At long last, grilling season is upon us. In honor of outdoor cooking, I’m sharing one of my favorite for-the-grill recipes. I adapted this grilled salmon caesar pasta salad dish from a Pampered Chef recipe my sister brought to my attention a couple of years ago.
At first, I wasn’t sure about mixing these particular ingredients together, but I gave it a try. Soooo glad I did! This is now one of my favorite summer dishes. The best part is that it’s easy to adapt based on the personal preferences and number of people you’re serving…no leftovers. Make just what you’ll eat without wasting any food. You can also prepare this dish in the winter; just broil the salmon instead of grilling it.
½ cup creamy Caesar salad dressing
4 skinless salmon fillets
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups cooked small pasta shells, chilled
6 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Note: The original recipe also calls for 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon zest, and 1 clove of garlic to add to the dressing. We omit these ingredients out of personal preference and for simplicity. Since I don’t serve this dish with all the ingredients mixed together, it’s easier just to drizzle the salmon with dressing straight from the refrigerator—no extra ingredients added.
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium coals. Season salmon fillets with salt and black pepper. Lightly grease grill grid. Grill, covered, 3 minutes. Carefully turn and grill another 2-3 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with a fork. Remove from grill and cut into chunks.
On individual plates, layer lettuce, pasta, salmon chunks, dressing, and tomatoes. Top with grated cheese if desired.
Kid-friendly option: Don’t mix the ingredients but serve each separately based on preferences. Some of my kids love tomatoes; others prefer the lettuce. All of them love the pasta shells…just not mixed with the salmon and covered in dressing. That’s fine with me. As long as they get a fresh fruit or veggie and eat all the food on their plates, I don’t care if it’s mixed together or not!