Caesar Pasta Salad

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Kelly Senyei/The Secret Ingredient Cookbook

Crisp, cool lettuce salad or creamy pasta salad? Come summertime, you shouldn’t have to choose. This Caesar pasta salad—from Kelly Senyei’s The Secret Ingredient Cookbook—offers the best of both worlds (and includes a secret trick for the silkiest dressing possible).

“While pasta salad popularity tends to skew toward summer months,” Senyei writes, “this five-star-rated recipe has become a year-round hit. I’ve updated it to include omega-rich avocado in place of eggs, which yields an even creamier consistency than the classic dressing.”

Snacking tip: The dressing works beautifully on crisp greens and pasta, but also as a dip for veggies, pretzels, pita bread and all other dunkable items.

Excerpted from The Secret Ingredient Cookbook © 2021 by Kelly Senyei. Photography © 2021 by Robert Bredvad. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

BLT Pasta Salad



¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 small avocados, pitted and peeled

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons anchovy paste

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


8 ounces uncooked pasta, such as rotini or penne

2 hearts of romaine

1½ cups croutons


1. Make the dressing: In a blender, combine the mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, avocados, garlic and anchovy paste. Pulse until blended and then, with the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Transfer the dressing to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese and pepper.

2. Make the salad: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool slightly.

3. Cut the romaine hearts into 1-inch pieces, then add them to the bowl with the pasta. Add the dressing and toss to combine.

4. Add the croutons and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Note: If you aren’t serving the salad immediately, refrain from adding the croutons to avoid them getting soggy. To store the salad, cover it securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 48 hours.

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