Chicken Orzo Salad

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 in white bowl

Chicken Orzo Salad Recipe

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 in loads of texture and flavor. 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!). 

Chicken Orzo pasta Salad in large white bowl

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
  • Cucumbers
  • Green onions
  • Fresh parsley and basil
  • Lemon juice
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Honey

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. 

Chicken Orzo Salad recipe

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! 

Orzo Chicken Salad - Juicy chicken tossed with orzo, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, and a super flavorful lemon vinaigrette!! Easy, healthy, ready in 30 minutes, and a perfect way to use your garden fresh veggies!!

Chicken Orzo Salad

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!

Yield: 6 to 10 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 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

Instructions

    1. Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; set aside.
    2. 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.
    3. Add the tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, parsley, basil, and stir to combine; set aside.
    4. 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.
    5. Evenly drizzle the vinaigrette over the orzo bowl, stir to coat evenly, and either serve immediately or cover with plasticwrap and refrigerate before serving.

Notes

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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 480 Total Fat: 16g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 96mg Sodium: 621mg Carbohydrates: 42g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 13g Protein: 41g

More Easy Pasta Salad Recipes: 

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!

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!!

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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!

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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.

27 comments on “Chicken Orzo Salad”

  1. 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.

  2. I love the added chicken (protein) to this orzo salad!!  Beautiful light dish!!

  3. Welcome to the orzo club Averie!!! This looks amazing!

  4. 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 :)

  5. Looks delicious, and so flavorful, thanks for sharing

  6. I absolutely love Orzo and I always forget about it. I need to make this!

  7. 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.

  8. I adore orzo in salads! This is one gorgeous dish, Averie! Pinned!

  9. This looks so fresh and delicious – perfect for a Memorial Day weekend cookout.  Bring on the fresh tomatoes!

  10. 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!

  11. I am dying over this Averie!! Pinned and can’t wait to make it. Seriously, it looks incredible.

  12. Congratulations on first orzo recipe, Averie! It looks absolutely scrumptious! 

  13. Looks Delicious… My Hubby Loves variety salads,while i roam over the food logs and make him smile.. This sounds heavy and Lovely.. :)

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    Rating: 5
  16. It’s so pretty!! And delicious!

    Rating: 5
  17. I veganised this recipe for my family and it was a hit! Thanks – gave me some excellent ideas

    Rating: 5

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