This warm orzo salad is simple and easy to throw together for those busy work weeks when you need a quick, healthy lunch! It’s loaded with orzo, spinach, Parmesan, walnuts and rosemary thyme seasoned chicken breast then drizzled with a simple grilled lemon vinaigrette.
One batch will make a week’s worth of lunches so you can prep once and you’re set for the week!
How do I make a warm orzo salad with chicken and spinach?
You’ll boil the orzo pasta until al dente, then drain it and immediately combine it with the spinach so the spinach wilts a bit. You’ll season chicken breast with thyme and rosemary, then saute it so it gets a nice golden brown crust. Then put it all together with a handful of shredded Parmesan, chopped walnuts and a quick grilled lemon vinaigrette!
This is one of those meals that I really love because it requires very few ingredients and the flavor combination is simple and classic!
What is orzo? Is it rice or pasta?
As you can see, orzo looks just like large grains of rice so it’s easy to see where the confusion comes from. However orzo is in fact pasta! It’s made the same way your other favorite noodles are made – with flour and water.
So it tastes like regular pasta, it just has a smaller shape which gives it a slightly different mouth feel.
Can I use another kind of pasta instead of orzo?
You sure can. I personally love the texture of orzo, but you could literally use any kind of pasta that you have on hand.
Whole wheat pasta would be a great way to add more fiber to this dish. Spaghetti or linguine noodles would also add a little more luxury to this dish as well. Quinoa would be a delicious substitute for the pasta too!
Do I have to serve this salad warm?
Nope! In the summer time I like to make this salad and serve it at room temp or even cold, straight from the fridge. But during the winter months (so basically half the year here in Wisconsin) when I want to eat a warm meal but have about .5 seconds to make it, I always reach for this warm orzo salad.
This warm orzo salad is simple and easy to throw together for those busy work weeks when you need a quick, healthy lunch!
- 16 oz. orzo pasta
- 16 oz. chicken breast, cut into tenders
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling cooked pasta
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 4 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1 recipe grilled lemon vinaigrette
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook orzo pasta according to package directions until al dente.
- Season chicken tenders with rosemary, thyme, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
- Cook the chicken in two batches, heating 1/2 the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.
- Saute the first batch of chicken, cooking each side for about 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
- Add remaining oil to the pan and cook last batch of chicken tenders in the same fashion.
- While the chicken is cooking, drain water from orzo and stir fresh spinach, a drizzle of olive oil an and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
- To assemble, create a bed of orzo and spinach, then slice chicken breast and place on top. Sprinkle with Parmesan and walnuts, then drizzle with grilled lemon vinaigrette.
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