Chicken Orzo Salad

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Another Friday is here. Time really seems to fly so fast. Did you have a 2013 Bucket List? Have you been peeping at it and checking off the things you’ve done so far? I didn’t have one this year, but I had one major goal and that was to start this blog and here I am writing my 26th post. I hope I’ll be able to write my 1000th post in the next four years. Watch this space!

Yesterday, I watched a past Ellen DeGeneres show. There was this old but young-at-heart lady, Edythe Kirchmaier, who had celebrated her 105th birthday and was being interviewed by Ellen. And guess what? she had renewed her driving license that morning, and had never had a driving ticket. She also said that she enjoyed her iPod and iPad and is still on Facebook!

Her secret: be happy, don’t worry about things you can’t do anything about and be positive, at all times.  If your glass is always half empty, it’s time to have it half full. That made me reminisce about the youthful days when we used to say, “may you live to blow 101 candles!”  Did you ever write that on a birthday card?

After watching this young-at-heart lady, I decided, I must start eating healthy food, so I made some Orzo salad for lunch, but because I am such a ‘carnivore’ I added some chicken pieces in it. Makes it taste much better. I don’t know if I can ever be a vegetarian, it must take a lot of will power and determination. To all vegetarians, I salute and admire you!!!

I want to thank you so much for reading this post, please do come back again and if possible, bookmark this website. You are also welcome to leave a comment. Now for the Chicken-Orzo salad, enjoy!

Chicken Orzo Salad

Preparation time: 20 minutes; Serves: 4-6


  • 150g (1 cup) uncooked orzo
  • 1 cup skinned, shredded, boneless rotisserie or boiled chicken breast, or left over chicken
  • ½ cup English cucumber, diced
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced 
  • ½ cup orange bell pepper, diced
  • ⅓ cup (spring) green onions, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional) or any other cheese as suggested below.

Ingredients for Lemon Dressing 

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or lime rind (Zest)
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic (you can also substitute garlic with thyme or add both)
  •  kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook the orzo in plenty of salted water, according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place in a large bowl.
  2. For the lemon dressing:  combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, lemon or lime rind (zest) and crushed garlic. Shake well to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Adjust seasoning, if required.
  3. Drizzle lemon dressing over orzo, toss to combine.
  4. Add the chicken, diced cucumber, chopped red and yellow bell peppers, green onions, and basil, toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with Feta cheese, if using, or any other preferred cheese as suggested below.

Please note

  • I prefer to add salt to the Orzo, at the cooking stage, it gives it a better taste.  You can omit salt if you wish. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta.
  • Cheese variations: you can substitute Feta for crumbled goat cheese, or Parmigiano Reggiano.
  • Salad variations: instead of cucumber you can use zucchini (courgette) or fresh asparagus spears.
  • You can also add grapes or cherry tomatoes, olives, fresh baby spinach or use whole-wheat orzo.
  • Herb variations: parsley, mint, basil, dill or any other of your choice,
  • Last Updated: 03 June 2019

Step By Step Photos

Always remember to assemble all ingredients before you start. It makes everything go much faster! Start by cooking the Orzo, according to package instructions. I always add some salt at this stage, if you prefer not to add salt, that ‘s okay, it’s a matter of personal choice.

Lemon Orzo Salad_6614

For the lemon dressing:  combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, lemon or lime rind (zest) and crushed garlic. Shake well to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Adjust seasoning, if required.

Lemon Orzo Salad_6609

The mixture should look cloudy. Keep it in the fridge.

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Ingredients for the rest of the salad

Lemon Orzo Salad_6623

Once the Orzo is cooked, drained in cold water and cooled, drizzle the lemon dressing over it. Toss to coat the dressing.

Lemon Orzo Salad_6628_2

Now add the chicken, diced cucumber, chopped red and orange capsicum (bell peppers), green onions and basil. Toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chicken Orzo Salad_6631

If  you like, crumble some Feta, Goat Cheese or shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, on the salad. I didn’t have any suitable cheese that day so I didn’t add any.

Lemon Orzo Salad_6658

Serve. I ate mine as a complete meal for lunch because I added chicken to it!

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Lemon Orzo Salad_6655

Last Updated: 03 June 2019

Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

26 thoughts

    1. […] I came across a succulent and salubrious Chicken Orzo Salad recipe developed by Liz at My Favourite Pastime. This dish reminded me of Abba’s beloved […]

      Thank you for reminding me that one time, one day I made this lovely Orzo Salad. I must make myself some warm Orzo Salad some time this week. Have a lovely week!!!

  1. Hi, Liz. I am adoring this recipe – and your healthful cooking and lifestyle goals. I can surely relate. This dish reminds me of one that my husband and I made often in our younger days ( Back when he had time to hang out in the kitchen with me. 😉 Your beautiful addition of colorful peppers to the white orzo is glorious. Pinning this now! 🙂 Have a lovely weekend.

    1. Hi Shanna,
      Thank you for all the pins.I have seen several of them and I really appreciate your effort. Thanks for showing me the shrimp version of the Orzo. I like it very much and I love the colourful one on your blog too. Have a wonderful week.
      Best wishes!

      1. Oh, Liz, I am sort of obsessed with all of your recipes. I am pinning them out of a little pure selfishness – I want to save them all – and of course out of a desire to share My Favourite Pastime with the world. Thank you for the compliments – and inspiration – on the orzo. 🙂 Stay warm and take care!

        1. Hi Shanna,
          Thanks so much for pinning. I truly appreciate your effort. I can’t remember when I last visited Pinterest. Life gets so complicated for me, sometimes. Thanks for loving my recipes. I love yours too. Xoxo to the two taste tasters…

    1. Ha ha, all those fancy pasta names confuse me as well, sometimes. I had to borrow a book on pasta from the local library in order to acquaint myself. Some of them I can’t even pronounce like “Conchiglie” I tried pronouncing it the whole day yesterday and gave up. Now I just talk about shells. Makes my life easy. Have a wonderful weekend! and thanks for visiting me.

  2. Hi really liked your entry about the old lady still driving and on face book at 105! This looks like a fab recipe for summer!

    1. Thank you so much for reading my post. I really appreciate that you took you time to read it. The Orzo is one of my favourites coz I love pepper and chicken, and lemon. Yum. Have a pleasant day and a wonderful weekend!

      1. It was a pleasure! I recently found orzo in my local supermarket but have only used it in minestrone style soups so far. So it was interesting to see it being used for a salad dish! Will certainly be trying it soon-especiallyas I love use of lemon for salad dressings.

        1. Thanks for checking on the message you left here. I appreciate. The Orzo salad is very nice and I like mine best with some chicken in it and its easy to make. Enjoy the salad if you do try it and thanks so much for being here several times. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    1. I serve it as a cold salad, later. I have to indicate this in the recipe. Thanks for asking, I shall check my instructions now. It tastes wonderful too. Thanks for stopping by and for asking. Have a wonderful week!

  3. I am not one for salads. But this one I absolutely loved. It had a little bit of pasta ( which I love ), some peppers and some chicken. I enjoyed that it was a filling salad not one you would have before your lunch.

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