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Labor Day Orzo and Chicken Pasta Salad

Labor Day is the perfect excuse to grill out with friends and family. This holiday, put a new spin on traditional grilled chicken by offering guests a healthy grilled chicken salad instead. This labor day, serve up something light yet satisfying with this Orzo Chicken Pasta salad recipe!

My mom and I have made this colorful recipe for countless events and guests always ask us to share the recipe, without fail! The peppery arugula and sweet dried cranberries are the perfect contrast to the savory chicken and pasta—making this dish great for any occasion!

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • pound of orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil for salad, plus 3
  • tablespoons for orzo pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (like Craisins)
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts (to toast walnuts: bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 12 large, fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cups arugula or baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Marinate chicken breasts in Italian dressing for 2-plus hours. Grill chicken, cool and cut into bite sized strips.

Cook orzo pasta according to directions. Spread strained pasta onto a cookie sheet so it can cool completely. Drizzle and mix 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil onto pasta to prevent it from sticking together.

Chop walnuts into large pieces.

Lightly chop basil leaves.

Once pasta is cooled, mix all remaining ingredients (including ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil) together in a large bowl and stir.



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