This light and fresh salad is packed with fresh vegetables and bright flavors (hello lemon and dill), and while I love the addition of grilled chicken, you can also make it meatless if you prefer. The orzo pasta makes this salad hearty, but it stays light and fresh at the same time. This is a great meal-prep recipe as it stays good in the fridge for several days, and also really wonderful for luncheons and potlucks. It’s also very flexible, feel free to adjust the veggies and add things you enjoy or need to use up!
- Orzo – If you’ve never cooked with Orzo before, it’s a pasta that you can find in the regular pasta aisle. It usually comes in a small box, or you can buy it in bulk in a tub sometimes. The actual pasta pieces look like large grains of rice.
- Lemon Juice and Lemon Rind – Go with fresh lemon here, not jarred juice or dehydrated zest. The only product I recommend in place of fresh lemon, is True Lemon, which is crystallized fresh lemon and makes an excellent substitute!
- Dill – dried dill is just fine here, but I especially love the addition of fresh dill, which you can usually find with the other fresh herbs in the grocery store.
- Olive Oil – Use extra virgin olive oil. If you prefer a more neutral flavor, use light olive oil.
- Veggies- This recipe calls for red pepper, green onion, cucumber. If you have other vegetables you’d like to use up, feel free to substitute, it’s pretty flexible!
- Chicken– I usually grill chicken for this recipe. If I can plan ahead, we’ll grill chicken one night for dinner, and I’ll make extra to save for the next day for this salad. You could also grab a rotisserie chicken or use other leftovers, like grilled steak!
How To Make Lemon-Orzo Salad With Chicken
- Cook orzo according to package directions.
- While orzo is cooking, chop red pepper, cucumber and green onions and set aside.
- Put all dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake till combined.
- To assemble, combine all salad ingredients except feta in a bowl and toss with dressing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this ahead of time? Yes! Most pasta salads are best when they’ve had a chance to chillin in the fridge and flavors have really blended. They are great for meal prepping lunches for several days as well. Feel free to make this one day and enjoy it for several. Sometimes citrus juice loses it’s kick after a couple of days, so a fresh squirt of lemon juice before serving won’t hurt. You can mix the feta in when you make it initially, or simply sprinkle some on at serving time.
This salad is great on it’s own as a light meal. It would also make a great side dish if you leave the chicken out and serve alongside something like this Lemon-Garlic Herb Rubbed Chicken.
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Orzo pasta, veggies, and chicken are tossed in a lemony dressing in this light yet filling pasta salad.
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2-2 cups cooked shredded or diced boneless, skinless chicken
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or 1.5 teaspoons dried dill
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water until pasta feels cool to the touch. Drain and place in a medium sized salad bowl.
- While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, garlic, honey, and black pepper in a mason jar. If using dried dill, add that as well. Shake well to combine.
- Add chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, green onions, and dill (if using fresh) to pasta.
- Shake dressing immediately before drizzling on salad. Toss to combine. Add feta and gently toss again.
- You can eat it immediately, but I find it’s best if you can chill for 1-2 hours before serving.
- Serving Size: 1 1/4 cup
- Calories: 275
- Fat: 9.7g
- Protein: 18g
Keywords: Pasta, salad, vegetables, chicken breast