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A fresh, summery 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.
The orzo is perfect in this, 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 dish 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 pesto and the Tuscan seasoning pair very well, 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!
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 is “Tuscan” vs “Italian” seasoning?
I’m so glad you asked.
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.
What to do with leftovers
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat until it is piping hot!
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!
What to serve with Tuscan Chicken
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Orzo. A small rice like pasta shape.
- Chicken. I use breasts, but you can sub 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.
- Tomatoes. Chopped tomatoes, or cherry/grape tomatoes are fine.
- 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.
How to make this recipe
This is an overview. The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
Cook orzo according to package directions. 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.
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.
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.
Some of my favorite Chicken Breast Recipes
- 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!
- Chicken with Romesco Sauce. Grilled Chicken paired with an amazingly full flavored Romesco Sauce brings YOUR dinner to new levels. Smoky and robust, you’ll find yourself looking for new things to eat it with!
- Pesto Stuffed Chicken (with Cream Cheese). Super easy to make, finishes in the oven for some hands-off cooking! Creamy and delicious, everyone will love this dinner!
- Balsamic Glazed Chicken. A simple homemade sauce is used to baste the chicken as it cooks. The result is tender chicken with a slightly sweet, and tangy taste.
- Chicken Florentine. A great way to make a weeknight dinner a bit more special.
- Jalapeno Popper Chicken. Chicken stuffed with a delicious jalapeno cream cheese mixture and coated with breadcrumbs. Baked to perfection, and absolutely delicious!
- Chicken Divan. A classic casserole with broccoli, chicken, cheese and a crunchy topping. You will make this family favorite over and over!
- 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
Summery Tuscan Chicken Orzo
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Tips & Notes:
Recipes written and produced on Kylee Cooks are for informational purposes only. Kylee is not a certified nutritionist. Nutritional data provided on Kylee Cooks has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration.
Update: This recipe was originally published in July of 2016. It was republished with updated photos in May of 2021.
Update: This recipe was originally published in May of 2017. It was republished with updated photos in June of 2022.