One Pot Orzo Pasta with Chicken, Sundried Tomatoes, and Spinach is wholesome, easy to make, and bursting with crave-worthy flavors. This healthy 20-minute meal is perfect for busy weeknights and dinner parties alike!
This easy orzo pasta recipe is a busy mom’s dream. Easy to make, healthy, and delicious—the trifecta! Add in the fact that it takes just 20 minutes to make and you’ve got yourself the ultimate family dinner. Serving for one? The leftovers can serve as quick and easy lunches all week long.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of doing dishes. That’s one of the many reasons why one-pot meals are so darn appealing to me. Only one dish to wash? Count me in.
One Pot Orzo is made with flavorful ingredients including chicken breast, orzo, chicken broth, white beans, baby spinach, sundried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil. It’s a powerhouse of rich, savory, fresh, and vibrant flavors, all cooked in one glorious pot. We also love this Lemon Orzo with Broccoli and Roasted Vegetable Orzo.
You can serve this dish on its own or pair it alongside some Two Ingredient Dough Breadsticks for the ultimate pasta night. No matter how and when you choose to serve this dish, it guarantees to be the star of any dinner table. Try it out for yourself and see!
To make this delicious one-pot orzo recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:
- Chicken breasts: Make sure to use boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Chicken thighs also work. For a vegetarian one-pot dish, feel free to leave the chicken.
- Garlic: Fresh is best, so I highly recommend sticking to fresh garlic if you can. Otherwise, garlic powder will work in a pinch.
- Chicken broth: To keep the sodium low in this dish, I prefer to use low-sodium chicken broth. However, regular chicken broth and vegetable broth will both work fine as well.
- Orzo: If you don’t have orzo or simply want to try something else, feel free to use your favorite small type of pasta. Some of my top choices include ditalini or pastina. However, you will need to adjust the cooking time to match the pasta you are cooking.
- Cannellini beans: These beans have a nutty, earthy flavor that tastes great with the other flavors of this dish. They also add a hearty dose of protein and fiber. Chickpeas also work or you can skip the beans entirely.
- Baby spinach: If six cups of spinach sound like a lot to you, just wait until it cooks down! If you only have frozen spinach, that works as well. Just make sure ro defrost it first and squeeze out any excess moisture.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: I recommend using the kind that come packed in oil with herbs, as this infuses a ton of wonderful flavor into the already-delicious sun-dried tomatoes. Drained diced tomatoes would also work.
- Fresh basil: While you can use a different herb if you’d like (parsley works well), it’s absolutely essential to stick to fresh herbs. They add tons of flavor to this incredible dish.
What is orzo pasta? How do you cook orzo?
Orzo is a small pasta that is oval-shaped and resembles rice. It is classified as a “pastina” or little pasta in Italy and is made from semolina flour. It is popular in soups, grain bowls, pasta salads, pasta dishes, and other recipes where a smaller pasta works better.
Generally speaking, orzo can be cooked in two ways. It can be cooked just like any pasta in boiling salted water. It takes 8-10 minutes.
Orzo can also be cooked like rice, where the orzo absorbs the liquid it cooks. This results in a delicious creamy texture since the starch remains. For this preparation, you will want 2 cups of liquid for 1 cup of orzo. Cook for 8-12 minutes, stirring frequently to keep the orzo from sticking.
Recipe Tips and Variations
Here are some of my top tips and tricks to help you make this dish:
- The liquid is flexible. If your liquid evaporates before your orzo has finished cooking, don’t be afraid to add some more! I’ve always found 3 cups of broth to be the sweet spot, but you can absolutely add more if needed. The chicken broth turns into a creamy sauce for this dish, so don’t be afraid to add a little extra if needed. It shouldn’t be dry. Add about two tablespoons of liquid at a time.
- Stir. Make sure you remember to stir your orzo frequently to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Adjust the cooking time if needed: Taste the orzo as it cooks and increases the cooking time if needed until it is al dente.
- White wine. If you’re feeling fancy, try replacing some of the chicken broth with white wine. Alcohol helps release flavor molecules in other foods, meaning the flavors of this dish will be enhanced.
- Dried herbs. If you can’t get your hands on any fresh herbs, you can use dried basil instead. Just make sure to reduce the amount by half.
- Finish with lemon: To add some brightness to the final dish, finish with some fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Add more veggies: This dish works great with extra veggies. Consider adding some red peppers, zucchini, red onion, fresh cherry tomatoes, or summer squash.
- Add a garnish: Kick up the flavor even more by adding some kalamata olives, pine nuts, capers, sliced lemons, fresh parsley, red pepper flakes, or extra parmesan cheese.
How to Serve Orzo Pasta
This One Pot Chicken and Orzo is the perfect healthy weeknight dinner. Because it has all the components of a balanced meal — grains, veggies, and protein — this dish stands up brilliantly on its own.
If you’re looking for something more, here are some of my favorite dishes to serve with this dish:
- Bread. Bread is the classic pasta accompaniment and this delicious orzo dish is no different. I recommend serving this orzo dish with garlic bread, toasted sourdough, or classic breadsticks.
- Salad. If you’re looking to incorporate some more greens into your dinner, then serving this orzo alongside a side salad is a great choice. Some of my top choices include my Easy Arugula Salad, Easy Spring Mix Salad, and Cucumber, Avocado, and Tomato Salad.
Leftovers and Storage Tips
Looking to store leftovers of this healthy one-pot meal? No problem. Once the dish has cooled, transfer it to an airtight storage container. Then, you can store it in one of two ways:
- In the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
- In the freezer for up to 2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:
This orzo recipe is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals from the addition of lots of veggies, beans, and chicken. However, because orzo is fairly high in carbs, it’s still important to consume this dish in moderation. As long as you do that, this meal makes a perfectly healthy addition to any diet.
Reheating leftovers of this healthy dish is a breeze. All you have to do is place them in a microwave-safe container and reheat in 1 minute intervals until warm. Alternatively, you can reheat leftovers on medium heat over the stove until warmed through. If the dish looks dry, add a splash of chicken broth.
While sun-dried tomatoes add a ton of flavor to this dish, you can certainly use canned diced tomatoes in their place if that’s what you have at home. Keep in mind this will alter the flavor and texture of the dish, but it will still be delicious.
One Pot Orzo Pasta with Chicken
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- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped (1-inch pieces)
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth (more if needed)
- 8 oz orzo (whole wheat or or regular, or small pasta)
- 14 oz canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
If you prefer to make this as an orzo side dish, leave out the chicken.
Make sure to stir the orzo frequently after removing the cover from the pot so it doesn't stick together. If the mixture becomes too dry, add more broth or water adding 2 tbsp at a time.
This dish can be made with shrimp as well. Just make sure to add the shrimp right before serving so it doesn't overcook.
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