Lemon Orzo Bake

4.75 from 16 votes

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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

Common Questions

Can I use any pastina (small pasta shape)? 

Yes, you can use any pastina that you have on hand.

Can I use chicken breast?

Yes, you can use any cut of chicken, just make sure it’s cubed evenly for even cooking. 

Can I prep this the night before?

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

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.
4.75 from 16 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Servings: 1
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Equipment

oven-safe glass Pyrex bowls (4 cup capacity) (linked below)

Ingredients 

The Chicken:

  • 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

The Orzo:

  • 3 tablespoons orzo
  • pinch of salt
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted broth (vegetable, chicken, beef, or whatever your preference)
  • cup finely chopped zucchini

Additional Ingredients:

  • ½ tablespoon grated parmigiano cheese

Instructions 

  • 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!

Video

Notes

 
Food Scale CANADA Link: Food Kitchen Scale
Food Scale USA Link: Amazon.com: Food Scale 
Glass Tupperware CANADAAmazon.com: Pyrex Oven Safe Tupperware
Glass Tupperware USAAmazon.com: Pyrex Storage 4 Cup Round Dish
NOTE: the lids are NOT oven-safe so please bake it uncovered.

Nutrition

Calories: 329kcal, Carbohydrates: 16.1g, Protein: 35.5g, Fat: 7.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

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9 Comments

    1. Definitely! I would use firm tofu and press it between two heavy plates to eliminate some excess moisture, or use store-bought pre-marinated tofu.

  1. This looks delicious and I want to try and make this but I am not a fan of zucchini, can I use a different vegetable instead

  2. I’d love to make a family sized casserole of this recipe- can you advise quantities for a casserole pan and if that works?

    1. Hi Laura, I would multiply the ingredient quantities by however many people you want to feed, and cook in a large oven-safe dish that accommodates all the ingredients in a shallow, flat manner. You don’t want to pile the ingredients up high, or else the dish won’t cook evenly. Cook according to the temperature and timing of the recipe, but know that you made need to add up to 15 minutes more of cook time for a larger serving.