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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:

  1. Skillet Shrimp Scampi Pasta
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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

Bruschetta Tomato Basil Pasta 2

Did you make this?

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Add a comment

Recipe rating

39 comments

    • Suzanne

    This looks so good! What a simple, flavorful weeknight meal idea!

    • Susan

    Loved the flavor and combination of lemon and basil! Definitely a keeper

    • Katie

    What can you replace the wine with?

      • chewoutloud

      Katie, you can use chicken broth. Hope you love it 🙂

    • Melody Meinhardt

    Used shrimp instead of chicken, added a tbsp of lemon zest.
    Delicious and easy!

      • chewoutloud

      Awesome, Melody! 🙂 🙂

    • Heidy

    Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken has just become one of my new favorite go-to recipes for a simple by delish dinner. Pinning so I don’t misplace this awesome recipe.

    • Sam

    I love a good orzo dish and the combination of lemon and basil with chicken sounds divine! Will be picking up some orzo to try this one this week. Can’t wait!

    • GUNJAN C Dudani

    I am yet to try orzo. I would like to know how does it taste and how is it different form the regular pasta.

    • Mama Maggie’s Kitchen

    I think I just heard my tummy growl. lol! Must print the Lemon Basil Orzo with Chicken recipe.

    • Jacqueline Debono

    I haven’t used orzo in a long time. Definitely need to change that. This sounds like the perfect summer recipe. I love lemon and basil together and they go so well with chicken!

    • veenaazmanov

    Love the Lemon Basil Orzo with chicken combination. SUper delicious. My Happy Meal option. Kids to feast on it.

    • veenaazmanov

    This is delicious. I love the Lemon Basil option too. Perfect Happy Meal for sure. My kids to love it.

    • Jen

    Great quick and easy weeknight meal. Added some extra spinach from the garden. Will definitely make again.

    • Paula Montenegro

    We love this recipe and it’s always a hit here! I found orzo not long ago and we’re hooked. Love the flavors of this dish, simple and everyone loves them, which is not always easy!

    • Marta

    You always have the best, wholesome recipes. This is a perfect option for me to make for lunch instead of boring-old sandwiches.

    • Ben

    I would eat my weight in that! The lemon and basil sounds delicious, and I love orzo. Yum.

    • Erica Leigh

    Any chance you have the approx calories per serving size for this dish?

    • Alex

    This is a weekly staple in our house and my husband’s favorite meal. It’s such a simple recipe, and so satisfying! My kitchen is always happy at the end, as there aren’t a million pots and pans when all is finished. Thanks for sharing!

      • chewoutloud

      That’s amazing, Alex! Thanks for coming back to let us know you guys liked this 🙂 🙂

    • Jenni

    This was a total hit tonight! I only changed a few things… I added some creole seasoning to the chicken only because we like a little spice and then I added some heavy whipping cream to the sauce mixture. Turned out amazing! Everyone had second helpings! We will definitely be making this again!

      • chewoutloud

      A bit of kick sounds awesome. So happy you guys loved it, Jenni! 🙂

    • Alice

    Are you supposed to drain the olive oil after cooking the chicken? I made this tonight and the orzo mixture definitely turned out weird

      • chewoutloud

      Hi, Alice! No draining should be needed after cooking chicken…be sure to fully pat-dry chicken prior to cooking. If chicken has excess water/moisture on it, it will not brown up well. Hope that helps!

    • Alexandra

    This is one of my favorite dinners to make for my family! It comes together so quickly. When we have leftover rotisserie chicken, I’ll just reheat that for the dish. We make this all year long!

      • chewoutloud

      I’m so glad you found a family-favorite with this dish, Alexandra! Yay!! 🙂

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