Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Orzo Pasta

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Rice 1 Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Rice 3 Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Rice 2

I’m gonna start this post by being totally honest with you…I made a really stupid mistake when cooking this recipe.  Like…really stupid.  However, cooking mistakes are totally NORMAL, so I’m not ashamed to admit it here on Normal Cooking.  It also doesn’t hurt that even with my mistake, this meal still turned out AWESOME!!!

Here’s what I did wrong…the original recipe is actually for grilled chicken with lemon orzo pasta…not rice.  I had been cooking up a storm in the kitchen, following the recipe to a T (or so I thought), when I grabbed a bag of what I thought was orzo and dumped it in my pot of  boiling water.  Now, you’d think that I’d realize my mistake then, but no.  Somehow, I actually go on about another half hour, preparing the rest of the recipe.  It’s not until I get to the step where I’m supposed to drain the water, and I think, “Man this pasta sure did absorb all that water…wait a minute…OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS RICE!”

The problem this caused is that I was supposed to save some of the pasta water to mix in later, but I obviously had no pasta water.  I made it work though just by using more Greek yogurt to thin it out.  And in spite of it all, this dish was absolutely incredible.  I think it would’ve been better with the pasta, as intended, but it was still really really tasty!  I’m going to put the original recipe with the pasta, but just know that if you accidentally toss in rice, don’t worry!  It’ll still be ok!

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Orzo Pasta

Yields: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 317

Fat per serving: 9.5

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Orzo Pasta


  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup  orzo pasta
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed and patted dry (I always used canned peas because you don't have to thaw them, and I think they taste better!)
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and tarragon


  1. Whisk together the yogurt, 2 teaspoons of the oil, garlic, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to medium heat. Rub the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grill until nicely marked and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente, stirring in the peas the last minute of cooking. Drain the orzo and peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir the orzo and peas into the yogurt mixture, along with the feta, 3 tablespoons of the fresh herbs and at least 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid, until well combined. Transfer to a platter.
  4. Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh herbs and serve.


Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 317; Total Fat: 9.5 grams; Saturated Fat:3 grams; Protein: 21 grams; Total carbohydrates: 37 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber: 6 grams; Cholesterol: 50 milligrams; Sodium: 266 milligrams

Adapted From:  Food Network


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