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Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken

This Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken is quick, easy, and absolutely scrumptious. It’s the ultimate spring-summer dinner; light yet incredibly tasty. It’s an instant hit you can count on.

lemon basil orzo with chicken

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

Lemons 2

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.

orzo pasta with chicken

Recipe Variations

  • 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 chicken

Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken

5 from 21 reviews

This Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken is quick, easy, and absolutely scrumptious. It’s the ultimate spring-summer dinner; light yet incredibly tasty. It’s an instant hit you can count on.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins

Yield: 4

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 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
  • 1/2 cup freshly torn basil leaves
  • Garnish: Lemon wedges, more parmesan, extra basil leaves

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 675
  • Sugar: 6.5 g
  • Sodium: 450.4 mg
  • Fat: 18.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 57.5 g
  • Protein: 67.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 195.1 mg
  • Author: Chew Out Loud
  • Category: main, dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Kitchen Essentials:

Spring-Summer Pasta Perfection:

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2. No-Cook Tomato Garlic Sauce with Pasta

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3. Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken

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4. Bruschetta (Tomato Basil) Pasta

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Did you make this?

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Recipe rating

39 comments

    • Levi

    Amazing dish even my son loved it.

    • Levi

    Amazing dish everyone enjoyed it.

    • Hailey

    This was one of my favorite dinners I’ve ever made! Definitely recommend!

      • Amy Dong

      Awesome, Hailey!

    • Stefanie

    So fresh and easy!

      • chewoutloud

      Glad you loved it!

    • Frank DeFranco Jr

    Made this for a “we all got the Covid vaccine” family get together…. with fresh same day harvested garlic and basil, and everyone was distraught when there wasn’t enough for a sixth helping. Don’t think about it, make this recipe!!!!!! Outstanding!!!!! (from a 100% American-Sicilian cook). It’s the real deal!

      • chewoutloud

      There’s nothing better than fresh garlic and basil 🙂 So glad everyone loved this dish, Frank!

    • Mojoblogs

    I love chicken and I love discovering new and unique recipes. Thank you for sharing this! I can’t wait to try this!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you!

    • Weezer

    Another hit!

    • Vanessa

    Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?

      • chewoutloud

      Vanessa, it keeps well…Airtight container in fridge 🙂

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