This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission. Full Disclosure Policy.
A fresh, easy to make dish – perfect for a delicious lunch or light dinner, this Tuscan Chicken Orzo is full of fresh flavors. It is so easy to make on the fly, and even easier to make ahead.
Orzo pasta is perfect in this recipe! Little rice-like pasta pieces, covered in a sun dried tomato pesto. Add some quickly sautéed veggies, and top with a seasoned chicken breast. A smattering of parmesan, and done!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
This easy weeknight dinner was born from “what’s in the fridge”. I feel like my best dishes are created from not really knowing what I’m making, and figuring it out when I’m standing in front of the fridge. Rummaging around for goodies, using what you have to make something awesome is so satisfying, right?
It is just the right blend of chicken, orzo, and vegetables. The sun-dried tomato pesto and the Tuscan seasoning add so much flavor, and I really love the fresh arugula in this. If you add it right before serving, it’s still crisp and adds a delicious peppery flavor to the dish.
The orzo is perfect in this, little rice-like pasta pieces, covered in a sun dried tomato pesto. YUM! For the Aussies and Kiwis: Orzo is called Risoni over there.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- This is a great weeknight dinner. Done in under 30 minutes, you’ll make this a regular part of your dinner rotation!
- Easy to make. No culinary degree required.
- Budget friendly. Seriously, use what is in your refrigerator!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s a basic Italian seasoning, including basil, oregano and rosemary, marjoram, sage and thyme, but adds fennel and garlic. In some blends, sun dried tomatoes are added. See the recipe for the blend I use below.
Yes, you can substitute orzo with other small pasta shapes like ditalini, farfalle, or even rice. Adjust cooking times as needed based on the pasta choice.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs are commonly used due to their quick cooking time. However, you can also use bone-in pieces; just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
You can add a splash of heavy cream or increase the amount of Parmesan cheese. A dollop of cream cheese or a scoop of ricotta can also make the dish creamier.
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
What to do with leftovers
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat until it is piping hot! Add a little water or broth if the pasta is too dry.
You can use regular basil pesto instead of the sundried tomato pesto if you prefer.
Replace the arugula with spinach. Add fresh spinach to the orzo and tossing it until the spinach is wilted is a great way to add some green!
A little onion or garlic powder to the seasoning will pack a punch of flavor!
Add some red pepper flakes to add some spice.
Make a creamy sauce – add ricotta, a splash of cream or some cream cheese.
Add a few sun-dried tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes
Chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165° F when tested with a digital meat thermometer in the thickest part.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Orzo. A small rice like pasta shape. Cook it in some chicken broth if you’d like extra flavor!
- Chicken. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you can sub boneless chicken thighs in this recipe.
- Tuscan Seasoning. Grab this at the store or make your own.
- Salt and pepper.
- Bell peppers. Do a mix of colors. I like yellow and red, but orange is great too. Avoid the green, they’re not as sweet!
- Tomatoes. Chopped tomatoes, or cherry/grape tomatoes are fine. You may also love some sundried tomatoes.
- Arugula. This is a yummy salad green with a peppery flavor. Sub spinach if that is what you have.
- Pesto. This is used to flavor up the pasta. I use the sun-dried tomato kind, but regular basil pesto can also be used.
- Parmesan. What dish isn’t improved by adding a good handful of freshly grated parmesan?
Styled Pin Header
- Saucepan – for cooking the orzo
- Large skillet or Dutch oven.
- Wooden spoon.
- Colander for draining the pasta.
- Kitchen knife
- Cutting Board
How to make this recipe
Scroll for Recipe
The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Cook orzo according to package directions. You want al dente pasta (firm to the bite, but not soft or mushy). Drain and set aside.
Season your chicken with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with Tuscan seasoning.
Cook the chicken and vegetables
Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add the chicken to the skillet and cook for a few minutes per side until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and keep warm.
In the same skillet, add the red and yellow peppers, and sauté until softened – about 3 minutes. Scrape up the browned bits as you go.
In the last minute, add the cherry tomatoes.
Add the pasta and pesto
Drain the orzo, add to the skillet with the vegetables. Add the pesto on top. Mix well.
When ready to serve, add the arugula to the orzo mixture, and divide between plates. Slice the chicken breast, and place on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired. Devour.
More delicious chicken dinners:
- This Italian Style Mozzarella Skillet is the stuff of DREAMS. Try it!
- Chicken Piccata Recipe. An old time classic, that is quick and easy to make and full of flavor. Butter, lemon juice and capers make the delicious sauce!
- Lemon Butter Chicken. A quick & easy dinner, packed full of flavor. Great for a weeknight meal when you are staring at the fridge and pantry “what to make?
- ALL CHICKEN RECIPES
- ALL WEEKNIGHT RECIPES
Update: This recipe was originally published in July of 2016. It was updated and republished in September of 2023.
Tuscan Chicken Orzo – easy 30 minute meal
- 2 cups plain or whole wheat orzo (uncooked)
- 1 lb chicken breast (sliced into thin cutlets)
- 2 Tbs tuscan seasoning ((recipe linked below))
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 red pepper (cut into strips)
- 1/2 yellow pepper (cut into strips)
- 12 cherry or grape tomatoes (halved)
- 2.5 oz baby arugula
- 2 Tbs sundried tomato pesto
- 1 Tbs grated parmesan (optional)
- Cook orzo according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, season your chicken with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with tuscan seasoning.
Cook the chicken and vegetables
- Heat olive oil in a skillet, and cook chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken and keep warm.
- In the same skillet, add the red and yellow peppers, and sautee until softened – about 3 minutes.
- In the last minute, add the cherry tomatoes.
Add the pasta and pesto
- Drain the orzo, add the pesto and stir through.
- Add the cooked vegetables to the orzo, and mix.
- When ready to serve, add the arugula to the orzo mixture, and divide between plates.
- Slice the chicken breast, and place on top of the orzo.
- Sprinkle with parmesan.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.