Broccoli Cheese Orzo with Chicken is a quick, simple, balanced meal that comes together in one pot using leftover chicken (or turkey).
After the past couple of weeks, y’all were probably starting to wonder if I would ever share a non-Thanksgiving recipe again. Well, today’s your lucky day! Because while I originally devised this one-pot meal as a quick way to get dinner on the table while incorporating leftover chicken, that chicken could be easily substituted for another variety of poultry that will very soon be in excess supply. Gobble, gobble.
That’s right, folks…when you find yourself looking for different ideas to use up that leftover Thanksgiving turkey in a little over a week, I’ve got just the recipe for you! Making it only requires a handful of common ingredients, one pot, and under 30 minutes. And you end up with a balanced meal (think carb, veggie, and protein), to boot!
When I call this recipe simple, I mean simple. Just chop up your broccoli and toss it into a big pot of boiling water with some orzo pasta. The broccoli and orzo will cook at the same time, after which you’ll stir in grated cheddar, Parmesan, and diced chicken or turkey. Season to taste and voilà…an effortless, well-balanced meal in no time!
The recipe is pretty basic, so feel free to change it up to your liking. Incorporate a variety of veggies or swap out cheddar for your favorite cheese. Jazz it up with different herbs or seasonings. Leave out the chicken/turkey for serving it as a side dish or a vegetarian meal option. Change up the type of pasta that you use. Think of this recipe as a template for a quick and easy meal and let your creativity (or the about-to-spoil contents of your refrigerator) dictate how dinner turns out!
So tuck away this recipe for post-Turkey Day — or for any day that you find yourself needing speedy supper inspiration come 5:00 — and enjoy!
Broccoli Cheese Orzo with Leftover Chicken or Turkey Recipe
Broccoli Cheese Orzo with Chicken (or leftover turkey)
- 8 ounces orzo pasta
- 3-4 cups coarsely chopped broccoli
- 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken or turkey
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Set a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Season with salt (or a bouillon cube...see notes below) and add orzo and broccoli. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until orzo is to desired tenderness.
- Drain into a colander and return orzo and broccoli to pot. Stir in cheddar, Parmesan, and diced chicken/turkey. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.
- Instead of salting the pasta water, I like to give the recipe more flavor by seasoning it with a spoonful of Organic Chicken (or Vegetable) Better Than Bouillon (which is chicken/veggie base that can be substituted for a bouillon cube).
- Be sure to coarsely chop the broccoli. If it's finely chopped, you will lose a lot of it through the colander when you drain the pasta and broccoli. Alternatively, you may cut it into florets and forgo the chopping.
- Boiling the broccoli with the orzo will render it pretty tender. If you prefer your broccoli on the crisp side, boil the orzo alone and only add the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking time.
Use different types of cheese (or add more cheese).
Add additional flavorings (such as a teaspoon of mustard, or a pinch of nutmeg, or chopped fresh parsley, or a pinch of red pepper flakes, etc.).
Omit the chicken for a vegetarian option.
More Recipes to Use Up Leftover Chicken or Turkey
- King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Salad with Apples & Cashews
- Creamy Dreamy Chicken Enchiladas
- Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Dip