My meal prep lemon orzo bake is a game changer for healthy weekday eating. This is the ultimate one-pan, “set it and forget it” meal. It takes a few minutes to prep, 40 minutes to bake, and lasts in the fridge for up to 3 days. It’s endlessly customizable, from the seasonings and veggies used, to the quantity of chicken, which can be increased to meet specific protein goals. There is nothing better than coming home from an exhausting day of work or a tiring workout and finding this meal ready to be reheated and enjoyed.
Why You’ll Love My Lemon Orzo Bake
This is a complete meal, with lean protein from boneless skinless chicken thighs, carbs from orzo (a glutenous pasta shape like rice), and fiber and nutrients from zucchini. You can use chicken breast instead, but I prefer thighs for their superior flavor and juiciness. Because this dish brings so much ease and simplicity to my weekday menu planning, I often bake multiple servings at a time in individual serving-size dishes.
How To Prepare:
This lemon orzo bake can be prepped and baked directly in an oven-safe dish; I cooked in oven-safe glassware which I could easily pop a lid on and store in the fridge. And for the finishing touch, a dusting of parmesan completes this perfect meal. Let us know how you customize this dish in the comments below!
Variations and Substitutions for Lemon Orzo Bake:
There are so many different ways you can adjust this lemon orzo bake recipe:
- You can use boneless, skinless cubed chicken breast instead of chicken thighs if you prefer white meat.
- The finely chopped zucchini can be replaced with broccoli, bell peppers, or a combination of all three.
- Try using pastina (small pasta shapes, such as ditalini, quadreti, or little stars) instead of orzo
Best served with
- This would go well with a salad like my Simple Green Salad.
- My Cheesy Roasted Garlic Bread would be an excellent complement to this dish.
- If you want to add more veggies to your meal, my Roasted Sweet Potatoes are a perfect match.
- If you’re looking for more green, my Sautéed Broccoli with Feta would be a great choice.
Yes, you can use any pastina that you have on hand.
Yes, you can use any cut of chicken, just make sure it’s cubed evenly for even cooking.
You can absolutely get your ingredients ready the night before but I would assemble them the day of cooking so that the orzo doesn’t absorb the liquid overnight.
Meal Prep Lemon Orzo Bake
- oven-safe glass Pyrex bowls (4 cup capacity) (linked below)
- 5 ounces cubed boneless skinless chicken thighs (1/2 cup)
- 1 ½ tablespoons plain yogurt
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- juice of 1/4 lemon
- ½ teaspoon dry oregano
- salt, to taste
- 3 tablespoons orzo
- pinch of salt
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons unsalted broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, or whatever your preference)
- ⅓ cup finely chopped zucchini
- ½ tablespoon grated parmigiano cheese
- NOTE: this recipe makes one portion but feel free to make as many as you like in individual OVEN-safe glass Tupperware. I like to make enough for two days. Calories and macros will depend on the brands you use, so for most accurate results use My Fitness Pal or the Lose It app.
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
- Add the orzo to the bottom of your oven-safe dish. Add the salt, lemon juice, and broth. Add the zucchini and stir.
- Add the chicken to a bowl with the yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, dry oregano and salt to taste. Mix well.
- Add the chicken on top of the orzo mixture and stir everything together. Add a sprinkle of parmesan on top and bake for 40 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked (white meat and clear juices throughout; no pink).
- NOTE: the lids on Pyrex are NOT oven-safe so please bake uncovered.
- Remove from the oven, fluff up the orzo, and enjoy!