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Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe

This Caesar Pasta Salad recipe is satisfying and boasts classic Caesar salad flavors in every bite. It’s a simple, easy, and incredibly delish meal that’s great for weeknights!

A plate of Caesar pasta salad with penne, cherry tomatoes, black olives, croutons, green onions, and lettuce, topped with a creamy dressing.
This Caesar pasta salad is perfect for barbecues, picnics, or as a quick weeknight dinner.

1-Minute Video: Caesar Pasta Salad

Why This Recipe Stands Out

This Caesar pasta salad is one of our favorite summer salad recipes. Here is why it stands out:

  • Tastes Like Your Favorite Caesar Salad: This pasta salad is a twist on classic Caesar flavors like those in our Caesar Salad recipe.
  • Creamy, Succulent Dressing: The homemade Caesar dressing is creamy, savory, and garlicky.
  • Perfect for Parties: This salad is a total crowd-pleaser! It’s our go-to recipe for gatherings.
  • Easy to Change up: Easily customize this salad by adding protein. It also pairs great with grilled meats like our Grilled Chicken Breast.
  • Meal-Prep Easy: Just like our popular Potato Salad, you can make this salad ahead of time.

Key Recipe Ingredients

Overhead shot of ingredients to make Caesar pasta salad.
  • Mayonnaise – This is the base of our dressing and gives it a creamy, rich texture.
  • Anchovy Paste – Do not fear the anchovy! It can be daunting to choose the right one; here is the one I use. It adds a depth of umami flavor that can’t be gained otherwise.
  • Parmesan – We use it both in the dressing and as a garnish for its salty, nutty flavor.
  • Romaine Lettuce – It provides a crisp, fresh contrast to the creamy pasta and dressing.
  • Penne Pasta – We chose penne for its shape that holds the dressing well.

Substitutions and variations

Here are a few of our favorite variations and substitutions to make it your own:

  • Vary the Greens: While we love the crunch of romaine lettuce, feel free to substitute it with kale, spinach, or even arugula for a peppery bite.
  • Add Protein: Grilled chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, or even cooked 10-Minute Garlic Shrimp can be added to this pasta salad to make it a complete meal on its own.
  • Vary the Cheese: If you’re not a fan of parmesan, you can substitute it with Asiago or Pecorino Romano. The latter works beautifully in our White Cheddar Mac and Cheese.
  • Add Texture with Veggies: Get creative with the veggies. You can add in some chopped cucumber, bell peppers, or even some marinated artichoke hearts.
  • Leftover Dressing: Save leftover dressing for our Best Creamy Caesar Salad Recipe.

Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Season to your liking and chill until ready to use.
  2. Cook the pasta until al dente, then rinse and toss with Caesar dressing.
  1. In a serving bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, corn, olives, and Parmesan. Drizzle desired amount of dressing and toss gently.
  2. Add the dressed pasta and toss again. Top with croutons and green onions.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

Take a look at our favorite prep-ahead tips for this recipe:

  • Make the Dressing: The Caesar dressing for this salad can be made in advance. Combine all the dressing ingredients, whisk well, and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. It will last for several days, so feel free to make it ahead of time.
  • Prep the Ingredients: You can also chop and prepare all the salad ingredients in advance. Wash and tear the romaine lettuce, slice the grape tomatoes, drain the corn and olives, and grate the parmesan. Store these ingredients in separate airtight containers in the fridge. This can be done up to a day in advance.
  • Assemble the Salad: Another option is to fully assemble the salad ahead of time. Once you’ve tossed the lettuce, tomatoes, corn, olives, and parmesan with the dressing, you can cover and chill the salad. When you’re ready to serve, just toss in the cooked pasta and garnish with croutons and green onions.
A plate of pasta salad with penne, cherry tomatoes, olives, croutons, and mixed greens, drizzled with a creamy Caesar dressing.
This Caesar Pasta Salad is super simple, easy, and takes hardly any time at all.


Main Dishes

Side Dishes

  • If you’re serving this Caesar pasta salad as a side dish, it goes well with just about anything. It’s great for potlucks or barbecues!
  • We love serving it with a classic Smoked Brisket or even some Grilled Pork Chops.
  • You can also serve it with some fresh bread on the side. A French bread or some garlic bread is always a good choice.

Commonly Asked Questions

What type of pasta is best for this Caesar pasta salad?

We recommend using penne pasta for this Caesar pasta salad. Its shape and texture allow the dressing to cling to it, and it’s easy to eat with the other salad ingredients.

Can I make the dressing in advance?

Yes, you can make the dressing in advance. In fact, we recommend it. The flavors have time to meld and develop when the dressing is allowed to chill in the refrigerator. Simply cover it and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

How long does Caesar pasta salad keep?

Caesar pasta salad can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. If you’ve already added the dressing, it’s best to consume it within a day to maintain the freshness of the lettuce.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

A plate of Caesar pasta salad with penne, cherry tomatoes, black olives, croutons, green onions, and lettuce, topped with a creamy dressing.

Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe

5 from 20 ratings
This Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe is super simple, easy, and takes hardly any time at all. It’s full of fresh veggies and chewy pasta, making it a hearty and satisfying meal any day of the week.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Author: Amy Dong


For Dressing

For Pasta Salad

  • 8 oz penne pasta
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed/dried, and torn
  • ½ cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup corn kernels, frozen or canned, drained
  • ¼ cup sliced olives
  • ½ cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • ¼ cup green onions, sliced, for garnish
  • 1 cup croutons


  • Make Dressing: In a bowl, combine the garlic, mayo, anchovy paste, grated parmesan, Worcestershire, mustard, and lemon juice. Whisk to combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to use. 
  • In a large heavy pot, cook pasta in well salted water just to al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain well and toss with 1/4 cup of the caesar dressing.
  • In a serving bowl, combine lettuce, tomatoes, corn, olives, and parmesan.
  • Drizzle desired amount of dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat. Add the pasta and gently toss again. Sprinkle croutons and green onions on top.


  • Always cook your pasta in well-salted water to give it flavor. This is your opportunity to season the pasta itself, so don’t skimp on the salt.
  • When making the dressing, don’t be afraid to adjust the seasonings to your liking. Some people prefer a stronger anchovy or lemon flavor, so feel free to tweak the ingredients.
  • Rinsing your pasta after cooking is important to stop the cooking process and remove excess starch. This will help your pasta salad maintain the right texture and prevent it from becoming too sticky.
  • You can prepare the dressing in advance and chill it until you’re ready to use it. This can save you time when you’re putting the salad together.
  • If you’re serving the salad later, keep the dressing separate until you’re ready to eat. This will prevent the lettuce from wilting and the croutons from getting soggy.
  • Save leftover dressing for our Best Creamy Caesar Salad Recipe
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 4668IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Assemble

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5 from 20 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


    • Birdiebee

    I would make my family an Italia Rotini Pasta salad with carrots, olives, cauliflower, slices pepperoni, sliced salami and sliced mozzarella sticks marinated in the Simply Dressed Balsamic Salad Dressing.

    • Jennifer Herman

    I would use it to make a great buffalo sauce and then create a yummy pizza

    • livesimply1111

    Tweeted –

    • livesimply1111

    I would use Marzetti Simply Dressed Salad Dressings in my Grilled Lemon Chicken Broccoli Salad. This would make a perfect tasty addition to one of our favorite meals.

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