Photo: Johnny Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
Hands-on Time
35 Mins
Total Time
35 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 2 cups)

Combine 4 cups romaine lettuce with 2 tablespoons chopped red onion and bottled vinaigrette for a quick side.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken. Sauté 6 minutes, turning to brown all sides. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Step 2

Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add orzo; cook 8 minutes or until orzo is al dente. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.

Step 3

Add reserved cooking liquid, chopped tomato, tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and peppers to skillet; cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add chicken, pasta, and 3 cups spinach leaves, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; sprinkle with cheese.

Ratings & Reviews

**No Way** do you need this much orzo!

March 12, 2016
The recipe is a pretty good, easy and quick dinner as long as you use approximately half of the recommended orzo.  Makes enough sauce, isn't bland (as other reviewers commented), and is still a filling meal with serving four.  I reworked the nutritional data with only 6 oz orzo and found it to be more in line with other Cooking Light recipes.  The original is close to 500 calories and with refined carb pasta to boot!  I did add a bit of garlic to the tomato mix and once added red bell peppers as I needed to use one up.I have attached the new nutritional data...

KathleenLee's Review

December 17, 2013

jgray88's Review

March 19, 2013
Like other reviewers said- this is a bit bland. I did add a few things to spice it up a little bit, including: frying garlic (2 cloves) before adding tomatoes (stolen from another reader), adding red wine to the tomato mix, adding some dried basil at the end- but the orzo-tomato ratio was just way off! Next time I would do an extra tomato and tomato paste, as well as spinach. I think this recipe does have a lot of potential and is great for busy nights (it took me less than 30 minutes)

mae4181's Review

February 17, 2013
This one is just okay. It's not bad, but it's also not great. I didn't have a problem eating it, or its leftovers, but it's also not one that just stands out with me as being fantastic. Will not make again, especially when there are so many other recipes to try. I made this as the recipe directed, and I will say that my 4-year-old niece really liked it.

Karen243's Review

February 10, 2013
Only used about 1/2 of the recommended orzo. Yummy though.

MaryTuerk's Review

January 06, 2013

acopeland's Review

January 02, 2013
I didn't understand how this recipe would work without garlic, so I added it. I haven't had the recipe as is - but with the garlic (sauteed with the chicken) my whole family (even a finicky toddler) enjoyed it. So I would recommend it - but with the added garlic because it did seem that it could be a bit bland without it. I also cut down on the red pepper flakes to make it less spicy to a child. But it was a really easy weekday dinner that was good for the whole family - and that's what I look for (tasty & easy recipes.)

LizzieKat's Review

December 07, 2012
This was very easy and tasty. I really wonder about your tastebuds, folks, when you describe a dish like this as "bland." Plain reduced fat feta and the salt & peppers gave this dish great flavor, in my (not so) humble opinion. I am always unsure about measuring spinach. I bought a 5 oz prewashed package and could have used all of it. I will make this again for a weeknight dinner.

jayric's Review

November 01, 2012
I'll make this again but I'll add garlic. When making this I added dried basil as well as some left over tomato sauce. It was definately lacking flavor even with the added basil.

cheerios019's Review

October 30, 2012
Definitely bland, even with the red pepper flakes. Feta was the only bit of flavor in the dish. If you like to tinker & experiment, this is a good base recipe.