Low Calorie Main Dish Pasta Poultry Salads

Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken

March 18, 2015

It’s two days from officially being spring. Two days! I’ve never been so excited for winter to be over. I’m starting to crave lighter foods like this amazing Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken. Not only is it light as in the opposite of a rich, heavy meal, it’s also light as in low calorie. You know I love me some super tasty low calorie eats! This salad is really quick and easy to prepare. It’s mixed with a tangy lemon dressing and tossed with rotisserie chicken, cucumbers, green onions, fresh dill, and goat cheese. I’ve been eating it for lunch all week with no complaints!

Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken

So, how’s it taste?

I love meals like this. Simple to put together, tastes great freshly made, and leftovers are even better. The tender pasta works beautifully with the chunks of tender rotisserie chicken and crunchy cucumber. I’m a fresh dill addict, so I doubled the amount. The dressing is very simple: lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, black pepper, and a touch of honey. I omitted bell pepper from the original recipe because it called for red, which is my least favorite, and I just wasn’t in the mood for it. Honestly, I don’t think I would’ve liked it with bell pepper. The flavors are so perfect without it. You could also omit the chicken and serve this as a side to any meal.

Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken

What do you think about the pics in this post? I finally got around to playing with shooting food in artificial light. They aren’t quite there yet, but I was really surprised at how well they turned out. I don’t know why I’ve put off doing this! It’s so nice to not be confined to shooting when the sun’s out. I used my Lowel EGO Digital Imaging Tabletop Fluorescent Light Unit and it was really easy. It gives off more of a blue-toned light, like natural sunlight, as opposed to red/orange tones you can get from incandescent lights inside. I’m going to try it again tonight so I can share the recipe for these yummy, healthy quesadillas with you soon!

Yield: 4 servings

Lemony Orzo Salad with Chicken


3/4 cup uncooked orzo
1/4 tsp. grated lemon rind
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill (I used 2 tbsp.)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese


1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and place in a large bowl.

2. While orzo cooks, combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients (through black pepper), stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle juice mixture over orzo; toss to coat. Add chicken and next 3 ingredients (through dill); toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cheese.

per serving: 275 calories, 9.7g fat, 18.2g protein, 28g carbs, 1.8g fiber

This post contains affiliate links.

You Might Also Like

  • Beth March 18, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I am going to make this dish asap! I LOVE all of the flavors that go into it and I have some orzo in my pantry that I’ve been trying to decide what to do with. Yay.

    And the pics look great!

  • Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice March 18, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    Orzo salads are my favorite! I love this lemon version, Leah! Perfect for the spring and hopes of warmer weather on the way!

  • Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat March 18, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    I love lemon and orzo! It is the perfect light flavor!

  • Izzy March 18, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    I can’t believe it is only two days until spring either!! Although it almost feels like summer here already! This salad does look so light and springy! I love all things lemony!

  • Kelly - Life Made Sweeter March 20, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I’m so excited it’s finally spring! Love how light and refreshing this dish is! Love how the pictures turned out too – they look gorgeous!

  • Kelsey March 31, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    The pic looks great!

    Do you serve this hot or cold?

    • Leah Short March 31, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks! Either works. I like it best at room temperature though.

  • Jess @ whatjessicabakednext April 8, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    This orzo salad looks divine! I love the rotisserie chicken – so tasty!