When you’re looking for a healthy weeknight dinner that has it all, try this Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken. This cheap healthy meal following the Mediterranean Diet comes together in 30 minutes.
Hi SoFabFood Readers, I’m Mahy – the foodie behind Two Purple Figs blog sharing another delicious Mediterranean recipe. Even though I share all sorts of recipes on my blog, I find my recipes following the Mediterranean Diet are always super popular.
This Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad with Grilled Chicken is the perfect comfort food for cold days. The best thing about Mediterranean comfort food is that it doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. It feels rather light, fresh, and packed with flavor, however you still leave the table feeling satisfied.
What ingredients do you need for a pasta salad?
Frankly, pretty much anything and everything goes! Pasta Salad can be just like your favorite salad tossed with some cooked pasta, or your favorite pasta recipe served cold. It can also be in between; something like a warm pasta with fresh ingredients and a light dressing.
What’s the best dressing for a pasta salad?
Likewise, pretty much any dressing goes! My favorite ways to dress up a pasta salad are using a Greek or Balsamic dressing. I also love a simple herb, garlic, and olive oil seasoning like I’ve used today.
Why an Orzo Pasta Salad?
Orzo pasta, while it may look like rice, is indeed pasta shaped like rice. I love it for a pasta salad since it doesn’t over load my salad, but still adds that pasta flavor. It rather just blends in.
How do you make this Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad?
First of all, you’ll need to cook the pasta according to the package instructions; al dente works best.
Since we’re using seared chicken, here’s my favorite go-to, 10-minute seared chicken recipe. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and olive oil.
Sear the chicken for five minutes per side until cooked through, then add in fresh garlic, cover the skillet, and let the garlic infuse your chicken for another three minutes.
The chicken’s done, now what?
In the same skillet, sauté garlic and fresh baby tomatoes, add in arugula (or spinach), herbs, a mixture of olives, and a touch of lemon juice. Then add the cooked pasta and it’s good to go.
Instead of dressing the pasta here, I cooked the dressing with the tomatoes and arugula then tossed it with the pasta.
Serve it up right away with the sliced chicken, a sprinkle of more herbs, fresh parmesan, and enjoy!
- 2 large chicken breasts, butterflied
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 box orzo pasta, cooked al dente
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 2/3 cup mixed olives
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 cup arugula
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Season the chicken on both sides with the chicken ingredients. Preheat a 9-inch non-stick skillet over high heat.
- Add the chicken breasts and sear for 5 minutes per side until golden. Turn off the heat, add the fresh garlic and cover the skillet for another 5 minutes.
- The chicken will infuse with garlic flavor. Remove the chicken and sauces, and slice the chicken.
- In the same skillet, add olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. Sautée the sauce for 2 minutes and then add remaining ingredients, toss in the cooked pasta, and serve with a drizzle of olive.
Home Chef Tip: If you're in a hurry, you can use rotisserie chicken, canned chicken, canned tuna, or even shrimp for a 15-minute meal everyone will love.
30-Minute Meal tips for success:
- Don’t over cook the pasta here, it needs to be al dente to hold its shape with the other ingredients.
- Serve the pasta salad warm or cold. If serving it cold, drizzle it with an extra squirt of lemon juice and olive oil to boost up the flavors.
- Make this pasta salad with grilled shrimp or even canned tuna if you’re rushed. Also swap the arugula for some kale or spinach.
- Don’t drench the pasta salad in salad dressing; a little goes a long way. It shouldn’t feel like a pasta sauce. More like a toss of flavor for the pasta.
We hope you love this Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad recipe from SoFabFood Home Chef, Mahy from Two Purple Figs, as much as we do. If you love this cheap healthy meal, stop by our 30-Minute Meal Section for more like it. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!