Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken
If you love a classic lemon and basil flavor profile, you’re in for a delightful surprise. This Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken tastes like a bowl of bright flavors; it takes about 40 minutes to go from pantry to dinner table.
Whether you’re growing basil in your herb garden, or whether you just want a reason to use fresh basil…get ready enjoy all that flavor. Ditto on the lemons — don’t let those lemons go without trying this tasty dinner first.
This dish is the ultimate happy spring-summer dinner. Easy. Quick. Tasty. Healthy.
You’ll wonder how Healthy can taste this good…
what is Orzo, and How Do I Use it?
If you’ve never cooked with orzo before, you’re in for a treat. If it’s been awhile since you’ve cooked orzo, now’s the time to rekindle that flame.
Orzo is a mini rice-shaped semolina pasta. It resembles barley or rice grains, but it’s actually little morsels of pasta made out of white flour or whole grain flour. Because orzo pasta is pint-sized, it not only cooks faster than other pasta shapes, but it also is much quicker than rice. (That is, unless you make Instant Pot Brown Rice, which levels the playing field.)
Orzo is generally not gluten-free, though you may be able to source a gluten-free version of orzo nowadays. Orzo is quite possibly the most adorably fun pasta there ever was. Not to mention, it’s super fun to eat.
Paired with a zesty bright lemon sauce, plenty of garlic, basil, and tender chicken to create a ridiculously fantastic meal.
- This dish can be an amazing meatless option; simply opt out of the chicken.
- Add a sprinkle of roasted sliced almonds or other nuts/seeds on top for texture and protein, particularly if you’re going the meatless route.
- If you love fresh herbs, feel free to add a pinch of freshly chopped parsley, oregano, or chives to your finished dish
- Grilled or sautéed shrimp would work beautifully in this dish, in place of chicken
- We do recommend using dry white wine for best acidity and flavor, but you can sub with regular strength chicken broth if needed.
Try this One-Pot Gnocchi with Chicken, Too:
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Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken
- ½ lb dry orzo pasta
- 2 lbs chicken breast tenders
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 TB salted butter
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup freshly torn basil leaves
- Garnish: Lemon wedges, more parmesan, extra basil leaves
- In a pot of generously salted water, cook orzo just until al dente; don't overcook. Drain and toss with about 2 TB olive oil to prevent sticking. Keep warm.
- While pasta is cooking: pat dry the moisture from chicken tenders with paper towels. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Sprinkle evenly on both sides of chicken pieces.
- In a large skillet (not non-stick) add 4 TB olive oil over medium high heat. When oil is hot, cook chicken tenders just until no longer pink in center, about 2-3 min per side (depending on thickness of chicken.) Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
- In same used skillet, add the butter over medium high heat. Once melted, add garlic and onion, stirring 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add wine; deglaze pan by scraping bits loose with your spatula while the liquid cooks. Reduce liquid by half, about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice and turn off heat. Add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (1/4-1/2 tsp each.)
- Place cooked orzo in a large serving bowl; toss with freshly grated parmesan and onion/garlic mixture. Toss in basil leaves. Serve with chicken and garnish as desired.