Rachel Cooks

Orzo Salad with Chicken, Watermelon and Feta

This Orzo Salad with Watermelon, Feta and Chicken is refreshing and filling at the same time. Healthy and enjoyable, your whole family will love it.

Orzo Salad with Chicken, Watermelon and Feta | RachelCooks.com

Warning: I’m squeezing in as many summer recipes as humanly possible before fall is in the air. And I do love fall! I’m just not a blogger that is so great at doing Christmas recipes in July and summer recipes in January. I like to eat fruits and vegetables that are in season and taste good, so that usually means that summer recipes always run a bit into fall and fall recipes into winter…and winter into spring. But hey…there’s always next year. Pin it, bookmark it, print it…whatever you prefer. Make it when the mood strikes!

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This orzo salad pairs watermelon and feta, which I absolutely love. Add in chicken which has been marinated in watermelon juice, lime and honey, and you’ll come up with a salad that the whole family loves. My husband was very skeptical of the watermelon in here (said he’d prefer it on the side), but the second time he ate it, he said “You were right, the watermelon is really good in here.” Converting the skeptics…it’s what I do.

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The chicken is flavorful and moist due to a marinade of pureed watermelon, lime juice and garlic. The marinade is then reduced and basted over the chicken during cooking (or grilling!). You could leave that step out should you want to dirty one less pan and simplify the process, but it makes the chicken even more tasty.

Enjoy!

 

Orzo Salad with Chicken, Watermelon, and Feta

Yield: 4 main dish servings

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes

This Orzo Salad combines whole wheat orzo, juicy watermelon and flavorful marinated chicken. Your whole family will love this salad. Great for picnics too!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chopped watermelon, divided
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups whole wheat orzo
  • 4 ounces reduced fat crumbled feta cheese
  • about 2 cups chopped cucumber
  • ~2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. In a blender, add 2 cups chopped watermelon, lime juice, honey, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil and pepper. Puree until smooth. Pour into a zip-top bag with chicken breasts and let marinate at least two hours.
  2. When ready to assemble salad, take chicken out of the fridge. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade. Bring marinade to a boil in a small saucepan and boil until slightly reduced, or about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook chicken under broiler, on grill, or in a grill pan. It should take about 15-20 minutes depending on how hot your broiler/grill is. The last few minutes, baste often with the sauce/marinade. Cook until chicken is cooked through. Let cool slightly before slicing into thin strips.
  4. While the chicken is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Let cool (stick in fridge if need be).
  5. Combine pasta, watermelon, chicken, feta, and cucumber in pasta bowl. Drizzle with remaining olive oil (3 tablespoons) and the balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine all ingredients. Taste and add more oil/balsamic/salt/pepper as you see fit.

Chicken adapted from Skinny Mommy

Verdict: Loved this! I was secretly sad when my husband ate the leftovers.
Husband’s take: He ate the leftovers, always a good sign.
Changes I would make: None.
Difficulty: Easy!

   

30 Responses to “Orzo Salad with Chicken, Watermelon and Feta”

  1. Jennie @themessybakerblog — August 16, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I’m with you. I love eating my fruits and veggies when they’re at their peak of freshness. This salad looks wonderful. I love orzo.

    • Rachel Gurk — August 18th, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

      Thanks Jennie! Who wants to eat gross produce when you can have the juicy flavorful stuff, right?

  2. Tieghan Gerard — August 16, 2013 at 9:00 am

    This is gorgeous, Rachel!! I love watermelon salads!

    • Rachel Gurk — August 18th, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

      Thanks Tieghan!

  3. steph@stephsbitebybite — August 16, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I love all the different textures and flavors in here!

  4. Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — August 16, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I’m always hesitant about adding fruit to my meals. (strange I know) I will have to try out this combo and step outside of my comfort zone.

  5. Ali | Gimme Some Oven — August 16, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I’m going to pretend it’s summer for as long as I possibly can!!! This salad looks wonderful!

  6. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — August 16, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I love watermelon salads in the summer! This one looks wonderful!

  7. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — August 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I am horrible about being ahead of schedule as well – I have a couple zucchini recipes coming next week, and I am rather proud they making it before October! Gorgeous salad – I love anything with orzo lately.

  8. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — August 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Such a fun dish! I’d never think to put these flavors together.

  9. Christina — August 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Awesome idea for a salad. My daughter loves watermelon and chicken so I bet she’d eat it too!

  10. The Candid RD — August 16, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    What a fabulous combination of flavors!! Watermelon and feta was something I did last summer, in a salad, but with chicken and orzo? I’m diggin’ it!

  11. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — August 17, 2013 at 1:46 am

    I am loving the flavors in this!

  12. momofnine — August 17, 2013 at 5:28 am

    This looks terrific. The chicken by itself sounds great. The salad is perfect for summer. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you.

  13. Julia — August 17, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I love that this is in a watermelon marinade!
    Also, yaaaaa, I’m not a ‘Christmas in July’ kinda blogger either. It annoys me that stores will have out Halloween decor soon!

  14. Tahnycooks — August 18, 2013 at 7:56 am

    This salad intrigues me in a good way!! I have seen watermelon salads before but never with a meat in them! I have to try this!!

  15. Beverley — August 18, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    I also love added the sweetness of fruit to my vegetable dishes. This recipe shouts summer. Gorgeous recipe. Love Beverley xoxo

  16. laurasmess — August 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

    This looks delicious. So summery, vibrant, healthy and yum! Thanks for the recipe. Definitely going to try it. Watermelon with feta and lime is an absolute winner x

  17. Kim | Just For Clicks — August 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Rachel — Having recently gotten back online… So glad to catch up on your blog. This recipe caught my eye as I’m hosting a brunch on Friday. This would be a great thing to make for it (pinning it now). Also thinking it would make for a healthy lunch option for me now that I’m on my own again for lunches since school has started! :) Hope you are doing great. Looking forward to your posts again…..

    • Rachel Gurk — August 20th, 2013 @ 2:39 pm

      I didn’t even recognize you at first! Love the new site look — so fun! Welcome back to blog land. ;) Hope you’re doing well too! xo

  18. Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — August 21, 2013 at 8:16 am

    ohmygosh. this sounds fantastic! I love watermelon, cucumber, and feta together! This is amazing! Im starving and wish I had a big bowl of it right now!
    Im also terrible about planning recipes ahead, Ill be enjoying Summer foods well into September Im sure! ;)

  19. Lisa — August 23, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Wow, I tried this last night with a few friends and everyone loved it! Although I knew that watermelon, feta and balsamic pair well, I was dubious about adding the pasta and the chicken – but it worked! This has definitely become a new summer favorite and a great way to make an entrée out of watermelon salad.

    • Rachel Gurk — August 23rd, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Lisa! So glad you liked it.

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