Pesto Chicken Orzo

  • 10MINS
  • 1HR 10MINS
  • Serves 4
  • 506KCAL

Sure to be an instant hit with the whole family, this Italian-style Pesto Chicken Orzo serves up impressive indulgence for minimum effort. With succulent chicken thighs, juicy roasted tomatoes, pesto and  green beans, there’s no shortage of bright colours and flavour. By adding silky orzo pasta, we’ve made every delicious forkful extra satisfying.

  • Bakes and Roasts pinchofnom.com
  • Dairy Free pinchofnom.com
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Easy Peasy Pesto Chicken Orzo pinchofnom.com
5

NutritionPer Serving

  • Calories506
  • Carbs54g
  • Protein46g
  • Fat10g
  • Saturates3.2g
  • Sugars7.1g

Pesto Chicken Orzo - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

For the full list of ingredients and comprehensive instructions, please see the recipe card below. Before you scroll, there’s important stuff in the blurb!

Treat yourself to a luscious, one-pot dinner with our Pesto Chicken Orzo! A surefire crowd-pleaser from our Weekly Indulgence category, if the bright and colourful combination of ingredients doesn’t win you over, the oh-so-creamy texture definitely will.

The definition of luxury for minimum effort, your oven will do most of the work for you with this midweek wonder. After baking succulent chicken thighs together with juicy roasted tomatoes, flavour-rich pesto and crunchy green beans (alongside tender orzo pieces, herbs and spices!), you can relax while they bubble away to perfection.

A substantial dish with no shortage of tasty ingredients, it’s filling and satisfying enough to be enjoyed all on its own. If you’re preparing an extra-special dinner party feast, Italian-style side dishes like Cheesy Garlic Bread or Tear and Share Garlic Dough Balls are guaranteed to take the flavours up a notch.

What diets is this Pesto Chicken Orzo suitable for?

Pesto Chicken Orzo can be made gluten free as long as you swap out the following ingredients for gluten-free versions; 

  • Dried orzo
  • Reduced-salt chicken stock cube

You can switch the Parmesan cheese for a cheese alternative to make this recipe suitable for dairy-free diets.

Please make sure to double or triple check all of your ingredients if you’re cooking for people with allergies.

Do you need any special ingredients to make Pesto Chicken Orzo?

If you haven’t heard of orzo before, it’s basically a type of pasta that looks a bit like rice! You should be able to pick it up in your local supermarket in the pasta aisle.

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‘I’m amazed at the flavour- this dish was so tasty and the sauce so creamy it was incredible that cream was not one of the ingredients!! Definitely a new favourite ❤️’

Debra

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A large ovenproof casserole dish will come in handy for this recipe.

Dried orzo is great for making silky, risotto-like pasta dishes.

How many calories are in this Pesto Chicken Orzo?

There are 506 calories per portion in this Pesto Chicken Orzo, which means it falls into our Weekly Indulgence category. 

To cut down the amount of calories even more, you can simply halve the portion size and serve with a healthy accompaniment!

This Pesto Chicken Orzo is perfect if you’re following a calorie-controlled diet, and fits well with any one of the major diet plans such as Weight Watchers. 

As a guide, an average man needs around 2,500kcal (10,500kJ) a day to maintain a healthy body weight. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal (8,400kJ) a day. Obviously, if your goal is to lose weight then you might want to adjust these slightly! You can read more about these recommendations on the NHS website.

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a medium baking tray with foil and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Place the tomato halves on the baking tray in a single layer, cut-side up.

Step 1 pinchofnom.com

Step 2

Spray the tomatoes with low-calorie cooking spray and season with salt and black pepper. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until they have wrinkled a little and are starting to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C.

Step 2 pinchofnom.com

Step 3

While the tomatoes are roasting, season all sides of the chicken thighs with salt, black pepper and garlic granules. Spray a large ovenproof frying pan or casserole dish with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the chicken and seal on all sides for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 3 pinchofnom.com Step 3 pinchofnom.com

Step 4

Spray the pan again (no need to wash first), and add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the onion is softening and golden.

Step 4 pinchofnom.com

Step 5

Add 100ml of the chicken stock, stir and return the chicken to the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or tight-fitting foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Step 5 pinchofnom.com

Step 6

Remove from the oven and add the remaining stock, orzo and fine green beans. Stir well, then return to the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Step 6 pinchofnom.com

Step 7

Remove from the oven and stir in the pesto, roasted tomatoes, basil leaves and half of the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and serve alone or with an accompaniment of your choice.

Step 7 pinchofnom.com

Pesto Chicken Orzo - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

What could I serve with this Pesto Chicken Orzo?

This easy chicken dinner is delicious all on its own, or you can ramp up the indulgence even further with a slimming-friendly side dish:

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How do you know when Pesto Chicken Orzo is cooked?

You should cook this Pesto Chicken Orzo until the chicken thighs are thoroughly cooked through and no pinkness remains. This will take around 50 minutes.

Standard advice here in the UK is to cook food until it has reached 70°C and stayed at that temperature for 2 minutes. This is to keep your family safe. 

How long can you keep Pesto Chicken Orzo in the fridge?

You’ll want to eat Pesto Chicken Orzo within 4 hours of serving it.

If you have any leftovers, then make sure that you allow them to cool before popping them in a container with a lid and refrigerating. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days.

Can I freeze Pesto Chicken Orzo?

Yes, you can! Pesto Chicken Orzo can be frozen, but please remember to do the following;

  • Freeze it as soon as it is cold enough.
  • Use a container or bag that is suitable for freezing.

Don’t forget to add a label with what it is, and on what date you put it in the freezer.

How do I reheat Pesto Chicken Orzo?

From chilled: Place in a microwave-proof container with loosely-fitting lid and heat for 4-7 minutes, until piping hot.

From frozen: Allow to defrost and heat covered in the microwave for 3-5 minutes, then stir. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes until piping hot.

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Pesto Chicken Orzo

Sure to be an instant hit with the whole family, this Italian-style Pesto Chicken Orzo serves indulgent flavours for minimum effort.
  • Prep Time
    10 MINS
  • Cook Time
    1 HR 10
  • KCals 506
  • Carbs 54G

Ingredients

  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs visible fat removed (approx. 75g each)
  • 400 g cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 medium onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
  • 4 white mushrooms thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 1 reduced-salt chicken stock cube made up with 500ml boiling water
  • 250 g dried orzo
  • 100 g fine green beans trimmed
  • 3 tbsp readymade reduced-fat green pesto
  • 10 g fresh basil leaves stalks removed and roughly torn
  • 30 g Parmesan cheese finely grated
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • low-calorie cooking spray

large ovenproof frying pan

We use a fan assisted oven for all of our recipes. Check out our oven temperature conversion guide.

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Line a medium baking tray with foil and spray with low-calorie cooking spray. Place the tomato halves on the baking tray in a single layer, cut-side up.
  2. Spray the tomatoes with low-calorie cooking spray and season with salt and black pepper. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until they have wrinkled a little and are starting to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside. Lower the oven temperature to 180°C.
  3. While the tomatoes are roasting, season all sides of the chicken thighs with salt, black pepper and garlic granules. Spray a large ovenproof frying pan or casserole dish with low-calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add the chicken and seal on all sides for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  4. Spray the pan again (no need to wash first), and add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the onion is softening and golden.
  5. Add 100ml of the chicken stock, stir and return the chicken to the pan. Cover with a tight-fitting lid or tight-fitting foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and add the remaining stock, orzo and fine green beans. Stir well, then return to the oven (uncovered) for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  7. Remove from the oven and stir in the pesto, roasted tomatoes, basil leaves and half of the Parmesan cheese. Season to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and serve alone or with an accompaniment of your choice.

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