This creamy AIP/Paleo One-Pan Chicken and Orzo with spinach recipe makes a hearty weeknight dinner. Juicy skillet chicken thighs bake together with grain-free orzo for a comforting one-pot meal that’s dairy-free and gluten-free.
This savory gluten free chicken thighs with orzo and spinach dish is a cozy and delicious one-pan meal!
I used grain-free orzo pasta for an AIP/paleo and gluten-free version of this classic dish. Cassava orzo is rice-shaped like traditional orzo made from semolina, and adds a similar, creamy and starchy texture.
Like my baked gluten-free One-Pan Chicken Thighs with Apples, the trick to getting these crispy skillet chicken thighs juicy and tender on the inside is to first pan-sear them on the stovetop, then bake them in the oven. You’ll need to use a cast iron skillet or another oven-safe pan that can safely transfer from the stove and withstand high heat.
The spinach, cassava orzo and herbaceous, crispy chicken are cooked in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, chicken bone broth, and coconut milk which lends a rich creaminess, without the dairy! Don’t worry, it doesn’t impart a strong coconut flavor. A squeeze of fresh lemon over the entire dish adds a bright and refreshing final touch!
Ingredients for AIP/Paleo One-Pan Chicken and Orzo
- bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs – for the most flavorful, crispy and juicy chicken.
- olive oil
- seasonings – a blend of dried oregano, dried thyme, dried basil, sea salt, garlic powder and onion powder. If substituting dried with fresh herbs, double the amount listed in the recipe card.
- yellow onion and garlic
- sea salt
- apple cider vinegar
- coconut milk – adds creaminess in lieu of cream or butter. I recommend full-fat coconut milk, from a can.
- chicken stock or bone broth – if following AIP, ensure ingredients are compliant. Note that I use sodium-free bone broth, so keep this in mind when adding the salt called for in this recipe.
- grain-free orzo – this gluten free pasta keeps this recipe paleo and AIP-compliant.
- spinach – or substitute with another leafy green like kale or chard. Frozen spinach will release too much water so I don’t recommend this substitution.
- lemon juice
- fresh herbs to garnish (optional)
how to make gluten-free chicken and orzo
Making one-pan AIP/paleo chicken and orzo is simple once you follow these easy steps:
Step 1: Prepare the chicken and preheat oven
Marinate chicken thighs with olive oil, herbs and spices. While chicken marinates, preheat oven to 400F.
Then, add olive oil to skillet and sear chicken on both sides. Remove from pan.
Step 2: Prepare the orzo and spinach
- Sauté aromatics.
- Add liquid ingredients and let simmer.
- Stir in orzo and spinach leaves, then bring to a boil.
Step 3: Bake chicken thighs and orzo in oven
Return chicken to pan and nestle on top of the orzo and spinach. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature of 165F) and liquid is absorbed.
Finally, squeeze lemon over entire baked dish and garnish with fresh herbs (optional).
Chicken and Orzo Tips
- Shorten the marination time.
- If you’re really pressed for time, marinate the chicken for less than the recommended 20 minute minimum. Of course, the longer it marinates, the more flavorful it will be! If you’ve got the time, marinate it overnight and keep it in the fridge!
- Use a cast iron skillet or other type of oven-safe pan that can transfer from stove to oven, and withstand high heat.
- Prepare and serve this dish immediately.
- This dish is best served hot, fresh from the oven. I don’t recommend refrigerating or freezing it because it won’t reheat well.
- If you don’t plan to make and serve this right away, cook the orzo separately from the chicken so that you can undercook the orzo so it won’t be mushy when reheated.
- Squeeze additional lemon juice on individual servings to sharpen the flavors and adjust salt to taste.
how to serve this dish
These one-pan chicken thighs with cassava orzo and spinach are a complete one-pot meal, and are a great lunch or dinner main dish.
If you’d like, add a seasonal side salad like this Herbed Cauliflower Salad or this Refreshing Cucumber Salad. Or, pair with more vegetables like this Grilled Asparagus with Orange or these AIP Sautéed Tatsoi Flowers.
What is Orzo?
Orzo is a small, oval, rice-shaped pasta traditionally made from flour like semolina. The orzo in this recipe is made from cassava flour and is a gluten-free and grain-free version of traditional orzo that is AIP and Paleo.
Can I substitute the orzo with another type of grain and gluten-free pasta?
I haven’t tested this AIP/Paleo Chicken and Cassava Orzo recipe with another type of grain-free pasta and don’t recommend substituting it. The ingredient amounts and cook times are tailored to using orzo. If you’re looking for other grain-free pasta recipes, try my Balsamic Mushroom Pasta or my AIP Pasta Carbonara.
Can I use chicken breasts for the skillet chicken?
I haven’t tested with other variations of chicken but if you do substitute them, note that the cook times will vary. Ensure chicken is cooked through by checking the internal temperature is at least 165F.
Can I make this chicken and orzo with frozen spinach?
Frozen spinach will release a lot of water which may affect the overall texture of the dish. If substituting fresh spinach, use another leafy green like swiss chard, kale or baby bok choy. Other vegetables like asparagus, broccoli and mushrooms can be added to this dish.
Can I freeze this dish?
This dish is best prepared and served fresh. I don’t recommend freezing this dish.
You’ll love these other One-Pan Gluten-free Chicken Recipes
- Homemade Chicken Nuggets
- Sheet Pan Paleo Sweet and Sour Chicken and Vegetables
- Gluten-free Chicken Piccata (AIP, Paleo)
- Easy One-Pan Roasted Chicken with Spring Vegetables
- Paleo Crispy Orange Chicken
More AIP/Paleo and Grain-free Pasta Dishes to enjoy
- AIP Sweet Potato Lasagna
- Spaghetti and Meatsauce
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- AIP Hand Rolled Pasta
- Sweet Potato and Spinach Ravioli
- Leek and Fennel Risotto
If you loved this AIP/Paleo One-Pan Chicken and Orzo recipe I would appreciate it if you would give it a rating and review. Be sure to snap a picture of the finished product and share it with me on Instagram by tagging @healmedelicious and using the hashtag #healmedelicious.Print