I was at Trader Joes with my daughters this morning. I love it for the fresh fruits and veggies and my girls love finding Sandy the squirrel and earning their lollipop so when it’s on our list of errands, nobody minds.
Walking down one of the aisles, my three year old picked out a bag of Orzo and tossed it into the cart when I told her it was basically Italian rice. She’s my most adventurous eater of the group and will try almost anything. So her willingness to try Orzo got me thinking about having a beautiful Greek salad for lunch; but I kept thinking and while I’m at it, why not just chop extra veggies and get all my dinner prep done while I’m already making lunch? And apparently orzo has more protein per serving than brown rice so this is a healthy, meatless and nutritious dinner go-to.
So that’s how my Vegetarian Dinner Idea for Day 3 came to be. I wish I could say it was all part of my crazy meal planning journal moment over the weekend, but sometimes inspiration strikes and you just gotta go with it.
Luckily I already had most of the ingredients on hand, so I just picked up my Romaine lettuce and orzo from Trader Joes and an extra tub of crumbled feta. You can crumble your own, but the liquid it’s in gives me weird vibes and its’ already such a moist cheese, so I break my own shred-your-own-cheese rule with feta every time. And have you checked the expiration date on your feta lately? It not only tastes great, but will almost outlive you too, which makes it a great cheese choice for the health-conscious and busy chef, who maybe doesn’t always troll for expiration issues in the fridge. Perk!
And if orzo with vegetables doesn’t sound like it has enough oomph to hold down the “dinner” title, you can add a nice filet of salmon on the side (like I’ll do for my husband with tonight’s dinner) or add Chik’n-there are lots of brands to choose from and it may take some trial and error to find your favorite.
Hands down, my absolute favorite Chik’n to add to wraps or meals, like my Orzo with veggies, is Quorn Chik’n Tenders. They go great with almost anything you’d add chicken to and just think of the possibilities-Chik’n salad, Chik’n gyros, Chik’n with Thai rice, the list goes on. And the Quorn brand will definitely be making a few appearances as we go along with these Vegetarian Dinner Days so keep checking back for ways to use them.
Our HEB and Trader Joes carry them which is nice because I don’t have to stop at a specialty food store. If you read my earlier posts you know I’m not a fan of fussy dinners that require use-them-once-and-you’re-done ingredients.
The Quorn Chik’n is meatless, soy and gluten free and also made with non-GMO ingredients. They come fully cooked so you just heat them up. They’re low in fat and carbs and have 10 grams of protein per serving, so you can feel great about using it as your main meat-substitute. I don’t use meat-substitutes often-I prefer to stick with mostly fruits and vegetables-but these are great little add-ins if your meal needs a little more heft.
So I’ve got your Meatless Monday (or any day of the week!) covered with my warm Orzo, Feta and Vegetable Dinner! And if there are any leftovers it makes a fabulous lunch the next day too! You can top it with the creamy Greek yogurt dressing below courtesy of Once Upon A Chef, or top it with your favorite vinaigrette or just simple Ranch dressing if that’s your thing. Plus this comes together SO quickly there are literally no excuses to not having a healthy dinner even on the busiest of weeknights. Enjoy!
Warm Orzo with Vegetables, Feta and Chik’n
- Quorn Chik’n Tenders (1 package)
- 1 16 oz bag Orzo
- 1 tablespoon purple onion (unless it’s date night)
- 1 jar banana peppers (mild or spicy)
- 1 container Feta cheese, crumbled
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 seedless cucumber
- A fistful of pitted Kalamata olives
- 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Place Chik’n tenders on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a toss; bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until they start browning on the edges; remove from the oven and set aside;
- While the Chik’n is cooking, start your salted boiling water and cook the orzo per the package directions to al dente (it should have just a bit of bite to it);
- While the pasta and Chik’n are cooking, start rough chopping all of your vegetables;
- (For the Creamy Greek Yogurt Dressing) In a mason jar, combine 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; put the lid on the mason jar and give it a good shake. This dressing, in the mason jar, is good in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Now to assemble: In a large bowl, combine the warm orzo, Chik’n tenders and vegetables; top with the Feta and Kalamata olives and toss to combine; drizzle on your desired amount of the creamy dressing and dig in!
If you make my Warm Orzo with Vegetables, Feta and Chik’n tag me on Instagram @howtosuburb so I can see how it turned out! And don’t forget to check back tomorrow for my (meatless) Tuesday meal!