A delicious ‘puttanesca-style’ chicken orzo bake. Orzo may look like rice, but it’s actually pasta in the shape of large rice grains.

It works really well in soups and stews, and even as an alternative to rice in a risotto. This delicious balance of carbs, protein and healthy fats is also packed with minerals.

Perfect to replenish depleted energy and electrolyte levels after a tough day on the bike.


  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 6-8 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or rosemary
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsps balsamic vinegar
  • 10-15 kalamata black olives
  • 2 tbsps capers, rinsed
  • 250-300g orzo pasta
  • 250ml hot chicken stock

To serve

  • Handful fresh parsley
  • Green salad


  • STEP 1

    Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C Fan. Using a flameproof casserole dish or frying pan over a medium heat, fry the garlic slices in a splash of olive oil, turning over frequently until the slices are light brown on both sides. Set aside.

  • STEP 2

    Add another splash of oil, season the chicken and brown. Transfer to oven for 20mins until skin is golden. Transfer chicken to a plate.

  • STEP 3

    Fry the onion gently in a splash of oil until soft, stirring frequently. Add the herbs, chilli flakes, tomatoes, vinegar, olives and capers, and bring to the boil. Add the stock, then stir in the orzo for 30secs. Check for seasoning.

  • STEP 4

    Nestle the chicken back in the dish, skin side up. Bake for another 20mins. Remove and leave for 5mins to rest. Scatter with parsley and the garlic slices and serve with a green salad.


3 ways with orzo

Get fishy

Swap the chicken for cod steaks; just brown the cod in step 2 and set aside, adding it back to the pan in step 4.

Add beetroot

Finely slice an onion and garlic and saute until soft; stir in a pack of beetroot, orzo, vegetable stock. Season and bake for 20 mins until the orzo is cooked.

Go veggie

Swap the chicken for mozzarella cheese – arrange slices over the one pot at stage 4 and cook until the orzo is cooked and the mozzarella is melted.


Kate PercySports nutrition cook and author

Sports nutrition cook and keen amateur athlete Kate Percy set up the #GoFaster campaign in 2009 and, following the publication of several sports nutrition books, now produces a range of all-natural energy balls, Go Bites (