Lemony Chicken & Orzo Salad – Healthy Option!

Lemony Chicken & Orzo Salad

We’re back from our month in Hawaii and I’m increasing my focus on healthy eating! I spotted this recipe in the Kowalski’s magazine and thought I’d punch up the veggie factor to make a good thing even better. I agree with the chef’s comments that refreshing lemon, fresh herbs, and the crunch factor from nuts, are great additions to a salad. An array of veggies are another great way to add flavor. Your body wants them, and you can pick whatever your taste buds prefer!

One of the important things to keep in mind, is that most of us don’t get enough vegetables in our diet. Especially the variety of vegetables that supply the various nutrients and vitamins we need to be healthy and ward of disease. There’s a great little phrase which can help guide your veggie eating goals – Eat A Rainbow Everyday! I added broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and radishes to provide a nice color combo (and because that’s what I found in my frig!) Other options might include, zucchini, kale, red peppers – you name it. Just scan the produce aisle and select your favorite rainbow combination.

Lemony Chicken & Orzo Salad

Serving Size: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons, plus 1 1/2 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup orzo cooked according to package directions, drained (orzo is a small, rice-sized pasta)
  • 8 ounces cooked & cooled boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons chopped raw pepitas (I used roasted salted pepitas- FYI - pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced Italian parsley
  • freshly grated lemon zest from 1 lemon (2-3 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon finely minced rosemary
  • 1 thinly sliced green onion
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrots, about 2-3 inches long (I used baby carrots)
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes (red or yellow)
  • 1 thinly sliced large radish
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • In a medium mixing bowl, drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil over cooked orzo and toss to coat. Chill in the refrigerator, covered, until cold.
  • Blanch broccoli florets by placing them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute then draining them and placing immediately in an ice bath (aka a bowl of cold water and ice cubes.) After they've cooled, drain them and gently squeeze out excess water.
  • Chop chicken and add it along with the pepitas, herbs, lemon zest, veggies and green onions to the orzo and toss to combine. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. If you used salted pepitas, you may want to start with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and add up to 1/4 teaspoon more, if preferred. Toss the salad and serve immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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