Chickpea Caesar Pasta Salad is crunchy and light with bits of parmesan and pickled shallots. This yummy vegetarian pasta salad is sure to be your new summertime staple!
It goes without saying that Caesar salad is enormously popular. We see it everywhere and that is because, quite frankly, Caesar salad has it all going on. Crispy romaine, fat croutons, and a dressing, a creamy, umami-bomb dressing, that hits all the right notes.
As this recent viral tweet so perfectly puts it:
Yup. This ☝🏻
I remember the table-side Caesar salad served up in the eighties at fancy restaurants. For a short time, my parents at dinner parties would do their own theatrical rendition. Yes, they would make Caesar salad like a performance table-side. My mother had a big wooden salad bowl, and she would always begin her salad-making by sweeping a garlic clove around the bowl—such a cool trick. Then, she would work in the rest of the ingredients egg yolk, anchovies, and lemon. To finish a thin trickle of olive oil was whisked in slowly to create that lush emulsion. Once the dressing was just right, she would coat the lettuce carefully in the dressing and scatter toasty croutons and parmesan on top. It is the taste that I remember quite vividly. From that moment on I was a fan of this rich and savory dressing.
I think it was a craving for these flavors that gave me the idea for this pasta salad, but I wanted to give it some oomph with bits of lemony shallots and make it more stable and substantial by adding chickpeas. Adding in the pasta gives the salad the ability to hold up longer, as we know traditional Caesar salad starts to wilt rather quickly. Chickpeas bring lots of good protein to the salad and add an addicting little pop. This Caesar, like any other, works well with a plethora of ingredients like Cajun grilled chicken, avocado, or sweet corn. Wouldn’t those little peppadew peppers from the olive bar be an amazing addition? I just love those.
Let's Get Cooking!
Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Farfalle Pasta-Use whatever pasta shape you like except the long strand varieties.
- Chickpeas – Chickpeas from the can are perfect here, just drain and rinse the chickpeas before using.
- Romaine Lettuce- You want romaine lettuce in this salad but in a pinch spinach leaves, kale or arugula would be a fine substitute.
- Croutons-You can buy croutons or make them homemade. Homemade is so much better. Different breads can add interest to the salad like rye croutons or olive bread croutons.
- Shallots- I make a quick lemony pickled shallot for this recipe that is delish! A sweet onion would also work.
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Anchovy Paste
- Dijon Mustard
- Olive Oil
- Parmesan Cheese-Parmesan is the classic choice for a reason. Piave is the best alternative. Romano cheese has a high salt content so watch your salt if using this cheese.
TOOLS YOU WILL USE:
How To Make Homemade Caesar Pasta Salad with Chickpeas
- Cook pasta al dente according to directions. Drain and cool.
- Pickle shallots by placing thinly sliced shallots in a bowl, adding lemon juice and zest, and covering the shallots with rice wine vinegar. Allow the pickles to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Make Caesar dressing by whisking anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and salt in a bowl until combined. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to emulsify the dressing. Set aside.
- Combine pasta, salad ingredients, shavings of parmesan, and Caesar dressing in a bowl. Toss to combine. Top with pickled shallots and serve immediately.
How should I serve this delish pasta salad??
Bring this bad boy to your next picnic or summer BBQ and become an instant star!
Serve as a side dish for just about any protein; steak, chicken, or shrimp would work well with this salad.
Serve as the main event at a brunch with the option of adding jammy eggs on top, YUM!
What Else Can I Add to Caesar Pasta Salad?
Try some of these add on's!
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Sweet Corn
- Grilled Zucchini or Bell Pepper
- Grilled Shrimp or Chicken
- Nuts or Seeds
- Olives or Pickled Peppers
LET'S TALK ABOUT THESE LEMON PICKLED SHALLOTS!!
This may seem like the step that you want to skip but I'm going to beg you not to. A few minutes of effort will grant you HUGE rewards!
Quick pickled onions are a revelation and make just about every salad better. For this recipe, I wanted a huge lemony hit, and these shallots delivered.
My all-time favorite Caesar salad (this is a HUGE statement) is from “Quality Italian” in NYC. Their Caesar salad is topped with perfect little jewels of candied lemon rind and OMG it is truly genius. I played with that idea here adding bright and citrusy shallots to this pasta salad.
Do I Have To Use Homemade Caesar Dressing in Caesar Pasta Salad?
Homemade Caesar dressing is a fantastic addition to this salad, but you can substitute store-bought dressing. Look for a dressing that has familiar or whole food ingredients, Primal Kitchen has a vegan Caesar dressing and a paleo/ Whole30 approved Caesar dressing.
Honestly, the dressing takes like TWO minutes to whip up, so I highly recommend making homemade.
NUTRITION NERD CORNER 🤓
Are chickpeas a good source of protein?
Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, providing an excellent boost to salads, curries, or side dishes.
How much protein do chickpeas have?
- 1 ounce of chickpeas contains 3 grams of protein
- 1 tablespoon of chickpeas contain 2.4 grams of protein
- 1/2 cup of chickpeas contain 7 grams of protein
Store Caesar pasta salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS FOR THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is vegetarian.
- Gluten-Free – Replace the farfalle pasta with gluten-free pasta.
- Vegan – Omit the anchovy paste. Substitute either nutritional yeast or a nut cheese for the parmesan.
- Low Fodmap- Omit the chickpeas (unless you tolerate chickpeas) and eliminate the shallots
MORE SUMMER SALAD RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE:
I can’t wait for you to try this Chickpea Caesar Pasta Salad Recipe! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo!
If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
Chickpea Caesar Pasta Salad
- 1 lb. farfalle pasta cooked according to directions, drained and cooled.
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 head romaine lettuce chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup croutons homemade or store bought
- small wedge of Parmesan cheese
Lemon Pickled Shallots
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- rice wine vinegar, enough to cover shallots
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp sugar
Lemon Pickled Shallots
- Place shallots in a bowl with lemon juice and zest.
- Pour in rice wine vinegar making sure that the vinegar covers the shallots, stir in sugar.
- Allow the shallots to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Homemade Caesar Dressing
- Whisk all ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl until well combined.
- Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking the dressing to combine and emulsify the ingredients.
- Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Combine cooked pasta, romaine lettuce, chickpeas, and croutons. Toss to combine.
- Pour over Caesar dressing and stir to combine.
- Using a vegetable peeler shave strips from parmesan cheese over salad (I used about 1/4 cup of cheese, but use as much or as little as you'd like)
- Top with pickled shallots. Serve immediately or store in fridge until ready to eat.