Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Warm Chicken Orzo Salad

The original version of this recipe from Whole Foods' website called for it to be a cold salad with uncooked zucchini and grape tomatoes, but since I was out grilling the orange pepper, I figured I'd change it up a bit! This was another keeper for the recipe files so thought I'd share.

6 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (this was 3 medium size ones for me)
1 cup orzo
2 zucchini (I used 2 different varieties) (about 1 lb)
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
1 roasted red/orange/yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

(Note - to have everything warm/ready at the same time I prepped everything first so that the chicken and orzo were cooking at the same time and went out and grilled the veggies.)

Place 3 tablespoons of lemon juice and water in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. When water is barely simmering, add chicken, turn down to a medium simmer and cover pan. Cook for 15-18 minutes until cooked through (after 15 minutes I cut the breasts in half to make sure the insides were cooked and left it on a few more minutes. Remove from pan and shred or cut into pieces.

Cook orzo in rapidly boiling water until just tender (about 12 minutes).

Cut each zucchini in half. Trim top and bottom off of pepper, remove insides, cut into two large pieces for grilling. Put grape tomatoes on skewers. I then spray everything with a canola cooking spray. Grill veggies on a medium-high heat. Tomatoes grill very quickly so watch carefully, you don't want them falling apart, just barely roasted. After everything is grilled, slice zucchini and slice pepper into thin strips.

Combine cooked chicken, orzo, zucchini, grape tomatoes, baby spinach, roasted peppers and olives in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. The heat from the veggies, chicken and orzo will wilt the spinach just right! Add olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and toss to combine thoroughly. Serve and enjoy! Makes 6 servings, approx 300 calories each.


  1. Sounds delicious. Another one I'm gonna give a try.

  2. I can't wait to try this. It looks so yummy!