A quick totally fabulous dinner, this baked chicken and orzo salad is a great weekday meal that can be put together in 30 minutes. Do yourself a favor, and get a rotisserie chicken from your favorite outlet. In Billings, I personally like the chickens from Costco. They’re perfectly seasoned, plump and juicy, and can serve a family of four for five bucks.
I like to hold onto the carcass and all the juices to make chicken stock. It is so flavorful!
This orzo salad recipe that can be served as a side dish, or with more greens, a salad, or with diced chicken you’ll have a satisfying lunch or main dish.
I still have tomatoes in the garden, and this was an awesome way to use them up. You can read the original recipe for Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Spinach and Feta at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I’ll repeat the recipe here with a few minor changes. I halved the recipe; it’s just for Richard and me. We have plenty of leftovers I intend to serve today with more baby spinach and argula along side some baby back BBQ ribs. So, if there are 2 or 3 of you, half the recipe will be plenty.
- For the vinaigrette:
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup olive oil
- For the salad:
- 12 oz orzo pasta
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 2 whole tomatoes, cut into eighths, or diced
- 4 Tablespoons fresh chives or green onions, thinly sliced (a finely diced red onion would work, too)
- 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (or 1½ teaspoons dried basil)
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
- Mix together the ingredients for the viniagrette. Season with a pinch or two of salt and pepper. I like to put the dressing ingredients in a mason jar, shake it into submission, and let it set aside until ready to use.
- In a large saucepan, bring the water and chicken stock to a boil. Add the orzo and cook according to package directions. Mine took 9 minutes.
- Drain the orzo in a colander. Do not rinse, Pour into a bowl. Fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
- While the orzo is cooling, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat. Once the pine nuts begin to brown and become fragrant, remove them from the heat and allow to cool. The toasting process won't take long, so keep an eye on the pine nuts.
- To the cooled orzo, add the tomato, feta, chives or green onions, arugula or spinach. (I found an organic package of mixed baby arugula and baby spinach greens-yum!)
- Pour over ½ of the vinaigrette. Toss to distribute the dressing, vegetables and orzo. Check for seasoning, and add a little salt and pepper, if needed.
- Serve the orzo salad at room temperature. You can add more vinaigrette, if the pasta sticks or if you simply want more.
Leftovers may be refrigerated. You may want to add more vinaigrette when ready to eat.