This one-pot healthy cajun chicken orzo is packed full of veggies and ready in 30 minutes. Plus: only one pot to wash up!
One-pot pasta is one of my favorite weeknight meals, not just because it produces fewer dishes, but also because the pasta absorbs SO much flavor as it cooks in the sauce. While we love this One Pot Spinach Artichoke Pasta and this One Pot Sausage Pasta, this one-pot healthy cajun chicken orzo has been on repeat lately!
This one-pot healthy cajun chicken orzo is secretly PACKED full of veggies! With bell peppers, zucchini, snap peas, onion, diced tomatoes...but it is so creamy and tasty that it's not evident right away.
Ever since I discovered that one-pot pasta is not only easy but it is actually WAY MORE DELICIOUS, I have barely cooked it any other way.
Why is it more delicious cooked this way? For one reason, the pasta absorbs a ton of flavor as it cooks. And also, the starch from the pasta adds a certain creaminess to the rest of the dish that tastes like you've added cream when really you haven't.
Reasons to ♡ Cajun chicken orzo:
- everything cooks together in one pot
- it’s simple to prepare and can be ready in under 30 minutes
- it is a vegetable-heavy healthy dinner
Ingredients we'll need
- Orzo- small, rice-shaped pasta. You'll need 8 oz uncooked orzo, which works out to 1⅓ cups roughly
- Cooking liquid- chicken stock adds extra flavor, though water is fine. Try using homemade bone broth for added nutrition
- Diced tomatoes- juices included. 15 or 19 oz both work
- Vegetables- bell peppers, zucchini, snap peas, and red onion chopped into small pieces
- Chicken- I've used chicken breasts. Make sure you cut them small (½ inch) so that they cook through at the same time as the orzo. You may swap for boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Cajun seasoning- I've used Club House brand, which is quite mild. Some cajun seasoning can be quite spicy, so taste before adding and err on the side of caution (you can always stir more in at the end)
- Parmesan cheese- I highly recommend using freshly grated parmesan for this recipe
How does one-pot pasta work?
One-pot pasta involves cooking the pasta right in the sauce. This simplifies the cooking process and reduces the number of dishes for us to wash up. For this recipe, we place the orzo, chicken stock, diced tomatoes, vegetables, chicken, and seasoning into a pot all together, and simmer until the chicken and pasta are cooked through (roughly 15 minutes).
As the orzo cooks, the starches help thicken the sauce, as does the parmesan cheese added at the end of the cooking time.
It's absolutely critical that you stir the orzo every 2-3 minutes while it cooks. This ensures that the orzo at the bottom of the pot does not stick and burn and that the pasta will cook through evenly, Make sure to replace the pot lid each time you stir and do not leave the lid off for extended amounts of time to prevent liquid from evaporating.
If you notice the orzo sticking to the bottom of the pot, turn the heat down slightly so it is lightly simmering and not violently boiling.
Meal Prep + Storage Tips
This one caveat to orzo is that it does not keep as well as other pasta shapes. Here are some tips:
- Fridge- store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Reheat- heat *gently* in the microwave or in a pot. This means, do not use high power and do not stir vigorously. This orzo can become quite delicate after sitting in the sauce for a few days.
- Freezer- orzo does not freeze/that well. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
More healthy and delicious dinner ideas
- Kale Chicken Pasta Salad
- Healthy Greek Chicken Pasta Salad Recipe
- Chicken Caprese Pasta Bake
- Orzo Pasta Salad with Mint + Feta
- One-Pot Black Bean Fajita Pasta
- Sun-Dried Tomato One Pot Pasta
- One-Pot Sausage Pasta
One Pot Healthy Cajun Chicken Orzo
- 8 oz uncooked orzo 1 ⅓ cups
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 19 oz can of diced tomatoes + juices see note 1
- 2 bell peppers diced
- 1 cup zucchini diced
- 1 cup snap peas cut into small pieces
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 chicken breasts cut into ½ inch cubes, see note 2
- 2 tablespoons cajun spice see note 3
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- Combine all ingredients except the parmesan in a large pot.
- Bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every 3 or so minutes, or until pasta is cooked through.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese, and serve.
- Fridge– store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Reheat– heat *gently* in the microwave or in a pot. This means, do not use high power and do not stir vigorously. This orzo can become quite delicate after sitting gin the sauce for a few days.
- Freezer– orzo does not freeze/that well. I do not recommend freezing this recipe.