Grilled Chicken Orzo Salad with Avocado.
This grilled chicken orzo salad is a delicious lunch or dinner. Orzo is dressed in cilantro lime vinaigrette and tossed with grilled chicken, avocado, scallions and fresh herbs. Leftovers are fabulous too!
A bowl this beautifully green has me happy on a Monday morning!
This is going to become one of your new favorites. A great lunch option, a delicious dinner, this could even be a side dish for a get-together. I like to serve this grilled chicken orzo salad cold or chilled, with lots of avocado chunks and fresh herbs.
This recipe was born out of my adoration for keeping delicious vinaigrettes in my fridge at all times. And my love for grain bowls! You know this is a main focus of my book Everyday Dinners – make fridge staples throughout the week to keep in the fridge. Dressings and sauces that elevate dishes, things like bowls and salads, and keep variety in our meal plans.
It’s a key to eating well throughout the week.
The orzo tossed in the cilantro lime dressing is just incredible. I could practically eat that on its own. So super delicious and flavorful.
So I like to toss the orzo in the dressing then add everything else on top.
This is amazing served warm or cold, leftovers are great and it gets even more delish as it sits!
Here’s the run down!
We start with my cilantro lime vinaigrette. This is one of my favorite dressings of all time! Not only is it a beautiful vibrant green color, but it’s incredibly delicious. It holds up well in the fridge. This is the dressing that I use on our favorite tortellini salad and it can’t be beat.
When it comes to the base of the bowl, I love to use orzo. You could use quinoa, couscous, bulgur, rice – whatever your favorite is for a cold salad bowl. Now of course – you can serve this warm. But I really love to serve it chilled or even at room temp. It’s a fabulous meal to prep ahead of time for lunch or quick dinners.
I grill chicken with a few of my go-to spices. Smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper obviously. The smoky flavor from the grill adds so much here so that is key for me. It makes it taste so much better – gives it a hint of summery flavor too. You can always use a rotisserie chicken in a pinch.
Lots of green! I like to use avocado, cilantro and a bunch of fresh sliced scallions. If you’re preparing this a day or two ahead of time for work lunches, leave the avocado out until serving. Everything else can go into the bowl and gets tossed with the amazing vinaigrette!
This can always become a clean-out-the-fridge meal for you too. Toss in some tomatoes, maybe even corn. A few peppers or any leftover roasted vegetables you may have hanging out. You can even throw some things on the grill with the chicken.
A vibrant dish like this is just so FUN to eat. And my kids enjoy it because it’s so GREEN.
Grilled Chicken Orzo Salad
Grilled Chicken and Avocado Orzo Salad
- 16 ounces orzo, cooked
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- kosher salt and pepper
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- 1 avocado, cubed
cilantro lime vinaigrette
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- As a note, I love to make the cilantro lime dressing first. You can even make it a few hours ahead of time and stick it in the fridge!
- Preheat your grill to the highest setting. Let it heat up for 10 minutes.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the orzo according to the package directions.
- Season the chicken breasts all over with the paprika and garlic powder, along with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill grates. Grill for 5 minutes, then flip over and grill for 5 minutes more, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken and let it rest for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, slice or chop the chicken.
- Toss the orzo with half of the cilantro lime vinaigrette. Stir in the green onions and cilantro. Add the chicken and toss. If serving now, toss in the avocado. I love to serve this cool/room temperature, but you can also serve it warm! Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
- Drizzle on extra dressing and serve!
cilantro lime vinaigrette
- In a blender or food processor, combine the lime juice, honey, garlic, cilantro salt, pepper, pepper flakes and olive oil. Blend until combined and smooth (some pieces of cilantro may remain). Leftovers stay great in the fridge for a few days! Store it in a sealed container.
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I appreciate you so much!
Doesn’t get much greener!
24 Comments on “Grilled Chicken Orzo Salad with Avocado.”
This looks delicious, howeverI am in the school of cilantro haters. Could I substitute regular parsley for it in the dressing?
definitely! or basil too!
I too am a NO cilantro gal. Chopped basil sounds like great substitute.
Dinner tomorrow night…..my avocado is not ripe…🙃waw!
…also I grow Cilantro year round!
Anyway to make this gluten free?
For gluten free simply change the grain to rice instead of orzo. For low carb/keto switch to cauliflower rice and use liquid stevia instead of honey in the dressing.
This looks amazing & I can’t wait for my avocado to ripen
Seems super delicious and easy to make!
Oh my! This dish is terrific! And I was a cilantro hater until I made this! For those of you who categorize yourselves as such, just give cilantro a try in this. I may try basil next time, but the spices on the chicken with the avocado really blend deliciously with the cilantro. This is going to a party tomorrow, and I thought these guests were going to be “guinea pigs.” Happy ones they will be!
This was amazing & EASY! I think it would be great with grilled shrimp too.
Really really enjoyed this! Chicken came out juicy and great flavor. The dressing was amazing. I’m no Martha or Julia and loved that it was so easy.
If you are even thinking of making this recipe, do it now! If you do not have the ingredients, go get them asap. It is amazing! My 6 year old loved it!
Made this 3 times last week! It is SO good! And I am not big on cilantro, but loved the dressing! This meal is so easy, and so much flavor!
Another great recipe! Thanks, Jessica!
Both my husband and I love this recipe! It’s pretty easy to throw together…definitely a keeper! I can’t wait to make it for my (grown) girls!
I doubled the vinaigrette and added a bunch of parsley, I made the pound of orzo but added it in until felt the consistency was good, approx half the amount the recipe calls for… my avocados weren’t ripe so I left them out and added 4 Oz of pine nuts and topped with Parmesan cheese, super delicious!
Great recipe, made it with parsley and it was great.
I think there’s too much pasta and ended up not added as much as the recipe called for.
Will definitely make again.
Delicious!!!! I made the orzo in my instapot with veggie broth – easy! I sautéed mushrooms with the garlic powder and paprika instead of using chicken. Great substitution. Will definitely make this again!
I LOVED this. First night I ate just the orzo with the green onions and vinegarette. 2nd day I added the chicken and avacado. This will be something I pack for camping and the beach! Lovely. I want some more of your vinegarette recipes!
Excellent! I added roasted red peppers and sun dried tomato to the recipe to add some variety. I thought that 1 Avacado was not enough so I added 2.
Made this last night and it is SO GOOD! I love that I can modify this for everyone in my family! I served this with salmon for three of us, chicken for one of us and just avocado for the vegetarian. My son said it’s one of the best things he’s ever eaten in his life! Thank you!
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What would baking the chicken look like? Would it still work?