Sunday, February 28, 2016

Orzo Chicken Pasta Salad

Of all the starches available in Italian cuisine, orzo has always been my favorite. Perhaps because it reminds me of what my mom always made me when I was sick growing up (post here of that) or perhaps because it blends so strategically into so many dishes without overpowering the entire entree while simultaneously soaking up flavors like a champ. Whatever it is, I’ve long loved it and adore making to-go lunches that incorporate it. And this Orzo Chicken Pasta Salad is so easy and so legit:
Cast of Characters:

4 Chicken Tenders - cut into smaller squares
5 cups chicken broth
2 cups orzo
1 diced bell pepper
3/4 cup diced green onion
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced basil
1/2 cup diced mint leaves
Fresh Parmesan Shreds

1/2 cup wine vinegar (rice, red or white all work with slight variations based on your taste preference. I've made with rice and red numerous times. Always good regardless.)
Juice of 2 Lemons (about 1/4 a cup)
2 tsps. honey
2 tsps. salt
1 cup EVOO

To make vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse. 
Heat EVOO over medium-high heat, add cut chicken. Cover. Cook for about 12 minutes, stirring as needed until chicken is golden brown. Set aside. Stir orzo into a sauce pan with heated olive oil. Sauté until light brown. Add chicken stock and bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer until Orzo is tender and liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Put Orzo in large bowl and mix in the chicken. Add the bell pepper, green & red onion, chickpeas, grape tomatoes, basil & mint leaves. Mix in dressing and stir until saturated to taste. Top with parmesan and pine nuts.
I made it work lunch friendly by packing the pasta salad over ample amounts of spinach in a tupperware and securing the dressing in a separate container to mix at the office. I also packed yogurts and oats for breakfast + carrots and grapes with blueberries for snacks.
^Drank many of these while assembling lunches - Seltzer, mint, lemon juice and blueberries.

Happy eating!
 photo blog sign-off_zpsnuhefhbr.jpg


julie @ said...

Yummss!! I love orzo, definitely don't enough of it here. Saving this down!!

Jax said...

That looks absolutely fabulous!!!! I love orzo. My mom always called it Italian rice. Lol

Unknown said...

That looks SUPER yummy!

Pat Hatt said...

Chicken involved always works for me.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I adore orzo, especially in cold salads. Huge huge fan of the greek version of orzo salad. This looks great, good addition with the chickpeas.

Emily @ Martinis | Bikinis said...

Sounds delicious! I need to try this and that drink you make. Love those flavors blended together.

Kristen @ See You In A Porridge said...

mmmm orzo is the bomb. my mum makes this chicken dish that i can barely remember and have no idea how to make, but i have very fond memories of it. i might have to email her and ask for the recipe lol. i've never had it cold or in a salad type dish though, this looks great!

Ashley Lillis said...

This sounds and looks so delicious, not to mention that it's a great healthy alternative to other salads that are full of tons of calories! I love that you you just combine everything and have it ready to go for lunch at the office!

BLovedBoston said...

Such a light and airy recipe! I love Orzo! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

YUM! I want to make this right now! Such a great recipe just in time for spring <3
Green Fashionista

The Siberian American said...

I love orzo! You seriously make the most delicious food! (and your food photography is so amazing!)

Cara (Kindly Unspoken) said...

This looks delicious! Would be perfect for lunch!

Simple Luck Blog said...

This looks amazing! I love summer food. Light salads and grilled chicken. It's the best. Also, you're pictures are very beautiful.

Unknown said...

Wow these photos are so professional! Nice work!! :)