This easy one-pan lemon orzo pasta and walnut chicken dish is a super tasty and healthy option for busy weeknights!
I have a really easy and fun summery dish to share with you today. We spent Mother’s Day this year how we spend most holidays – carefully divided between the in-laws. Have I mentioned that my parents live two blocks away from my husband’s parents? I know. Darling. And it works out pretty darn great most of the time, but sometimes it’s a pain. And I mean a literal pain. Because when you’ve eaten two Thanksgiving dinners complete with pumpkin pie, your stomach will hurt.
We usually divide each holiday up by meals. So we have dinner at one house, and dessert at the other. The problem is that the mother of the house we have dinner at usually turns on the sad eyes if we leave without a bite of whatever dessert she made for the occasion, even though she knows we are supposed to be saving room for dessert at the second house. Does she care? No. She just really really wants you to try her new recipe for caramel oatmeal cake and if you don’t have at least seven bites she will surely die.
That’s what the sad eyes say.
So this past Mother’s Day we had dinner at my husband’s parents and my sister in-law took the initiative to delegate food responsibilities. I brought a side -not important. What’s important is that my sister in law made a really yummy artichoke chicken and served it with orzo pasta. I’d heard of orzo, I’d seen orzo, but I’d never actually eaten orzo until my sister in law served it to us for Mother’s Day. And guess what? It deserves it’s popularity. Orzo is mega delish!
Immediately after that meal I was conjuring up all sorts of ideas using orzo and this lemon garlic version was one of them. The walnut chicken I’ve been wanting to try for a long long time and when I had the orzo planned, it just seemed to fit. And it did fit! Like a glove. The great thing is that this whole dish can be made in one pan and takes about 25 minutes so it will be done in no time!
Actually it will be done in 25 minutes. But you know what I mean.
Walnut Crusted Chicken with Lemon Garlic Orzo
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
- 1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (or Italian seasoning)
- Cook pasta in a large pan according to package's instructions. Transfer to a strainer and allow to drain while you prepare the chicken.
- In a small bowl combine finely chopped walnuts, breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, and dried basil (or italian seasoning) and whisk to combine. Toss chicken breasts in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Spray pan with cooking spray and cook chicken over medium heat until browned on both sides and cooked through. (about 4-5 minutes on each side)Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with a towel or with tin foil to keep warm.
- Add the 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan. Transfer drained orzo back to the pan and stir until hot. Add garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and basil and cook, stirring throughout, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with walnut crusted chicken and garnish with lemon wedges for drizzling if desired.