Lemon Orzo with Chicken

Funny thing about the small pasta shape called orzo: Although the word means “barley,” the pasta actually looks a lot more like rice.

Lemon Orzo with Chicken
Orzo is a common ingredient in Greek dishes, and you’ll detect Greek flavors in this speedy dinner dish: lots of fresh lemon, feta cheese, and fresh mint.

[quicklook-recipe prep_time=”15 min” cook_time=”15 min” serves=”4″ details=”” ]

Funny thing about the small pasta shape called orzo: Although the word means “barley,” the pasta actually looks a lot more like rice. And it’s fun to use orzo in recipes that would ordinarily be made with rice.

[ingredients-list title=”Ingredients” serving_size=””]

  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese


[step-list-wrapper title=”How to make it” time=”30 minutes”]
[step-item number=”1″ image_url=”” title=”” ]In large pot of boiling water, cook orzo according to package directions. Add frozen peas to orzo for last 10 seconds of cooking to heat them through. Drain. [/step-item]

[step-item number=”2″ image_url=”” title=”” ] Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are tender, about 2 minutes. Add chicken and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sauté until chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes. [/step-item]

[step-item number=”3″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Remove from heat. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and pepper to skillet, stirring to coat chicken. Add drained orzo with peas, mint, and feta cheese, and toss gently to combine. Recipe can be served hot, at room temperature, or chilled.[/step-item] [/step-list-wrapper]

Cook’s Clue
Never rinse pasta after it has been cooked. It is unnecessary because the starch that remains on the surface of the pasta acts as a natural thickener once the sauce is added. Rinising the pasta can cause it to stick together.

[cooking_tip]Substituting peas, beans, or lentils for some of the pasta in a dish has the added benefit of providing low-fat protein, heart-protective vitamins and minerals, and dietary fiber. The soluble fiber found in peas, beans, and lentils helps to reduce harmful LDL blood cholesterol levels.[/cooking_tip]

Round Out the Meal
Serve with arugula and sliced tomatoes sprinkled with cracked black pepper and extra-virgin olive oil. For dessert, try pineapple sorbet and sugar cookies.

[nutrition-info calories=”380″ calories_fat=”” fat=”8g” sat_fat=”2.5g” choles=”44mg” sodium=”514mg” carbs=”52g” sugars=”” protein=”25g” fiber=”4g”]


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest