Chicken Caesar salad is about as classic as it gets, but why should lettuce have all the fun? I’m swapping the romaine for penne in this satisfying, protein-packed, weeknight-friendly pasta. I added chopped bell pepper and some lacinato kale for added nutrition and opted for Barilla’s Protein+ penne for a protein boost, but you can use any type of pasta you prefer. A combination of refrigerated pre-made Caesar dressing and pasta water make for a quick sauce and fresh lemon juice and parsley bring it all together.
- 1 14.5 ounce box Barilla Protein+ Penne (1 cup pasta water reserved)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pound Gerber Thin Cut Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (about ½ inch thick)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup refrigerated creamy Caesar dressing (recommend: Marzetti Simply Dressed)
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
- Juice from half a lemon
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions in heavily salted water. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining; set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Season both sides of the chicken breast cutlets to taste with salt and pepper. Cook them for 3-4 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Set aside to rest for five minutes, then slice into bite-size pieces.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and add the red bell pepper and kale. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn.
Turn off the heat and add the cooked chicken and pasta to the pan. Pour in the Caesar dressing and about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and stir well to combine. Fold in the parmesan cheese, lemon juice and parsley. Feel free to add more Caesar dressing or pasta water.
Serve topped with additional parmesan and fresh cracked black pepper.
This recipe was developed in paid partnership with Heinen’s Grocery Store. Check out the original post here.