Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken

Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
35 min
4 servings

If you love risotto but want something quicker, this simple orzo takes half the time. Rich cheese and cream are switched out for tangy Greek yogurt and goat cheese for equally satisfying creaminess. Sweet green peas, fragrant fresh tarragon and basil scream spring–though this dish is a year-round classic. Get your fork–and appetite–ready.



cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
large clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
tsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
boneless, skinless chicken thighs
cup whole-wheat or other whole-grain orzo
cup frozen petite peas, thawed and patted dry
ounce finely crumbled goat cheese, at room temperature
tbsp fresh herbs, chopped such as basil
tbsp chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and tarragon


Step 1

Bring a pot of water to a boil; prepare a grill or grill pan for medium heat.

Step 2

Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a medium bowl until well combined. 

Step 3

Rub the chicken thighs with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill until nicely marked and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for at least 5 minutes. 

Step 4

Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions for al dente, stirring in the peas during the last minute of cooking. Drain the orzo and peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir the orzo and peas into the yogurt mixture, along with the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons of the herbs and at least 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid, until well combined. Transfer to a platter. 

Step 5

Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon herbs.

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