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Chicken Orzo Salad with Avocado-Lime Dressing
The creamy quick-blend dressing is just the thing to top this inspired Southwest pasta salad. Both can be made a day ahead. Enjoy this 1-to-1 recipe.
- ⅔ cup dried whole wheat or regular orzo pasta
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken breast
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup snipped fresh cilantro
- ½ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
- 1 small avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut up
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ teaspoon finely shredded lime peel
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- To prepare salad: In a medium saucepan, cook orzo according to package directions, adding corn during the last 1 minute of cooking; drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well. In a large bowl, combine orzo mixture, chicken, tomatoes, and cilantro. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare dressing: In a blender or food processor, combine 1 small avocado, seeded, peeled, and cut up; ⅓ cup water; ½ teaspoon finely shredded lime peel; ¼ cup lime juice; 4 cloves garlic, minced; ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper; and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Transfer dressing to a small bowl. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
- To serve, drizzle salad with dressing.
- To make ahead: Prepare salad and dressing as directed and refrigerate in separate airtight containers for up to 24 hours. Toss salad with dressing just before serving. To pack for lunch: Prepare salad and dressing as directed. After chilling, spoon 1 cup of the salad into an airtight container; cover. Spoon ¼ cup of the dressing into a small airtight container; cover. Transport salad and dressing in an insulated lunch box with ice packs and hold for up to 5 hours. To serve, drizzle salad with dressing.
Nutrition information: Serving size: 1 cup salad & ¼ cup dressing Per serving: 321 calories; 10 g fat (3 g sat); 7 g fiber; 30 g carbohydrates; 30 g protein; 50 mcg folate; 64 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 834 IU vitamin A; 17 mg vitamin C; 94 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 439 mg sodium; 544 mg potassium
Recipe: Eating Well