One pan chicken with orzo and pesto combines tender chicken, orzo pasta, and vibrant basil pesto flavors. This easy recipe is a delicious combination of tastes and textures in a single pan, perfect for weeknight dinners and entertaining guests.
If you are looking for a cozy, easy meal loaded with flavor, this recipe for chicken with orzo and pesto fits the bill. It is made with rotisserie chicken, orzo, and store-bought pesto, which takes the dish to the next level. Finely cut fresh spinach is snuck in to provide extra nutrients that your picky eaters won't ever notice.
The orzo, pesto, spinach, broth, and spices are combined and baked. Then the chicken is added, and the casserole is topped with a sprinkle of shredded cheese and placed back in the oven for the chicken to heat and the cheese to melt. It is pure perfection!
This one-pot dish is the perfect cozy comfort food and will surely be a hit with your family.
Why You Will Love This Pesto Chicken Recipe
- It's prepared in one pan, which makes clean-up easy.
- The combination of textures and flavors makes this dish a winner every time. Even the kids will love it.
- Prep time is minimal since it is made with rotisserie chicken and store-bought pesto.
These ingredients can be found at your local supermarket.
- Rotisserie chicken-you can also use any cooked chicken. Thighs will add more flavor, but chicken breasts work too.
- Orzo is a pasta you can find with other types of pasta in the supermarket. It is quick cooking. I would not recommend using a different pasta in place of it.
- Basil pesto-use store-bought or homemade pesto. Don't skip this ingredient because it adds loads of flavor,
- Baby spinach-finely chopped fresh spinach adds extra nutrients to this meal. Your kids won't even notice that it is in it. In a pinch, you can use frozen spinach. Just squeeze all the excess water out, or it will make the casserole soggy.
- Chicken broth gives this dish another layer of flavor. I like to use "Better than Broth" chicken concentrate and add water to make the broth. Homemade broth would be fabulous or you can also use boxed or canned chicken broth. As a last resort, you can use water, however, the dish will not have as much flavor.
- Mozzarella cheese adds flavor and creaminess to the dish.
- Shallots are milder than onions, but you can use onions in a pinch.
- Garlic-fresh is best, but if you only have garlic powder, it works too.
- Oil-I like to use olive oil, but vegetable, canola, or avocado oil work great.
- Pepper flakes provide a bit of spice. It is optional.
Recommended Chicken Broth and Basil Pesto
"Better Than Boullion" reduced sodium chicken base is excellent for your pantry. Once opened, it needs to be refrigerated. Combine one teaspoon base with 1 cup of hot water to make chicken broth. It is more economical to use than purchasing premade broth.
I highly recommend the Kirkland brand Basil Pesto if you are a Costco member. It works great in this recipe and other recipes that call for pesto. Try it in cooked pasta, spread on sandwiches, replace pizza sauce, mix it into dips, or toss roasted vegetables with it!
Finely chop the fresh baby spinach leaves.
Combine oil shallot, garlic, shallots, pesto, dried basil, chili flakes, salt, and pepper in a ceramic casserole dish.
Add broth (or water) to the orzo mixture and stir until combined.
Top the orzo mixture with chopped spinach. Bake for 12-15 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. After baking, stir the spinach and orzo mixture together until combined.
Add the chicken to the orzo mixture and stir to combine.
Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake.
Enjoy! This meal is the perfect cozy comfort meal.
- Garlic powder works in place of the fresh garlic. Use about ½ teaspoon.
- Onions, preferably sweet onions, can be substituted for shallots. If you don't have either one, leave them out.
- Cooked chicken breasts or thighs are delicious in place of the rotisserie chicken.
- Provolone or Fontina cheese can be used in place of the mozzarella cheese.
You can create various delicious variations of a chicken, orzo, and pesto recipe by incorporating different ingredients and flavors. Here are some ideas:
- Vegetable Medley: Add sautéed or roasted vegetables like cherry tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, or bell peppers for extra color and nutrients.
- Mushroom Magic: Sauté mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake, or wild mushrooms for an earthy, umami-rich twist.
- Creamy Pesto: Blend some heavy cream or Greek yogurt into the pesto sauce for a creamier, more luxurious texture.
- Protein Swaps: Instead of chicken, experiment with other proteins like shrimp, salmon, or tofu for a different taste and texture.
- Sundried Tomatoes: Chopped sun-dried tomatoes can add a sweet, intense burst of flavor to your dish.
These variations will help you customize your chicken, orzo, and pesto dish to your taste, and you can mix and match to create your unique combination.
- Ceramic 8" or 9" baking dish
- Plastic or wood-cutting board
- Chef's knife
Store leftovers covered in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The casserole freezes well for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat covered in a 350°F oven for about 20-30 minutes or until it reaches 165°F.
Common questions about this recipe
Orzo is a quick-cooking pasta that does not need to be boiled. Therefore, I would not recommend substituting a different pasta.
Yes, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
A cozy apple crisp is the perfect ending to this cozy meal!
I hope you try this recipe! Please rate it and comment below. I love hearing from you! ❤️Print
Chicken, orzo, and pesto casserole is a cozy, baked dish featuring tender chicken, orzo pasta, and basil pesto creating a flavorful and comforting meal. There won't be any complaints at dinner when you serve this meal.
- 2 cups baby spinach, prewashed
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves (2 teaspoons), finely diced
- ½ shallot, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (1 ⅓ cups) dry orzo pasta
- 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
- 3 cups (14 ounces) diced cooked rotisserie chicken
- 4 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Stack spinach leaves and slice into thin shreds and set aside.
- Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 square ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray.
- In the baking dish combine, olive oil, diced garlic cloves, shallots, dried basil, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and ground pepper. Stir in orzo and pesto.
- Pour chicken broth into the dish and stir until combined.
- Place the spinach on top. Don't stir into the orzo mixture.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until most of the water has been absorbed.
- Stir in chicken. Taste the orzo. If it is not cooked add ⅓ cup chicken broth or water.
- Distribute cheese on top.
- Bake an additional 10-12 minutes until the cheese is lightly brown and the casserole reaches 165°F.
- If the cheese is not brown, place it under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Watch it closely so it does not burn.
- Let rest for 5 minutes and serve.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 378
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 773.5 mg
- Fat: 13.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 31 g
- Protein: 32.6 g
- Cholesterol: 58.6 mg
Keywords: Chicken, Orzo, Pesto, One dish, Easy
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