chicken · Side Dishes & Salads

Lemon Orzo Pasta Salad with Chicken and Asparagus

Tonight’s dinner was healthy and delicious.  Whenever I find a recipe like this, it becomes an immediate addition to my rotation of “usuals.”

Perfectly cooked and salted pasta, tossed with a quick and easy lemon vinaigrette, and mixed with chicken, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes? Yes please! It is the perfect light and yummy summer dinner.

This would also be the perfect thing to take to a potluck or a party where you are asked to bring a side.

My first thought when I tasted it was that it might be a little too lemony for me.  But then, I stuck it in the fridge for a few hours and the flavors just marinated together perfectly, and it was so dang good.

So these are my two big tips for this recipe: Let the flavors marinate in the fridge for a few hours, and use fresh garlic- not the canned stuff.

You don’t even have to have your dishsoap handy, since it’s so healthy.  That is my gift to you.  If you leave the chicken out, this dish is vegan!

Enjoy. 🙂

Recipe adapted from A Big Mouthful

Ingredients: 

12 ounces orzo pasta
1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lb of asparagus, chopped into one inch pieces
1 chicken breast, cooked and chopped into pieces
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves of minced garlic
3 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
Parmesan Cheese for topping (optional)

Directions:

In a large pot, bring some very salty water to a boil.  Add the orzo and cook until al dente.  For the last minute, cook the asparagus.  Remove from heat and strain.  Run under cold water so that the pasta and asparagus stop cooking- you don’t want them mushy.

Whisk together the lemon juice and zest, olive oil, rice vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Make sure you use enough salt and pepper, this has to season the entire salad.

Toss together the cold pasta and asparagus, tomatoes, and cooked chicken.  Pour vinaigrette over the top and mix together well. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired. (I did not)

Enjoy!

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