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Lemony Greek Orzo Salad with Chicken
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Lemony Greek Orzo Salad #festfoods

I am all about preparing simple and wholesome dishes, and this recipe is no exception! With fresh veggies and herbs, this pasta salad is the perfect dish for a summer potluck or quick lunch. On top of that, it has a punch of flavor with Kalamata olives and feta cheese, and the chicken packs enough protein to make it a meal! But the best thing about this dish is the lemony dressing. Using both the zest and juice of the lemon will give the intense lemon flavor that I expect with a Greek summer salad. Let’s get started! Lemony Greek Orzo Salad We will start by cooking the chicken and orzo. Place a small sauce pan of water on the stove on high heat. Preheat the oven to 375°F. While we wait for those, we will start the chicken. If your chicken breasts are varying thicknesses, place them in a plastic bag and even them out with a meat tenderizer. Mine are pretty much even, so I am skipping that step and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad Heat an oven-safe skillet to medium-high on the stove. Add the canola oil; when hot, place the chicken breasts in the pan. Allow to brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Place the pan with chicken in the oven for about 5 minutes. Check the chicken for doneness {internal temperature should reach 165°F}. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad When done, place on a plate and in to the refrigerator. When the water in your sauce pan is boiling, add the orzo. It takes about 5-6 minutes to cook. Orzo is often confused with rice, but it is pasta and can be found in the pasta aisle! I chose to use whole wheat for the added fiber. When it is cooked to al dente, drain and place in a bowl and in to the refrigerator. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

While the orzo and chicken cool off, we will focus on veggies and herbs! Some of my vegetables were already chopped, but I still need to chop onions, olives, dill and garlic. I chopped the onions on a diagonal just for a touch of fun, cut the olives in half lengthwise and pulled sprigs of dill off the stems. For the garlic, I used my handy-dandy garlic press {I don’t consider this cheating}. The veggies can just hang out until the chicken and orzo are ready. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Next, we will make the lemon dressing. Place the chopped garlic in a bowl. Zest a lemon using a microplane or zester. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Cut the lemon in half and juice it using a citrus juicer {or your hand}. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Whisk in the honey, then the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Taste the dressing before adding it to the salad; it may need adjusting. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

It’s time to assemble the salad! Place the orzo, red pepper, cucumber and ¾ of the feta in a bowl. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Chop or shred chicken breast in to the salad. You probably won’t need all the chicken; just about a cup {I will use the leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner}. Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Add the lemon dressing to the salad. Toss to coat. {Just a tip – Never add all of the dressing at once. Add a little at a time and taste - You don’t want your salad to drown!} Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Scoop the salad on to plates. Top with Kalamata olives, green onions, dill sprigs and the rest of the feta. Drizzle with a little olive oil {if you wish}! Serve as a refreshing summer meal! Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

Lemony Greek Orzo Salad

with Chicken

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

 Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • ½ lb. chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • ¼ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. black pepper, divided
  • ¾ cup whole wheat orzo
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • ½ seedless {English} cucumber
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh dill
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

 

Directions:

  1. Heat a sauce pan of water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add canola oil. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add chicken breasts to the pan. Allow to brown on each side for about 4 minutes. Place in oven for about 5 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°F. Place chicken breasts on a plate and in to the refrigerator.
  3. When water in sauce pan reaches a boil, add orzo. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Drain and place in a bowl and in to the refrigerator.
  4. Chop the bell pepper and cucumber in a small dice. Chop the green onion on a diagonal. Chop Kalamata olives in half lengthwise. Pull dill sprigs from the stem. Mince 3 cloves of garlic.
  5. Place garlic in a bowl. Zest a lemon using a microplane or zester in to the bowl. Cut lemon in half and juice in to the bowl. Whisk in honey and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set lemon dressing aside.
  6. Place cooked orzo, red bell pepper, cucumber and ¾ of the feta cheese in a bowl.
  7. Chop or shred chicken in bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl. Toss in lemon dressing.
  8. Place salad on plates and top with Kalamata olives, green onions, dill sprigs and the rest of the feta.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

 

Yield: 6 servings

Per Serving*: Calories 230, Total Fat 11g(Saturated 2g, Trans 0g), Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 400mg, Total Carbohydrate 18g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 4g), Protein 16g, Vitamin A 4%, Vitamin C 40%, Calcium 4%, Iron 4% *Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.

 

Have a question about nutrition? Our Mealtime Mentors would love to help! Reach out at AskFestivalDietitians.com or find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

Lemony Greek Orzo Salad  

Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.

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