A tasty, healthy pasta recipe with chicken, orzo, and plenty of vegetables. This Mediterranean Chicken Orzo recipe is a wonderful weeknight dinner everybody will love.
My Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup is one of the most popular soup recipes on the blog so you clearly love chicken and you love orzo. Clearly, it was time to whip up another recipe with these amazing ingredients.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Orzo – you can use any other “pastina” (little pasta) in this dish. The best substitutions would be Ditalini, Stelline, or even small elbow Macaroni. I’ve also made this exact same Mediterranean Chicken Recipe with farro before and it’s incredible!
Chicken – I prefer using boneless skinless chicken thighs because they cook fast and have so much flavor. You can however also use bone-in skin-on thighs or chicken breasts if you prefer.
Vegetables – For this particular Chicken Orzo recipe I love using raw veggies (technically/botanically fruits but to me they’re veggies). I’m already using a big pot for the orzo and a pan for the chicken. Let’s keep it simple and not get another pan or pot dirty for the veggies. Just chop up some tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as parsley, and be done with it.
Parmesan cheese – Adding cheese is optional but I highly recommend it. It gives the recipe the extra umpf! Either Parmesan or feta cheese. Parmesan cheese is better though.
Olives – I know, not everybody’s favorite. Not a big olive fan myself, however, in this Chicken Orzo it’s super mega delicious. It just fits in so well. If you are not a big olive fan I recommend the green little pimento-stuffed olives. If you absolutely can’t stand olives add capers instead.
Seasoning – We have so much going on in this recipe in terms of flavors and textures that I like to keep it simple with the seasoning. Chicken seasoning is all you need for the chicken. Olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper is all you need for the orzo and veggies.
What Is Orzo?
For those of you unfamiliar with orzo, it’s just a small rice-shaped pasta. Regular simple white pasta. You will find it in the pasta isle in any major grocery store.
Some brands are a little bigger and flatter, some are rounder and smaller. I love the ones from the De Cecco pasta brand. They seem to be the masters of itty pitty pasta shapes.
How To Cook Orzo
You cook it just like any other type of pasta. Bring a large pot of salty water to a boil and once boiling add the pasta for 9-11 minutes depending on how al dente you like your pasta.
Tips and Tricks On How To Make The Best Chicken Orzo
Put a large wooden spoon over your pasta pot while cooking the orzo, this way the starch rises but won’t boil over. You can add the pasta, give it a quick stir, then place the spoon on top and set a timer. That way you can focus on chopping veggies without worrying you’ll have to blow on your pot to avoid the pasta water from boiling over.
Cut the veggies super small and use small olives so when you take a bite of your finished Mediterranean Chicken Orzo you get a little bit of everything onto your fork. Total flavor explosion.
Add a mix of olive oil and butter to your pan to fry the chicken. The mix of both gives so much flavor and a beautiful brown crust on the chicken.
Don’t forget to add the pan juices to your dish in the end. It’s the best part.
How To Store Mediterranean Chicken Orzo Leftovers
You can store this safely in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. The cucumber will start to become a bit soggy over time but not too bad. This means you could even make this as meal prep recipe.
Can I Freeze Leftovers Of This Chicken Orzo?
Unfortunately, because the recipe has raw veggies, it’s not suitable for freezing. If you want to make a Chicken Orzo for freezing I recommend using carrots and bell pepper as veggies and sauteeing them in a little olive oil. Leave the olives out and only add them when serving.
Mediterranean Chicken Orzo
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs - 4-5 large
- 1/4 red onion
- 1 English cucumber
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup green olives
- 1 Tbsp chicken seasoning / poultry seasoning
- 1 tsp butter
- 2.5 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon
- sea salt
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot, then salt the water and add orzo pasta for 9-11 minutes or until cooked al dente.
- Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Once hot add butter and a drizzle of olive oil and once the butter is melted add chicken and season generously with chicken seasoning. Fry the chicken for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and season the other side with chicken seasoning and brown the other side for 6-8 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165F internal temperature.
- In the meantime, cut the cucumber and tomatoes into small dice, chop the parsley finely, chop the red onion, and grate the Parmesan. Add these ingredients to a big bowl and once the orzo is finished cooking, strain it and add it to the vegetables into the big bowl.
- Season the pasta and vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, the juice of one lemon and sea salt and pepper to taste and toss until well combined.
- Serve the orzo veggies mix with a piece of chicken and a few olives.