Tuscan Chicken Meatballs and Orzo

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings

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This Tuscan Chicken Meatballs and Orzo is an easy one pan meal the whole family loves! With sun dried tomatoes, garlic, Italian herbs, Parmesan, spinach and homemade chicken meatballs, it’s loaded with flavor!

overhead image of tuscan chicken meatballs with pasta.

You’ll also love this One Pan Chicken Meatballs with Orzo, this One Pan Tuscan Orzo with Chicken and this One Pan Sausage and Rice!

This post is generously sponsored by Maple Leaf Foods and I was compensated for my time spent creating this recipe. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Recipe Rebel possible!

This one pan Tuscan Chicken Meatballs and Orzo combines two of our favorite things: all of our favorite tuscan flavors from this Crockpot Tuscan Chicken and this Marry Me Chicken, and juicy and flavorful homemade chicken meatballs.

We are meatball fanatics here, so I consider myself a bit of a connoisseur — these meatballs made with Maple Leaf Prime Raised Without Antibiotics Ground Chicken are some of the best.

And the fact that they all cook together with al dente orzo pasta and a creamy, tomato-y tuscan sauce? A definite win. Ground chicken is a versatile protein that takes on all of that flavor!

This meal brings my family to the table faster than any other!

overhead image of tuscan chicken meatballs and orzo on a blue plate with fork.

Why we love this one pan meal:

  • One pan: less clean up is always better, right? Every component of this meal is cooked to perfection without any other pots or pans needed — which means less cleaning and more time soaking up that family time!
  • It’s a full meal deal: protein, carbs and veggies all in one dish means I don’t have to worry about cooking up side dishes to complement.
  • Meatballs! Like I said, they’re a big deal here! If I put meatballs on the table, the whole family is happy.
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Chicken Meatballs Ingredients:

tuscan chicken meatball ingredients with maple leaf prime ground chicken package.
  • Maple Leaf Prime Raised Without Antibiotics Ground Chicken: one of our favourite proteins to use to make these Homemade Meatballs (yes, they turn out great with ground chicken and turkey!). They take on all of our Tuscan flavors wonderfully.
  • Bread crumbs: help to bind our meatball ingredients and soak up excess moisture so they hold together.
  • Parmesan: adds the best salty, cheesy flavour!
  • Milk: works with the bread crumbs to hold our ground chicken mixture together — you can also use water or non-dairy milk.
  • Egg: also works to bind our ingredients. You can substitute with a flax egg if necessary.
  • Fresh parsley: I love the pop of flavor and color from fresh parsley, but you can skip it if you need and add in 1 teaspoon of dried parsley.
  • Italian seasoning, salt, onion powder, pepper: to add flavour!

Tuscan Orzo ingredients:

ingredients needed for tuscan chicken meatballs and orzo recipe.
  • Sun dried tomatoes: one of the main components in our Tuscan-inspired chicken dishes, sun dried tomatoes add mild, sweet and tangy tomato flavour.
  • Tomato paste: just a little bit to bump up the tomato flavour!
  • Garlic: freshly minced is best, if you’ve got it.
  • Salt, oregano, black pepper, red chili flakes: I recommend starting with the listed amount of seasonings, and then tasting at the end and bumping up the salt or spice to your tastes as needed.
  • Broth: I use low sodium or no salt-added chicken broth. You can also use vegetable broth. If you use salted broth, you may want to reduce the added salt and adjust at the end.
  • Orzo: One of my favorite pastas for one pan dishes because they don’t clump together! You can use any small pasta here.
  • Cream: heavy cream adds a bit of richness — you can substitute with lower fat cream if necessary but the sauce may be thinner.
  • Parmesan: we add Parmesan to our sauce as well for more of that cheesy flavour!
  • Spinach: a pop of something fresh and green to round out our meal.

How to make One Pan Tuscan Chicken Meatballs and Orzo:

Here are some step by step photos to guide you! You’ll find the complete recipe down in the pink recipe card.

  • Combine meatball ingredients in a large bowl — don’t overmix!
  • Shape meatballs into balls about 1-1.25″ thick.
  • Sear meatballs in a pan on medium-high heat
  • Toast tomatoes, tomato paste, herbs and seasonings to wake up the flavours.
  • Add the liquids, bring to a oil and stir in the orzo.
  • Top with the meatballs, cover and continue cooking until pasta and meatballs are cooked through.

How to store leftover chicken meatballs:

Refrigerator: you can refrigerate leftovers up to 3 days.

Freezer: you can freeze the leftovers, just keep in mind that after thawing the pasta will have a softer texture.

Tips for Reheating

I like to reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave with a splash of water or broth to keep things saucy. The pasta will continue to absorb the sauce as it sits, so this is my favorite tip for reheating any leftover pasta!

overhead image of chicken meatballs with pasta in black pan.

Can I prep the meatballs ahead?

Absolutely! As a busy mom, meatballs are one of my favorite things to have in the freezer for quick weeknight meals.

You can freeze these chicken meatballs either before or after cooking.

To freeze before cooking, simply prep and roll, then place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze for an hour or two just until firm, then place in a large zip-top freezer bag.

Freeze for up to 3 months, and cook right from frozen!

To freeze after cooking, prep the meatballs and either cook in skillet over medium heat (I recommend covering after searing to allow them to cook fully), or bake in a 425 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes until cooked through.

Allow to cool, then place in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the freezer. Freeze for an hour or two just until firm, then place in a large zip-top freezer bag.

Freeze for up to 6 months, and cook right from frozen!

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Tuscan Chicken Meatballs and Orzo

5 from 4 votes
This Tuscan Chicken Meatballs and Orzo is an easy one pan meal the whole family loves! With sun dried tomatoes, garlic, Italian herbs, Parmesan, spinach and homemade chicken meatballs, it's loaded with flavor!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 671cal

Ingredients

Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound Maple Leaf Prime Raised Without Antibiotics ground chicken (454 grams)
  • ½ cup dry breadcrumbs (55 grams)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (35 grams)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley (finely chopped optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil (for the pan)

Creamy Tuscan Orzo

  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon red chili flakes
  • cups low sodium chicken broth
  • cups dry orzo pasta (about 270 grams)
  • cup cream (18%-35% fat)
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Instructions

Chicken Meatballs

  • In a large bowl, stir together ground chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan, milk, egg, parsley, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, onion powder, and pepper. Mix well but don’t overmix. Let sit for 10-20 minutes for the bread crumbs to absorb excess moisture.
  • Roll into 1-1¼” balls.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and sear the meatballs on all sides until golden brown.
  • Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Creamy Tuscan Orzo

  • Add the sun dried tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, salt, oregano, black pepper and red chili flakes to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the broth and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to remove any browned bits. Bring it to a low boil.
  • Stir in the orzo, cream, parmesan, salt, and pepper, and stir. Place the meatballs on top, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until the orzo is al dente. It might look liquidy at first, but it will thicken quickly!
  • Stir in the spinach, taste, adjust seasonings as desired and serve.

Notes

*We love meatballs, so there’s a good amount of meatballs per serving in this recipe. If you prefer, you could increase the orzo to 2 cups and the broth to 3¼ cups to serve more people.
*Baking meatballs: you can also bake the meatballs and add them to the orzo after they are cooked. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Ingredients and Substitutions:

Meatballs: you can use any kind of meatballs here, even pre-cooked frozen meatballs. Simply add them to the pasta at the same place in the recipe.
Orzo: any kind of small pasta works here, but you are aiming for the same cook time since the meatballs need to finish cooking through in the time it takes the pasta to cook to al dente.
Cream: I do not recommend using lighter cream or milk since the extended cooking time can cause it to curdle — 18% or higher fat is recommended.

Storage

Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Allow it to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Make-Ahead & Freeze: The best way to make this recipe ahead of time is to make the meatballs and freeze them to use later on. Freeze them either before or after searing them. Allow them to cool, then put them on parchment paper on a baking tray in a single layer. Flash freeze them, then store them in Ziploc bags in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 350grams | Calories: 671cal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 1486mg | Potassium: 1296mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1452IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 317mg | Iron: 4mg
Keywords chicken meatballs, tuscan orzo

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Caitlin says

    Absolutely delicious! Has such a good flavor and was so easy to make. I baked my meatballs and they turned out perfectly!

  2. Irene says

    This was such a hit with my family!! They absolutely loved it! My husband is picky with meat and when I told him I was making something with ground chicken he made a face! He would stop telling me how much he loved this and to make it anytime!! Thank you!!

  3. Glynis says

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. The menu didn’t seem to say when to add the spinach so I put it in towards the end since it cooks so quickly. Overall, this was an absolute keeper

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi NAN, I think it would but you would need to make sure you have a big enough skillet to cook it in.

5 from 4 votes (1 rating without comment)

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