Chicken Orzo Salad
In 7 years of blogging, I’ve never posted an orzo recipe until now.
Better late than never and this one is so easy and packs loads of texture and flavor.
The salad is ready in under 30-minutes, makes enough to serve a crowd or for planned leftovers, can be served warm or chilled, and it’s a very flexible recipe based on the vegetables you have on hand.
Along with juicy chicken and tender orzo (which is actually short pasta rather than rice), I used cucumbers and tomatoes for texture along with green onions, parsley, and basil for flavor.
Everything is tossed with a simple olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette that adds a hint of lemon which complements the chicken and vegetables perfectly.
Feel free to substitute with zucchini, red onions, mint, add garbanzo beans, add goat, blue, or feta cheese, add mushrooms or olives, throw in some greens like spinach or arugula.
It’s such a versatile recipe and you can use it to clean out your produce drawer or in the summer when your garden and the farmer’s markets are exploding with veggies.
Chicken Orzo Salad
The easy salad is ready in under 30-minutes, makes enough for planned leftovers, can be served warm or chilled, and it’s a very flexible recipe based on the vegetables you have on hand. Along with juicy chicken and tender orzo I used cucumbers and tomatoes for texture along with green onions, parsley, and basil for flavor. Everything is tossed with a simple olive oil and lemon juice vinaigrette that adds a hint of lemon which complements the chicken and vegetables perfectly. Feel free to substitute vegetables based on what you have on hand such as the examples I gave in the post.
- 12 ounces orzo, cooked according to package directions
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- about 1.50 pounds thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups English cucumbers, diced small
- 1 cup green onions, sliced into thin rounds (from about 4 to 5 green onions)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
- To a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, chicken, evenly season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and lightly golden browned. Stir and flip intermittently to ensure all sides cook evenly. I used thin-sliced chicken breasts which cook quickly. Cooking time will vary based on thickness of chicken. Transfer the chicken and cooking juices to the bowl with the orzo.
- Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, basil, and stir to combine; set aside.
- To a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and whisk to combine. Taste vinaigrette and check for seasoning balance; add more salt, honey, lemon juice, etc. to taste.
- Evenly drizzle the vinaigrette over the orzo bowl, stir to coat evenly, and either serve immediately or cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate before serving. Salad will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days noting the vegetables will release water as time passes; serve warm, chilled, or at room temp.
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