This Lemon Garlic Chicken and Orzo Pasta is so light and so delicious. With a hint of spice from the garlic and red pepper flakes complemented perfectly by the bright tanginess of the lemon juice, this is a flavor-packed meal that won’t disappoint!
Well, folks, I am officially in love with orzo pasta. It looks like rice, but tastes like pasta and the texture is amazing! It’s so tender and smooth and makes the perfect base for this lemon garlic and chicken orzo pasta recipe!
I mean, come on. Chicken? And pasta? With lemon? AND garlic? I’ll have that for every meal, thanks!
Is orzo rice or pasta?
Orzo is a small, flat, oval-shaped pasta that, because of its small size, takes very little time to cook. It is prepared like any other pasta—just boiled in water and drained!
It really does look like a grain of rice, so tons of people think that it’s actually more similar to rice than pasta. Who knew?
It’s incredibly quick to make, and SUPER easy to incorporate into any pasta dish, so be sure to check out my other orzo recipes.
What are some of your favorite orzo recipes? Let me know in the comments below!
This recipe requires just 10 ingredients, all very accessible, making this quick to throw together to make this delicious well-rounded meal!
- Orzo Pasta – the perfect base for this recipe. The smooth, slick texture is a nice contrast to the hearty chicken. Feel free to use another short pasta noodle if you prefer.
- Chicken Broth – when used to cook the orzo, using chicken broth instead of water gives the pasta a salty and savory taste, however, cooking in water is just fine.
- Olive Oil – used to sauté the chicken, garlic, and spinach. Keeps the ingredients from sticking to the pan while also providing a healthy fat to the meal.
- Chicken Breast – fills out the meal with some lean protein.
- Red Pepper Flakes – adds some heat to the dish.
- Garlic – a nice nutty flavor that gives each bite a little kick.
- Spinach – provides a nice texture, a boost of nutrients, and really soaks up the flavor of the lemon and garlic.
- Parmesan – melts and forms a delicious salty, nutty, cheesy sauce around the orzo.
- Lemon Juice – gives the chicken and the orzo a brightness and tang.
- Salt – brings out the flavor of the other pasta dish ingredients.
I wanted to keep this pasta nice and light, but if you’re looking for something a little creamier, try using butter instead of the olive oil.
How to make lemon garlic chicken and orzo pasta
Other than boiling your pasta, this is a one pot meal that’s well rounded with a lean protein, vegetables, and carb!
- Boil orzo with chicken broth in a large stockpot.
- While the pasta cooks, prep and cook the chicken and spices in a large skillet.
- Add cooked orzo and spinach to the skillet mixture, then sauté until the spinach is wilted.
- Lastly, stir in cheese and lemon juice, then serve and devour!
And you’re done! Trust me, you will be shocked by how good this recipe tastes after spending so little time on it. SO. YUMMY! I could eat it for every meal.
If you’re looking for an even quicker recipe, cook your pasta ahead of time and use pre-cooked rotisserie chicken in place of the raw chicken breasts. Just warm the cooked chicken in the pan with a little garlic for about 30 seconds then proceed with the recipe.
What to serve with lemon garlic chicken and orzo pasta
This dish can definitely be a stand alone meal: it already contains a protein, a veggie, and a carb, but if you’re looking to bulk it up, I’m a big fan of serving this with a hearty whole grain roll, a crisp salad, a side of roasted veg, and maybe some fruit!
Here are some other serving suggestions:
- Side salad with romaine, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and drizzled with my homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
- Roasted vegetables
- Whole grain dinner rolls
- Berry fruit salad
Lemon Garlic Chicken and Orzo Pasta
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 cup orzo pasta uncooked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 (8 oz) chicken breasts cubed
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or more to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions, but use chicken broth instead of water for flavor if you have it! Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add in chicken and season with salt and pepper.
- Sauté until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in red pepper flakes and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Reduce heat to medium and add in cooked orzo and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese until melted and fully incorporated into the pasta.
- Remove from heat and add in lemon juice.
- Taste and re season with salt if necessary!
- Serve and enjoy!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post has been updated to provide more detailed content.