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Chicken Caesar with a Twist

Today was a total stunner of a day! And I feel like I didn’t take full advantage. Such a shame.

The good news: I walked 3 miles at work during my lunch break and it was nothing short of therapeutic. Nice and slow and productive as I listened to the system-wide townhall via Teams and my earbuds. Lord love technology.
The bad news: I’ve got a cold. COVID test was negative, just to be sure. Phew.
So, while GREAT news that I don’t have COVID (AGAIN!), my clothes for my post-work beach run went unused as I slunk home for a shower and 30 minutes in bed to regroup. I’m not normally so puny with a cold, but…I am.

Thankfully, the weekend ahead is a whole lotta nothing and I’m craving time with my best friends (my daughters). This week has been busy and we’ve hustled from one thing to the next lately, it seems. I don’t know how families who are far busier than us do it.
Soccer season starts in a bit over a month and with a schedule that’s yet to be announced, I’m a little concerned about how that will shake out. We’ve got a busy spring ahead and so this whole soccer thing was, perhaps, poorly planned. Eek.

As for dinners, we’ve kept things simple and we’ve pulled out some oldies but goodies. Shea continues to be a hard no on anything white and creamy (…that doesn’t also contain ample amounts of sugar, that is), so many dressings and condiments are a no-go with her. She’s also not a salad fan, preferring plain’ol lettuce (?!). Snooze fest.
My little one, has always enjoyed salad — Caesar, especially so. We haven’t made this recipe in quite some time and I’ve perfected the chicken and overall combination and ratios over time. I’m a big fan of the Aldi brand of Italian dressing as a marinade. It creates a tender, flavorful chicken tenderloin that’s an quicker cook and an easy chop, while also being kind to the budget.
Word to the wise: prep the components and assemble and serve the salad throughout the week. If you get the cooking out of the way — chicken and noodles — the rest comes together in a flash! Shea aside, this meal is one of our all-time favorites and such a fun twist on the traditional chicken Caesar salad. Aren’t all meals a bit more satisfying with some pasta!? Enjoy!

Chicken Caesar with a Twist

Chicken Caesar with a Twist

Yield: 4 entrée-sized salads
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This is an all-time favorite and popular request in my house. We used to serve a version of this salad at the hospital cafeteria where I worked and it was a staff and guest favorite. I never tire of this one! Bonus if you can plan ahead for assemble and serve salads throughout the week; simply keep the ingredients separate until assembly and you're good to go!


  • 1 lb raw chicken tenderloins
  • 2/3 cup Italian dressing, divided
  • 5 oz uncooked rotini pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and torn/chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 cup creamy Caesar dressing
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 oz Parmesan, shaved
  • 1 cup croutons
  • freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


  1. Marinade chicken tenderloins in 1/2 cup Italian dressing; toss or rotate to coat and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare rotini pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold running water. Drain well and place into a medium bowl; toss with reserved Italian dressing (about 2 1/2 tablespoons); set aside.
  4. Place prepared romaine in a large bowl and drizzle with Caesar dressing; toss well to coat. Add prepared chicken, pasta, grated and shaved Parmesan (reserving some for topping, if desired) and distribute onto each of 4 plates. Finish with croutons and cracked black pepper before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 prepared salad
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 599Total Fat: 33.5gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 854mgCarbohydrates: 45.8gFiber: 3.3gSugar: 4.0gProtein: 35.0g

Did you make this recipe?

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Be well,

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  1. Becca
    March 17, 2022 / 1:47 pm

    This is one of our favorites! My five year old ate a whole bowl, to my surprise! Input all the components on his plate and told him he could put what he wanted on his salad and he added it all, total win!

    • Nicole Morrissey
      March 23, 2022 / 4:20 pm

      YES! Kids eating salad is such a high for me, lol!! 🙂

      • Becca
        January 31, 2024 / 5:56 pm

        We still love this, but your original recipe had a dairy free dressing, but my link is broken – do you still have that handy??

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