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!
So good! I made this for lunch, keeping components stored mostly separate. I used arugula instead of spinach and went really heavy on it. We used pepitas and some pecans instead of pine nuts. I really enjoyed the flavors in this one and plan to make it again.0 Helpful
This was so good! Really quick to make. I'd eat this every day.0 Helpful
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.0 Helpful
We love it, but I think I prefer it with mini macaroni noodles instead of Orzo.0 Helpful
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).0 Helpful
Was quick and tasty, subbed arugula for spinach, liked the vinaigrette.0 Helpful