily eat their veggies, so I will not complain!

All in all this was a great summer meal. Give it a try and see what your family thinks!

The Meal:

  • 2-3 cups Romaine lettuce

  • 2 ½ oz chicken

  • ½ cup bowtie pasta

  • ½ oz croutons

  • 2 Tbsp Caesar dressing

  • 1 roll with 1 tsp butter

Recipe Used in this meal:

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

Serving size: 1 salad

Servings per Recipe: 6

Ingredients

  • 2 large chicken breasts (approx. 1 lb chicken)

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • 1 ½ cups bowtie pasta (uncooked)

  • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce

  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese

  • 4 oz Caesar croutons

  • 1 pint grape tomatoes

  • ¾ cup Caesar dressing

Directions

  1. Thinly slice the chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Cook in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Set aside and allow to cool.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl.

  3. Wash and chop the Romaine lettuce. Add to the pasta. Add the chicken, Parmesan, croutons, and tomatoes. Drizzle with Caesar salad dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

NOTES:

If you plan to serve the entire batch at one meal, you can combine the salad, chicken and dressing in one large bowl. If you plan to have leftovers, I recommend adding dressing to each serving as needed. The lettuce will wilt if stored after mixing with dressing.

Nutrition Facts Label for Entire Meal:

Nutrition Facts Label for Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad:

RD and Me

Brianna Rhodes, RD, CD

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© 2016 RD and Me Nutrition Consulting, LLC