Greek Orzo Pasta Salad With Chicken
This healthy Greek Orzo Pasta Salad with chicken is so easy to whip up, and it’s absolutely amazing when tossed in a light, refreshing lemon-honey and herb vinaigrette that’s packed with tons of flavor.
I know. I say that about every salad I make. But this is for real. A greek orzo pasta salad is basically this: freshly chopped delicate hothouse cucumbers, bursts of grape tomatoes, pungent kalamata olives, all tossed together in rice shaped pasta, and creamy, salty feta. Lately salads are my favorite way to eat my veggies. Mainly because I disguise (with emphasis on the “g” as my husband likes to pronounce it) the veggies behind robust dressings, crumbled cheeses, and pasta. You know, keepin’ it fresh. No pun intended.
I partly love this salad for the tangy, sweet, and bold homemade dressing. I could lick the bowl clean. It’s like a party in your mouth. No joke. Lemon-honey and herbs, whisked to get the perfect consistency of the dressing that sticks to the pasta.
I’m a person that gets on a food kick and gets obsessed for an unnatural amount of time. My most recent food kick? Muffins. Clearly, you’ve seen me popping out a recipe every week! I can’t stop.
I do that sometimes. Every year there are a couple foods I can’t stop eating. Before the muffins is was that slow cooker salsa chicken. I ate that chicken on tortillas, on top of nachos, and in a Chipotle style burrito bowl. It’s just a thing I do, get stuck on a food and consume it in every manner possible.
For this greek orzo pasta salad you’ll need a few main players. Players? I’ve been watching too much ice hockey. Woot, Blackhawks! Even though they lost the last game. 🙁
Back to the salad now. Let’s talk ingredients.
1.) Orzo pasta (shocking, isn’t it)
2.) Crumbled feta cheese – I like to use Nikos Mediterranean crumbled feta. It has amazing flavor built right in! flavors like tomato, basil, oregano, garlic, and lemon. Nikos also makes regular feta. But this salad is soo much better with the Mediterranean flavors.
3.) And lastly, grilled herb chicken. The marinade is a handful of ingredients that marry and create the most succulent, delicious chicken. You can grill this chicken on the grill, in a George Foreman (yay for Georgie), or just pan fry it. Quick. Easy.
4.) Lemon, honey, garlic, basil, dijon mustard, oregano, and olive oil vinaigrette. → Flavor packed dressing. Told you so.
Disclosure: I received product from Nikos for this post. I have not received any monetary compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.
For the chicken:
- 1 lb. of uncooked chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon EACH: Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, smoked sweet paprika, sea salt AND garlic powder
For the salad:
- 2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
- 2 persian cucumbers, quartered then thinly chopped
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta (such as Nikos Mediterranean Feta)
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoon country dijon (coarse grain)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5 basil leaves, chopped
- sea salt + pepper
- to make the chicken: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl or a ziplock. Toss to coat the chicken evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes while you prepare the pasta.
Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, George Foreman, or in a skillet. Let rest for 5 minutes before dicing.
- To make the dressing: In a mason jar or 2 cup measuring cup, combine all ingredients. Use a whisk or cap the mason jar and give it a good shake until all ingredients are completely combined.
- To make the salad: Prepare the pasta according to package directions. In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients and using a rubber spatula, mix all ingredients together. Add the grilled chicken to the salad. When ready to serve, toss the salad with the dressing. Serve immediately.
* All components of the salad can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated in individual containers. Toss the salad in the dressing when ready to serve.