Chicken, Orzo, and Spinach Chopped Salad
with feta / balsamic vinaigrette
With a variety of flavors and textures tossed in a tangy vinaigrette, the last bite of this chopped salad is as satisfying as the first.
Smarts: The salad can be served at any temperature, so make it ahead and / or pack leftovers for lunch.
- Shallots - 1 clove, diced
- Vinegar, balsamic - 1 1/2 Tbsp
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 1 tsp
- Honey - 2 tsp
- Oil, cooking - 1/4 cup
- Pasta, orzo - 8 oz (sub any small pasta shape)
- Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless - 1 lb, cubed
- Baby spinach - 5 oz, chopped
- Tomatoes, cherry or grape - 1 1/2 cups, halved
- Pine nuts - 1/4 cup (sub pepitas or chopped pecans)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Vinegar, balsamic - 2 tsp
- Cheese, feta - 4 oz, crumbled
- Cook pasta - Cook pasta according to package directions. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Make vinaigrette - Dice shallots. Whisk together shallots, vinegar (portion for vinaigrette), lemon juice, mustard, and honey. Add oil (portion for vinaigrette) while whisking. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Chicken - Slice into cubes. Tenderize with a fork and season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
- Spinach / Tomatoes - Prep as directed.
- Heat a skillet or wok over medium heat. Add nuts to dry pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly toasted, ~3 minutes. Set aside.
- Return skillet to heat. Add oil (portion for salad) and then chicken to heated oil. Saute until chicken is golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Add vinegar (portion for salad) and saute, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, until vinegar coats chicken, ~1 minute.
- Set chicken aside and let it cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta (no need to heat it up if it was prepared ahead), spinach, tomatoes, and crumbled feta. Add vinaigrette and toss salad until dressed to your liking. Add chicken last and toss everything to combine.
- Divide salad between serving plates and top each serving with nuts. Enjoy!
This is a great summer dish! Fresh, can be cold, simple! It would also make a great side dish without the chicken.0 Helpful
So refreshing and good, and even keeps well for a few days as a left over! Highly recommend!0 Helpful
Loved by all (youngest 18 months old) at the dinner table. It was quick and you could do so many substitutions if desired (shrimp instead of chicken, strawberries instead of tomatoes, mixed greens etc.) This recipe is saved!0 Helpful
Can do so many variations with this, so yummy. Would cut the orzo in half...seems to make way too much both times I've made this. But can use the leftover orzo for other things as well :)0 Helpful
One of my new favorite recipes! Even my 3 year old loved it0 Helpful
I, personally, wasn't this biggest fan, but my younger sibling absolutely loved it. I would suggest cutting the recommended amount of pasta in half (especially if you are watching your macros). Next time that I make this, I will add extra spinach and cucumber. Overall, pretty good. (As long as you can handle vinegar!)0 Helpful