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The Caesar salad is one of mankind’s greatest creations. It eats like a salad, tastes like heaven and can be a meal or a side (maybe even a snack?). Basically, it might not be the healthiest salad (shhhh), but we can look past that because of how good it tastes. And as is true with everything, there’s always room for improvement. Like, say, turning a Caesar salad into a Caesar PASTA BAKE perhaps? Boom, the best salad ever turns into a casserole-type dish that screams comfort food. Now all our food dreams have come true.

CHICKEN KALE CAESAR BAKE

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 3 cups grilled chicken, diced or cut into strips
  • 2 cups penne pasta
  • 2 cups kale, rinsed, ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 cups garlic croutons
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bacon bits, optional

WHAT YOU DO

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  2. Cook pasta according to packaging directions, or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, toss chicken, pasta, kale and mozzarella together with chicken broth and Caesar dressing. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. In a small bowl, toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer chicken kale mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish, then top with cherry tomatoes, if using, and garlic croutons.
  6. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and bacon bits, if using, over the top, then place in oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is hot and bubbly.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Drizzle Me Skinny by 12 Tomatoes