Copycat Zoes Kitchen Orzo Salad with Mediterranean Chicken

Recipes

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I recently walked into Zoes Kitchen and found myself a little taken aback that it was packed. Wall-to-wall packed.

Somehow, I had thought Zoes was a bit of a secret. I maintained this thought long after they opened a second location in Scottsdale, long after everyone I knew ate there, even after I found out that Zoes Kitchen had over 50 locations all over the U.S…

Yet for once, I didn’t really seem to mind the sort-of corporateness that is Zoes. I can’t say I haven’t struggled with it, but in the end I decided that it doesn’t really doesn’t matter, because everything is so good, like so incredibly good that I don’t care. Read: hooked.

Regardless of my personal business ethics, the orzo salad is indisputably phenomenal. It’s mixed lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and feta tossed in a lemon olive oil dressing. Being a big protein fan, I usually add grilled shrimp and zucchini or grilled chicken. It’s really the best!! And no, I’m not endorsed by Zoes, although I am open to the idea. Hayy!

I found myself again craving this salad this evening, when I realized I had most of the essentials at hand. Besides the orzo, which weirdly enough took me three grocery stores to find. Since I was missing some ingredients, like cucumber and olives, I made some substitutions but all in all, they didn’t make a huge taste difference. It was my first time cooking orzo, and I am definitely a fan of this quick & easy dinner solution!

ingredients:

2 small tomatoes
Spinach, arugula, salad mix (optional)
Feta Cheese
Orzo
Two large lemons
Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Rosemary
Olive Oil
Capers, or Olives
Cucumber
Chicken (or any other protein)

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Place Orzo in boiling water. Around a cup would have been suffice! I of course, made way too much – I always underestimate the growing power of carbohydrates. Orzo will cook for exactly 9 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop tomatoes, cucumbers (not pictured) and marinate the chicken in a bad – recipe listed after orzo recipe.

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While the orzo is boiling, make dressing. 1/4 cup fresh lemons, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

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Drain orzo, transfer back to pot and mix in dressing. Allow to cool.

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Mix orzo with tomatoes, capers or olives, and more lemon to taste.

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Mix feta! I think cheese always deserves an exclamation point. Always.

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Oh la la. Allow to cool while you cook the chicken!

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Place chicken in a bag with chopped garlic…

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…dried or fresh rosemary, red pepper, salt, pepper, and capers

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Close bag and allow to marinate at room temperate for at least 15 minutes. Heat pan to high and add olive oil.

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Sear chicken on high for 5 minutes

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When chicken is done cooking, remove to cutting board and slice.

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Place hot chicken over room temp orzo & serve immediately, with wine 🙂

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One thought on “Copycat Zoes Kitchen Orzo Salad with Mediterranean Chicken

  1. This dish you explained above def should be good. My favorite dishes are Mediterranean and my favorite one to cook is Mediterranean pasta.

    Mediterranean pasta with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichokes, feta cheese and a few other ingredients.. I’m sure you’d love it and it’s fun to cook and learn.

    Provided the recipe below in case you’d like to give it a try… or for your help, I could cook it for you, 😉

    Ingredients
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced diagonally
    1 (8 1/2-ounc) jar sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (1 cup)
    2 tablespoons garlic, minced
    1 pound fresh angel hair pasta
    1/4 cup fresh basil
    1 (8 1/2-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, quartered and drained (1 cup)
    1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted (1/4 pound)
    6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    2 teaspoons dried oregano
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions
    Boil water for pasta in a pasta pot, fitted with a strainer. Heat oil (instead of using olive oil, I would just use the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes – it gives it way more flavor) in a skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken strips until no longer pink — about 3 minutes each side. Add sun-dried tomatoes (I’d slice them into thinner pieces(long way)) and garlic to skillet. Saute for 2 minutes. In the meantime, add the fresh pasta to boiling water, cook until al dente, about 5 minutes.

    Your then going to add the basil, artichoke hearts, olives and feta cheese to the skillet. Saute 1 minute then stir in the cream. Strain the pasta and transfer to a large pasta bowl. Add the chicken saute to the pasta and toss. Season with oregano, salt and pepper before serving.

    Let me know what you think Jax 😉

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