Chicken Orzo Salad — This chicken orzo salad comes together in under 30 minutes and is made with juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, a tangy lemon vinaigrette, and more!
Chicken Orzo Salad Recipe
This chicken orzo 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, 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, or 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.
What is Orzo?
Many people mistakenly think that orzo is a type of rice, but it’s actually a short pasta!
It’s slightly chewy in texture and can be doctored up so many different ways. Because orzo is a kind of pasta, it’s not gluten-free, so if that’s something you’re concerned about make sure to buy a certified gluten-free orzo (I’m sure they exist!).
What’s in Chicken Orzo Salad?
For this chicken orzo pasta salad, you’ll need:
- Cooked orzo
- Olive oil
- Chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green onions
- Fresh parsley and basil
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
How to Make Orzo Salad
Cook the orzo according to package instructions, and cook the diced chicken in a little olive oil. While the chicken cooks, dice the veggies and add to a large mixing bowl along with the fresh herbs. Add the orzo and chicken to the bowl and toss to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon vinaigrette, then pour over the orzo pasta salad and toss to coat. This orzo salad recipe can be served warm, or you can cover it with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.
Can I Omit the Chicken?
Of course! If you don’t have chicken on hand or simply wish to leave it out, you don’t have to use it. If you don’t eat meat, chickpeas would be a good substitute for the chicken (just make sure to rinse and season them before mixing them into the orzo pasta salad).
Can I Make This Orzo Salad in Advance?
Yes, this orzo pasta salad will keep for up to five days in the fridge. Over time, the veggies will release some juices, but if you give everything a good stir before serving this pasta salad it’ll still taste delicious.
Tips for Making Chicken Orzo Salad
Just like you would with any pasta, make sure to salt the orzo cooking water. You want every layer of this orzo salad to be seasoned, otherwise the pasta and veggies will taste bland despite the refreshing lemon vinaigrette that’s drizzled over top.
As I already mentioned, this is a wonderful clean out the fridge meal. Feel free to use different veggies, herbs, and protein in this orzo salad recipe.
For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed lemon juice in the vinaigrette and not the bottled kind. You only need about one lemon for this recipe, and the fresh juice makes a huge difference!
And for all the orzo fans, make sure to check out this Lemon Basil Greek Orzo Salad. It’s a great one to try especially when fresh basil is in season. And this Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo is also a fan favorite!
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Chicken Orzo Salad
This chicken orzo salad comes together in under 30 minutes and is made with juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumbers, a tangy lemon vinaigrette, and more!
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 480Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 621mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 41g
More Easy Pasta Salad Recipes:
Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo — EASY, ready in 25 minutes, and feeds a crowd!! Juicy lemon chicken with orzo, fresh spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes make this a dinnertime WINNER! Great for parties, picnics, and potlucks!!
Lemon Basil Greek Orzo Salad — EASY, ready in 25 minutes, and lemon and basil give it such a FRESH taste!! Feeds a crowd, great for parties, picnics, and potlucks! Or perfect for meal prep weekday lunches and HEALTHY dinners!!
Italian Chicken Pasta Salad — Easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthy! Bursting with fresh flavors from juicy tomatoes, cucumber, basil, parmesan, and tender chicken tossed in a tangy lemon vinaigrette!
Smoky Chicken, Peppers, and Spinach Pasta Salad – Juicy chicken, crisp bell peppers and pasta with smoked paprika! Fast, easy, healthy and a hit with everyone! Great for picnics, potlucks, or easy weeknight dinners!
Chinese Chicken Pasta Salad – Big juicy chicken chunks and texture galore from the rainbow of crispy veggies! Fast, easy, fresh and healthy! Great for picnics, potlucks, and easy dinners!
BLT Pasta Salad — EASY, ready in 15 minutes, feeds a crowd, and PERFECT for potlucks and parties. Creamy ranch dressing perfectly coats the pasta and BACON.
Mandarin Orange Chicken Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 30 minutes, and packed with Asian-inspired flavors!! Juicy sesame chicken, pasta, and lots of healthy vegetables!
Taco Pasta Salad – EASY, ready in 20 minutes, and loaded with great Mexican-inspired ingredients including corn, black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and more!
Garden Fresh Tortellini Pasta Salad — This pasta salad is the perfect way to take advantage of garden-fresh ingredients. It’s easy, ready in 15 minutes, there’s loads of flavor, and plenty of texture contrasts.
Originally posted April 25, 2016 and reposted June 10, 2022 with updated text.
This is a go to recipe at our house. It is delicious as leftovers as well.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it’s a go to recipe at your house!
I veganised this recipe for my family and it was a hit! Thanks – gave me some excellent ideas
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it was a hit, veganized, with your family!
It’s so pretty!! And delicious!
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it turned out deliciously for you!
First time making one of your recipes. It was delicious! I added feta cheese, because everything is better with feta! I will be trying some of your other recipes.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved the recipe! I agree, everything is better with most any kind of cheese!
I love these kinds of salads! Just when u think you have nothing for dinner in the summer, you can always come up with an array of vegetables, pastas or grains. Empty the fridge and make one–sometimes I cheat and pick up
a rotisserie chicken .The whole meal gets prepped while the pasta cooks. The combinations are endless.
I totally agree…there’s always a random array of veggies and a few grains. With rotisserie chicken, it makes it even easier!
Looks Delicious… My Hubby Loves variety salads,while i roam over the food logs and make him smile.. This sounds heavy and Lovely.. :)
Congratulations on first orzo recipe, Averie! It looks absolutely scrumptious!
I am dying over this Averie!! Pinned and can’t wait to make it. Seriously, it looks incredible.
Thanks Ashton! For pinning and for stopping by to say hi :)
I was just about to go to our local Sprouts to buy some vegies…..feeling like we needed a good salad. This recipe is perfect. It packs in protein, vegies, and carbs all in one. I like to get the already roasted and chopped chicken breast at our Cost Co. I think I will use that for this recipe. Easy, quick and healthy. I love all of your recipes Averie. The photos are amazing. It makes me want to cook! Thank you very much!
Thanks for all the compliments on my recipes and photos! Happy cooking :)
This looks so fresh and delicious – perfect for a Memorial Day weekend cookout. Bring on the fresh tomatoes!
I adore orzo in salads! This is one gorgeous dish, Averie! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning, Anna!
loving these photos! orzo is one of my favourite pastas to cook, i just love how little and dainty it is. such a lovely recipe and perfect for the spring season.
Thanks for the photo compliments!
I absolutely love Orzo and I always forget about it. I need to make this!
Looks delicious, and so flavorful, thanks for sharing
for whatever reason Orzo has never really been my thang, but a little quinoa, farro, or whole wheat pasta would prob taste just as good :)
I love quinoa and have so many quinoa recipes and tried to branch out :) And I love farro, too! But yes this would be great with either!
Welcome to the orzo club Averie!!! This looks amazing!
I love the added chicken (protein) to this orzo salad!! Beautiful light dish!!
This looks delicious–light yet full of flavor. I’ve only used orzo a few times because I tend to forget about it. My parents are coming out in a few weeks for my stepdaughter ‘ s graduation so I need a couple of easy make ahead recipes. Everyone would love this.
This is so easy and a perfect make ahead salad. It just screams, graduation party, potluck, summer bbq type of thing. And I definitely forget about orzo too!