Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo

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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!!

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!!

This easy Greek lemon chicken is so flavorful and juicy. Combined with al dente orzo, cucumbers, tomatoes, and fresh spinach, you’ve got yourself a perfect summery meal that’s ready in 25 minutes.

It also feeds a crowd so it’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, and parties. Put it on your Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and graduation party menu and you will have happy friends and family members.

The orzo is perfectly al dente, the chicken is lemony and juicy, and the dish has so much flavor thanks to the lemon juice, lemon zest, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic, and onions.

The fresh spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes are a welcome addition that perfectly contrast the cooked pasta and chicken.

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!!

Recipe Ingredients

To make the lemon chicken with orzo, you’ll need:

  • Orzo pasta
  • Olive oil
  • Sweet Vidalia onion
  • Chicken breasts
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dried oregano
  • Garlic
  • Fresh spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lemon juice and zest
  • Feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

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!!

How to Make Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo

Don’t be afraid to add sufficient salt and pepper to the chicken and orzo since this dish is a zillion times better when properly seasoned! Remember that you’re using over a pound of chicken, a pound of orzo, and tons of veggies — all of which are unseasoned.

Here’s how the recipe is made:

  1. First, boil the orzo.
  2. While that’s going, sauté an onion with the chicken and seasoning it generously with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, oregano, and garlic. (Don’t be afraid if the chicken looks almost over-seasoned in the pan.)
  3. After the chicken is done, and the orzo is done and drained, combine them. All the seasoning from the chicken mingles with the pound of orzo and all is well.
  4. Add fresh spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add crumbled feta for a classic Greek touch. Finally, drizzle in additional olive oil, to taste. This enhances the flavor and it prevents the orzo from sticking as it cools.

FAQs

Can I Add Other Veggies to This Recipe? 

There are no rules in my book about what substitutions or additions you can make. Fresh basil, green onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, marinated artichokes, and olives are just a few additions that would be lovely. I used English cucumbers and grape tomatoes, but if you have a garden full of regular cucumber (or zucchini) and regular tomatoes, go for it.

Can I Omit the Chicken? 

You’re welcome to omit the chicken. However, if you’ll be enjoying this as a main dish I recommend adding in the chicken to bulk up the dish.

How can I make this recipe extra lemony?

If you’re a real lemon fanatic, feel free to add extra lemon juice and zest to this recipe. Taste the lemon orzo chicken and tweak it as you see fit. 

Should this recipe be served warm or cold?

I almost called this ‘Greek Lemon Chicken Orzo Salad‘ since orzo is short-grain pasta after all, and since there are plenty of fresh vegetables. But since you can eat it warm or chilled, I kept ‘salad’ off the title. But in my mind, it could also serve it cold as a pasta salad of sorts.

Storage Instructions

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I actually froze some of the leftovers; you can freeze this recipe, but note that the texture of the vegetables does change upon thawing.

What to Serve with Chicken and Orzo

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4.56 from 139 votes

Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo

By Averie Sunshine
EASY, ready in 25 minutes, and feeds a crowd!! Juicy lemon chicken with orzo, fresh spinach, cucumbers, and tomatoes make this a dinnertime WINNER!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients  

  • 1 pound orzo, cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil for pan + more for finished dish, as desired
  • 1 medium sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
  • 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 to 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach, about 4 giant handfuls
  • ½ English cucumber, diced small
  • 1 ½ cups sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, or to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 + teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Instructions 

  • To a large pot, add the orzo and cook according to package directions. Drain and return to pot; set aside.
  • While orzo is cooking, to a large skillet add 3 tablespoons olive oil, onions, and cook for about 3 minutes; stir intermittently.
  • Add the chicken, season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, oregano, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through; flip and stir frequently to ensure even cooking.
  • Add the garlic, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Transfer the chicken, onions, and any cooking juices to the large pot with the drained orzo.
  • Add the spinach (looks like a lot but it will wilt) and stir to incorporate. Stir for about 2 minutes, or until it begins to wilt.
  • Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and stir well to incorporate.
  • Add the feta and stir to combine. Tip – If you want the feta to remain more intact, don’t add it until the chicken and orzo have cooled down a bit, or it will melt, which is totally fine, you just won’t see the white crumbles.
  • Taste, and as desired, add additional salt. I added an additional approximately 2 teaspoons because it’s a very large quantity of orzo, chicken, and vegetables.
  • If desired, drizzle in additional olive oil. I recommend another approximately 2 tablespoons for both flavor and so that the orzo doesn’t stick as it cools. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Recipe can be served warm or chilled.
  • Extra will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and I froze the leftovers, noting that the texture of the vegetables does change upon thawing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 388kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 977mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Recipes Using Orzo: 

ALL OF MY PASTA SALAD RECIPES!

Chicken Orzo 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!!

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!!

Basil Lemon Orzo and Vegetables — An EASY recipe ready in 30 minutes that makes it easy to eat your veggies while enjoying the comforts of pasta, too!! The lemon and basil make the dish taste fresh and light!!

Lemon Basil Orzo and Vegetables - An EASY vegan recipe ready in 30 minutes that makes it easy to eat your veggies while enjoying the comforts of pasta, too!! The lemon and basil make the dish taste fresh and light!!

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!!

Lemon Chicken Soup – Learn to make this EASY Greek lemon chicken soup (avgolemono) at home! Made in one bowl and ready in just about 30 minutes, this creamy and comforting soup can be made with either orzo or rice. It’s rich and luscious without being thick or heavy thanks to the burst of lovely fresh lemon flavor!

Originally published May 13, 2019 and republished July 7, 2021 with updated text.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    The whole family really enjoyed this lemony chicken. I had rice instead of the orzo and zucchini instead of cucumber. It does make a lot, but we’ll enjoy having it for lunch tomorrow.

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review, Peggy, and I am glad this was a winner with rice and zucchini. And yes, it’s great for lunch the next day!

  2. 5 stars
    The Greek Lemon Chicken with orzo was outstanding!! I did use extra lemon juice and drizzled with garlic evoo as well. Everyone wanted it now and some to take for lunch tomorrow!!. Makes alot but that is a good thing!! I like sous vide so I will make chicken sous vide and then add in. Rotissierie Chicken would be good and quick, but not as healthy!

  3. 5 stars
    The Greek Lemon Chicken with orzo was outstanding!! I did use extra lemon juice and drizzled with garlic evoo as well. Everyone wanted it now and some to take for lunch tomorrow!!. Makes alot but that is a good thing!! I like sous vide so I will make chicken sous vide and then add in. Rotissierie Chicken would be good and quick, but not as healthy!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad it was outstanding! This does make a lot but it’s always popular for lunches the next day and keeps really well in the fridge, too.