Chicken, Orzo, and Spinach Chopped Saladwith 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 meal has 58 reviews
This was so good! Really quick to make. I'd eat this every day.
I did extra pasta, as often I find cook smarts recipes to be on the small side portion wise. However I'm this case it wasn't needed. No matter though as it meant there were leftovers for my husband's lunch the next day! We all enjoyed this meal.
We love it, but I think I prefer it with mini macaroni noodles instead of Orzo.
Very yummy, but also quite high in points. Next time, I will halve the amount of orzo and make up the bulk with extra spinach, added cucumber, and perhaps garbanzos (ideas taken from the paleo and vegetarian versions).
Was quick and tasty, subbed arugula for spinach, liked the vinaigrette.
Incredible tasting salad! I’m a mom of 4 (including a newborn) so I have very little time to make myself lunch. This salad is amazing and my new go-to! I’ve been telling all my mom-friends about it because you can literally toss the entire salad together and just reserve the dressing until it’s ready to eat. I love that! I make a huge batch of this salad in one big container, double the dressing and store it separately from the salad in the fridge. All week, it’s my lunch! I’ve even stored each serving separately so I can grab it, add dressing, shake it up and eat all while holding a baby. Modifications: - add cucumber - add green or red onion - use quinoa instead of orzo - to cut down on prep/time, forget chopping baby spinach or use mixed greens - its ok if you don’t have a shallot for the dressing or pine nuts in the salad, don’t let that deter you from making this - I cook a bunch of chicken in the instapot for the week and shred so I use that in this salad to eliminate the need to make special chicken for it.