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!
Had tuna instead of chicken. Very tasty.0 Helpful
Delicious! My husband grilled the chicken (halved breasts) and diced before serving. Awesome dressing! My husband and 22 year old son loved it too!0 Helpful
Easy and delicious. Great for dinner and looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Perfect summer meal, would be great for a potluck.0 Helpful
Delicious for lunches!0 Helpful
Easy and healthy but felt like something was missing. Maybe I would have liked the dressing to have more flavor. Or throwing in some fresh fruit may have helped too.0 Helpful
Very tasty and the family enjoyed it! It has the lighter quality of a salad but the chicken and orzo are filling enough that you don’t need more for a dinner, very good for a warm weather meal. My husband always likes getting more veggies in his diet but he has a big appetite so this fit the bill perfectly.0 Helpful