This is a great quick recipe that’s got everything you need for a complete dinner, all cooked in one pot. Plenty of vegetables, with risoni/orzo and chicken. Tastes like risotto – loaded with tasty lemon-garlic Greek flavours!
One-pot Greek chicken risoni
Patience has never been my greatest virtue, so I shared many personal favourite recipes back in the early days when I first started this website in 2014. Every now and then, I like to revisit these older recipes and bring them to the forefront with sparkling new photos (that are in focus, wow!) and recipe videos where the chicken doesn’t have a weird green-ish/yellow tinge.
I have no embarrassment about my photos and videos from the early days because it reminds me how far I’ve come. But I do think it’s nice to spruce up these old recipes for your viewing pleasure – and hopefully convince you to try them. Like today’s new-old recipe: Greek chicken risoni! Complete dinner made in one pot, nice and quick to make, loaded with tasty Greek flavours.
What you need
Here’s what you need to make this Greek risoni recipe.
1. The risoni / orzo
Risoni is actually a pasta that is shaped like long grains of rice. Also known as “orzo”, find it in the pasta aisle. It costs around the same as spaghetti etc.
Risoni / orzo – See notes above the photo.
Chicken stock / broth and canned tomato – These are the liquids used to cook the risoni. Better than water because the risoni absorbs the flavour as it cooks!
Tomato paste – This adds a little boost of tomato flavour to the sauce, as well as thickening the sauce slightly so you end up with that really lovely oozy texture in the finished dish. Not the end of the world if you don’t have it.
Vegetables – I use zucchini / courgette and capsicum / bell pepper. Feel free to substitute with other sauté-able vegetables (carrot, beans, peas, fennel, corn, celery, frozen veg mix).
Also, if someone could arrange for the global standardisation of food words, that would be super helpful. Thanks! 😂
Onion and garlic – Flavour base aromatics.
Cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes – I like to scatter across the surface before popping the dish in the oven. Love the juicy pops of tomato that burst in your mouth!
2. Lemon garlic chicken
A brief marinade of the chicken with classic Greek flavours makes the chicken that much tastier! Here’s what you need:
3. Garnishes (semi-optional)
I say it’s “semi-optional” because while you can skip the fresh oregano, the feta is highly, highly recommended!
How to make one-pot Greek chicken risoni
This recipe starts on the stove and is finished in the oven. I like this technique because it’s safer/easier – no need to stir – and the surface gets caramelised which means extra flavour. Anyone who’s made the fan-favourite One Pot Greek Chicken with Lemon Rice will know this method works well!
Marinade chicken in the lemon, olive oil, garlic and oregano. Just 20 minutes adds decent flavour into the chicken flesh.
If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the marinade, there’s plenty of flavour in the overall dish and the chicken will absorb flavour as it braises with the risoni. If you want to get ahead, you can marinade the chicken overnight – or even freeze the chicken in the marinade. So many options! 🙂
Brown chicken – Use a large ovenproof skillet / frying pan, or large pot. The one I’m using is a 30cm / 12″ non-stick frying pan.
Cook the chicken, just to seal the outside and lightly brown it. It will only take about 2 to 3 minutes. Don’t cook the chicken all the way through as it will finish cooking with the risoni.
Sauté aromatics and vegetables – Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the pan. Then sauté the garlic and onion, followed by the zucchini and capsicum.
Add everything else – Add the risoni and stir to coat in the tasty flavours. Then add everything else – canned tomato, tomato paste, chicken stock, salt and pepper – and stir to combine.
Top with chicken and cherry tomatoes but don’t stir them in.
Oven 15 minutes – As soon as the liquid starts to bubble, transfer the pan to the oven (no lid) and cook for 15 minutes or until the risoni is tender.
Garnish and serve – Remove the pan from the oven. There should still be small pools of liquid on the surface. This is what we want – the dish should be oozy and saucy, not dry and stodgy!
Drizzle the dish with lemon juice, crumble over the not-optional-feta then sprinkle with the optional-fresh-oregano. Then serve!
LOOK how juicy and irresistibly oozy it looks. It’s calling your name!
Spoon into bowls, and marvel how it looks just like your favourite risotto. Except, well, you know. You haven’t been slaving over a hot stove for 40 minutes, ladling in stock and stirring, stirring, stirring.
Leftovers, should there be any, will keep for 3 days but won’t be as oozy as pictured because the pasta will absorb the liquid. A little splash of water before you microwave goes a long way to salvage it, as does a fresh sprinkle of feta and spritz of lemon juice (I find lemon juice flavour fades with time).
Hope these sparkling new photos and in-focus-video convinces you to make this!! – Nagi x
PS The Ingredients list in the recipe below looks deceptively long. But actually, there are quite a few double ups because of the way I write the recipe. So don’t be put off! 😉
Watch how to make it
One Pot Chicken Risoni
Lemon Garlic Chicken
- 1 lb / 500g chicken thighs , boneless skinless (or breast), cut into 2 cm / 1" pieces
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 small onion , finely chopped
- 2 zucchini (medium, or 1 large) , cut into 1cm / 1/3" cubes (Note 1)
- 1 red bell pepper/capsicum , cut into 1cm / 1/3" cubes (Note 1)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 1/2 cups chicken broth/stock , low sodium
- 14 oz / 400g canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups orzo/risoni (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes (1 Australian punnet)
- 1 tsp cooking salt (kosher salt)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice , drizzling at end
- 1/2 cup (100g) Greek feta cheese , crumbled (not optional)
- Fresh oregano leaves (optional)
- Marinade chicken – Combine Marinated Chicken ingredients in a bowl and set aside for marinate for 20 minutes. (Skip if in hurry, can also do overnight)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan).
- Brown chicken (raw inside) – Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a a large oven proof skillet or pot over high heat (Note 3). Cook chicken until lightly browned but still pink inside. Remove from skillet.
- Sauté vegetables – Add 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic and onion. Saute for 1 minute, then add zucchini and bell peppers/capsicum. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add everything else – Add risoni, oregano, chicken broth, tomato, tomato paste, salt and pepper.
- Scatter chicken and cherry tomatoes across the surface (don't stir in).
- Bake 15 minutes – Once the liquid comes to a simmer, transfer to the oven (no lid) and bake for 15 minutes (or until risoni is just cooked, tender but still firm). There may be liquid on the surface still – that's good!
- Drizzle with lemon – Remove from oven, drizzle with lemon juice. Garnish with feta and fresh oregano leaves, if desired, then serve.
Originally published January 2016. Spruced up with brand new photos and recipe video in February 2021 with minor recipe improvements (mainly process and writing). But most importantly, Life of Dozer section has been added!
More risoni / orzo recipes
I do love risoni! So quick to cook, tastes like risotto.
Life of Dozer
NO, he’s not being adorable, cuddling up to me. He’s trying to get to my toast on the other side.