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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese

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Most of the time when I eat pasta, it's more about the other ingredients (and the sauce!) than the pasta, which is why large pieces of noodle can irritate me. Give me more of the other stuff! (The exception being this pasta dish with fresh pappardelle--YUM!) Perhaps that's why I like orzo so much. It's teeny tiny pasta, so you get your carby goodness but it doesn't overtake the rest of the dish.
I made this when I had a few girlfriends over for dinner and it was the perfect spring meal, which we enjoyed with Alexia rolls and finished up with our favorite Ted Drewes for dessert! You could easily remove the chicken and serve it as a side dish. It'd be a great accompaniment to a summer picnic or chicken fresh off the grill.

One Year Ago: Citrus Almond Salad
Two Years Ago: Best of 2011: Bahn Mi So
Three Years Ago: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
slightly adapted from Cooking Light April 2008

-1 1/4 cups uncooked orzo
-2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
-3 cups spinach, roughly chopped
-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1/4 cup chopped red onion
-2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

1. Cook orzo according to package instructions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
2. Combine pasta, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, pepper, onion, and basil in a large bowl, tossing to mix well.
3. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar with oil, salt, and black pepper. Pour over pasta mixture and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with goat cheese just before serving.