Chicken and Orzo Salad with Peanut Dressing – a quick and easy, super flavorful pasta salad.

You will love this Chicken Pasta Salad

This chicken and orzo salad is super quick and super easy to prepare – and is super delicious, too! While the orzo is cooking, chop the roast chicken, green onions, cilantro and jalapeño pepper. Then, while the pasta is cooling, whisk up the deeply flavorful dressing – comprised of soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar and dark sesame oil. (My mouth is watering just writing this!) Mix it all together and dinner is ready –  in around 20 minutes from when you put the pasta on to cook.

I also love the versatility of this dish. Sometimes I add cooked and cooled snow peas or shelled edamame, and/or mix in some chopped roasted peanuts to amp up the peanut flavor and add a bit of crunch. It’s also good with seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes.

How to serve Orzo Pasta Chicken Salad

Serve this dish on a hot summer night together with our Chilled Tomato Dill Soup and homemade bread – like mom’s Anise Bread (in my cookbook Fresh Tastes). Finish the meal with some light and refreshing Berry Cream Parfaits. YUM!

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Chicken Orzo Pasta Salad

This main dish salad recipe is super quick and easy to prepare. Chop while the pasta cooks, mix the dressing while it cools. Dinner in 20 minutes! Great for picnics and potlucks, too.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings 1x




  • 8 ounces uncooked orzo
  • 1 pound roast chicken (I use purchased rotisserie), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 bunch green onions (around 5), chopped (white and some of the green part)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 medium to large jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded, deveined and minced

Peanut Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (not fresh ground or old fashioned)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cup dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


  1. Cook orzo in boiling salted water until al dente (8 to 10 minutes). Drain and transfer to large mixing bowl.
  2. Stir in 1/4 cup sesame oil and mix well. Stir in chopped chicken, green onions, cilantro and pepper. Set aside.
  3. For dressing, in a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar and whisk to combine. (If your peanut butter is very thick, you may need to mash it with a salad fork to get it to combine.)
  4. Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Note: Can easily be increased to serve up to 20 people.

Make ahead: Pasta salad can be made one day ahead, covered and refrigerated.

  • Author: by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: main dish salads, make ahead, picnics potlucks

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About the author

Hi, I'm Lee.

I am inspired by my mother, Sally’s, love of cooking and entertaining to gather friends and family together over great meals and conversation. In fact, I held my first dinner party at the age of 16. Throughout the years, I’ve provided recipes, menu advice and cooking tips to friends seeking uncomplicated and delicious ideas for home entertaining.

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