Love and Olive Oil

Mediterranean Orzo and Chicken Salad

Mediterranean Orzo and Chicken Salad

We made this some time ago… but I felt this dish was good enough that it deserved to be posted (the fact that I can remember that it was good means it was indeed, good!). We’ve made it again, without the chicken as well, so it can easily be converted to a vegetarian dish or side dish in no time.

Just be careful you don’t overcook the orzo. Because orzo tends to take on a very slimy and mushy texture if overcooked. Err on the side of underdone if you’re not sure. Especially if you plan to eat it again the next day. The pasta absorbs the dressing overnight and makes it even more mushy.

The recipe calls for Tarragon Vinegar. Which I couldn’t find. So I muddled up some fresh tarragon in a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar and let it sit for a bit. Which was just fine and tasty. Though I’ve never had tarragon vinegar, so I couldn’t tell you what you were missing substituting something else.

Mediterranean Orzo and Chicken Salad

Makes 4 Servings. Recipe from Epicurious.

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6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons tarragon vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cups diced cooked chicken (from one 3-pound purchased cooked chicken – optional)

1/2 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta; about 3 ounces)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces)
1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup dried currants
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers


Combine oil, vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, and mustard in small bowl; whisk to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Place chicken in medium bowl. Mix in 1/4 cup dressing.

Cook orzo in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse under cold water to cool; drain well. Transfer orzo to large bowl. Stir in remaining dressing and toss to coat. Add chicken mixture, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, currants, and capers. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

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  1. (I found this recipe on an Italian social network, where a girl got confused about the ingredient)

  2. Just for your information, if you are curious to know: the Italian word “orzo” indicates the barley (barleycorn). The rice-shaped pasta (called abroad “orzo”) in Italy is known as “risoni”. Ciao from Siena!

  3. Looks like a simple and yummy salad. But you’re right, overcooked orzo is not a winner.

  4. Looks delish! I love orzo – I’m definitely going to try this one!

  5. yes yes yes! This is my all-time favorite salad because of the orzo. So light and slightly chewy but not too tough like bulgur. And the olive oil makes it go down great. I had a salad like this at a greek restaurant a while ago but forgot all about it. I totally want to make this bad boy no! Thanks for the reminder…

  6. I love this recipe — it makes great use of items I often have in my pantry. I’ve made something very similar, with chunks of leftover grilled tuna. Delicious!

  7. Looks so good, what a great photo! I have never actually cooked orzo so I will have to try this.

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