Lemony orzo salad with rotisserie chicken, tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese is an excellent light dinner (that makes fabulous lunch leftovers)!
This is your answer to the post-holiday slump and to all the New Years hopes for lighter eating with great taste. It’s a super simple - and fast - recipe to throw together, it's all kinds of healthy and it has BIG flavor.
I took this orzo salad to a friend of mine a few months ago who had just had twins. A group of us went up to visit, take dinner (and some extras) and help out. Those were two precious little girls I got to hold and love on.
How quickly you forget how tiny they are! Or maybe it’s because my “baby” (age 2), J, is such a big boy. I don’t know why I lift weights when he’s always in my arms...
Later that week, the new mama emailed me and said they had eaten the entire batch of this orzo chicken salad in a couple of days. She said they were eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner; couldn’t get enough! That’s new parents for you - your energy is low, your appetite is huge and you will shovel anything into your mouth with a free hand whenever you can.
Now I don’t know about breakfast, but this lemony orzo salad with chicken and goat cheese makes a fabulous light dinner and the leftovers will garner you some serious lunch envy at the office. Or among your Instagram friends if you’re chowing down at home and happen to pause to snap a picture. (Come follow me and tag me if you do! I love to see your creations!) I do more plowing through this than pausing, but that’s just me 😉
Those twin baby girls are growing up fast and I can’t wait to go back for a visit. (And I know what I’ll be bringing!)
Enjoy the rest of the holiday season, and I’m wishing you a happy, healthy New Year!
- 1 lb. orzo pasta (whole wheat preferably)
- 2 zucchini, diced small
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 3 cups diced leftover cooked or rotisserie chicken
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- Cook the orzo according to package directions.
- Chop the zucchini and place it in a large bowl. Once the orzo is ready, drain it and add it on top of the zucchini (which helps soften the raw zucchini just slightly). Add the zest and juice of the lemon on top of the hot orzo (the heat enhances the flavor and smell).
- Add the chicken, tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well to combine. Add the goat cheese and stir to combine, being careful not to break it up too much.
- You can add in some reserved cooking liquid if needed to help all the ingredients meld together.
- Serve and enjoy! Leftovers are great cold, too.
If you don’t have any leftover or rotisserie chicken, you can sprinkle 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt and pepper, paprika and a little garlic powder then bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes, then slice and dice and it’s ready to go.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 775Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 1166mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 5gSugar: 14gProtein: 63g