I’ve got to be honest here – regular lettuce salads can be a big old plate of boring. I’d much rather have a salad with lots of dimension like Keto Cobb Salad and Mediterranean Chopped Salad. And who says salads can only have lettuce, anyway?
Problem solved with this Caesar Pasta Salad with Kale.
This bowl of deliciousness has the chewy comfort of bow tie pasta, the crunch of kale, and the cool creaminess of Caesar salad dressing.
Oh, and don’t forget the juicy burst of tomatoes. Our garden is full of tomato plants that are blossoming right now and when those babies explode, my favorite part of summertime will be here!
Why you’ll love this Pasta Caesar Salad
- Easy, commonly found ingredients
- Big taste and flavor
- grocery shortcuts that can be found in most stores
- satisfying enough for the whole family to eat
- healthy with a little Indulgence
Homemade Caesar Dressing
I’ve always been a bit intimidated by Caesar salad dressing. Maybe it’s the anchovies?
I know anchovies are supposed to be delicious and I’m sure I’ve had them in restaurant dressings. I just sort of cover my ears and sing “la la la” when that happens and ignore the fact that they’re in there.
Anchovies? I don’t see any anchovies.
As for me and my kitchen, well – we’re not even going there. Nope, no anchovies going in my grocery list. Don’t try to change my mind.
So we’re keeping things simple with a light dressing made with this lineup:
- Dijon mustard, for a little tang and to emulsify, or pull together the dressing. Plus it sounds downright fancy.
- Garlic cloves and for this one, I’m gonna recommend you use whole, fresh garlic. Not the preminced kind I heavily rely on in my refrigerator
- Lemon juice, squeezed right from the fruit. This is going to give a sour and salty component to our dressing.
- Worcestershire sauce, which I can not pronounce for the life of me. Can you?? It’s a blend of things that give an umami flavor, and yes, it contains anchovies. But somehow if they’re blended up in a mix that I grew up with, it’s alright.
- Olive oil – I think this one is self explanatory, it just is.
How to Make Caesar Pasta Salad
- Cook your bowtie pasta according to package instructions. Add a little salt to the boiling water while you’re at it.
- While the pasta is cooking, make your Caesar salad dressing. Whir the whole thing up in the blender and you’re on your way to a tasty lunch! If you’re really strapped for time (and effort) you can use store bought Caesar salad dressing. I really like Newman’s Creamy Caesar.
- Put the washed and stemmed kale in a large bowl. Use a prepackaged blend to save you time. Drain the cooked pasta and add it to the kale. This will help wilt the kale a bit and soften it up. Chances are if you don’t like kale, it wasn’t massaged or loosened up before you ate it. Try this!
If you still don’t like it, by all means change the kale to romaine.
- Let this glorious salad mixture cool slightly, then add tomatoes.
- Top with shredded parmesan cheese.
If you have some grilled leftover chicken, it would be a glorious addition, too!
I happen to love kale but if you’re not in the same boat, substitute romaine.
Easy option: Substitute prepared Caesar salad dressing. My personal favorite is Newman’s Creamy Caesar.
Other pasta salads
For the Salad
- 1 lb bowtie pasta
- 12 oz bag pre-chopped and stemmed kale
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
For the Dressing
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup light olive oil
- Cook bowtie pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta is still hot, add to kale and dress with Caesar salad dressing.
- Let cool slightly, then add tomatoes. Top with shredded parmesan cheese.
To make the dressing
- Combine the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and black pepper and whisk to combine. Add grated Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the dressing and whisk until thoroughly incorporated into the mixture. Taste and season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired. Cover and set aside.
Shared on Meal Plan Monday