Orzo With Chicken, Lemon & Garlicky Kale Topping

This orzo dish is a current fave in my house. Not only is it a quick and easy dinner option (store-bought rotisserie chicken, for the win), it ticks all the right boxes for a summer-to-fall transition meal: it’s got some zip from the lemon and it’s not heavy at all thanks to light-as-air orzo: but it’s got an “it’s almost fall” vibe happenin’ in the background, too, thanks to earthy, garlicky kale and pine nuts mixed in.

For my money, the best part about this dish is the garlicky kale topping. I know that kale can be a bit intimidating (it’s rough and just so darn healthy), but when you toss it in olive oil, salt and pepper, add sliced garlic cloves and roast it until it’s so crispy it falls apart in your hand, you’re basically left with little salty bits of goodness that you may not even realize was kale in its former life. Seriously, this stuff is dangerously good – my dad ate about half of it straight off the baking sheet, and he is not what we’d call a kale kinda guy. Plus, it’s beyond simple to make. It really is the heart and soul of the flavor of this dish, so there’s no shame in a double batch.

Here’s how I put everything together.


1 cup orzo pasta
2 cups chicken stock
4.5 cups chopped kale*measured by loosely packing chopped kale, w/ stems removed, in a measuring cup
3 large cloves sliced garlic
Olive Oil
2 store-bought rotisserie chicken breasts, shredded {about 1.5 cups}
Handful fresh parsley
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
Juice of 1.5 small lemons
1 tsp Italian Seasoning*from jar or packet
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

orzo 2


Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Pat the kale dry and place the kale and garlic on a baking sheet and dress with a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 12 minutes, or until kale is very crispy and garlic is slightly browned and fragrant.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the orzo. Simmer, uncovered for about 8 minutes, or until the pasta has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.

Combine the cooked pasta, chicken, lemon juice, pine nuts, cheese, half of the kale mixture, parsley, seasoning and salt and pepper in a bowl and stir well. Top with the remaining kale mixture.

Garnish with some black pepper or more cheese, if desired. Enjoy!


Yield: About 2.5-3 cups pasta
Serving Size: 1/2 cup pasta
Calories: Approx. 265 calories per serving
Dietary Info: This baby’s got it all: diary, meat and gluten. But it’d still be amazing minus a few ingredients to accommodate any special dietary needs. Without chicken, this is vegetarian. Without chicken and cheese, it’s vegan

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