Last week I had time to do some spring cleaning, which involved cleaning out the pantry and refrigerator. I was actually pretty proud that I didn’t have to throw much out! I guess we have been doing a good job of eating the food that we buy and reducing food waste this year! Some pantry items even got placed on the “use for a dinner creation” list.
Enter: Orzo. I don’t use orzo often, but it seems to pop up around this time of year in cold salads and I thought it would be perfect for a simple dinner meal. We also needed to grill up some chicken to have on hand this week for Bryan’s lunch sandwiches, and I thought that grilled chicken would be a nice addition to an orzo salad.
After a quick search, I found this grilled chicken orzo salad recipe that was perfect. The orzo serves as the base of this salad, and the added chicken gives protein staying power. Veggies like diced onions, tomatoes, and red bell pepper add flavors and nutrients to the profile of this salad. Arugula also adds a nutty and peppery punch. The light vinaigrette in combination with the herbs gives it a ton of flavor while also remaining light. Topped with small pieces of goat cheese, this salad is perfection. It is great for a light summer dinner and will make enough for you to have leftovers for lunch the next day!
Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
Adapted from Cooking Light
Yield: 4 servings
1 ¼ cups uncooked orzo (rice shaped pasta)
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breast
1 ½ cups trimmed arugula
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup diced red onion
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 ½ oz crumbled goat cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well.
2. Combine pasta, chicken, and the next 6 ingredients (through oregano) in a large bowl; toss well.
3. Combine vinegar, oil, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir well with a whisk. Drizzle vinegar mixture over pasta mixture; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.