Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Orzo

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It’s Monday! Hopefully all of you had a fun and relaxing weekend. Monday dinners can be tough while getting back into the weekly routine. We will continue to share easy and healthy Meatless Monday options that everyone, vegans and omnivores, are sure to love.

This week, we are sharing two versions of Mediterranean Orzo. Jess’s vegan version is light and fresh with Greek olives and artichoke hearts while Nikki shares a cheesy shrimp orzo with feta and from-scratch tomato sauce.

Click the link below to get the recipe!

Mediterranean Orzo with Artichoke Hearts & Olives
(VEGAN)

I came up with this dish on a whim once when I was a nanny and scouring for something fast & vegan approved at work. I ended up loving the flavor combination of the garlic, lemon, and vinegar in the olives, and I make it often now. This recipe makes quite a bit so feel free to halve it; and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb box of orzo, about 3 cups
  • 1 12 oz jar of kalamata/greek olives
  • 1 4 oz can of artichoke hearts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • handful of basil leaves
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

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Cook the orzo according to box directions; in boiling water, about 9 minutes.

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While the orzo is cooking, drain and slice your artichoke hearts into bite size pieces.

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Drain the orzo and pour into a large mixing or serving bowl. Add the olive oil, artichoke hearts and drained olives and mix well. Add the spices and basil and mix again. Serve warm!

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Cheesy Orzo with Shrimp, Feta, and Tomato Sauce

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You have been warned, this dish is so addictive! I make it at least once a week for a healthy and fresh dinner option. I chose to top it with shrimp but you could top with chicken or just simply orzo and sauce. I use whole-wheat orzo for a healthy alternative but feel free to use any brand/type of orzo. If you’re unfamiliar with orzo, it is a very light rice-like pasta. This recipe mixes Parmesan, feta and basil into the orzo before topping it off with from-scratch tomato sauce. It may seem a little complicated at first but this dish just requires supreme multitasking. So, pour yourself a glass of wine and let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat orzo
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes with basil in juice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspooon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

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First, prep your ingredients. Chop the basil, parsley, onion,  and garlic. Cut the tomatoes in half here to save yourself some time later. Personally, I like to have everything prepped before I start so I don’t have to stop in the middle of cooking to chop.

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Once your ingredients are prepped, cook the orzo according to the package directions. Meanwhile, prepare a 11×7 (or similar size) casserole dish by spraying it with nonstick spray. Also, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

When the orzo is finished, drain the water and return the orzo to the same pot.

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Add to the pot 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup feta cheese, the Parmesan (1/4 cup), and 2 tablespoons basil. Stir to combine.

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Next, spread the orzo evenly into the prepared casserole dish.

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Next, we’re going to work on the shrimp. It is super easy!

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Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and some of the minced garlic. Sprinkle with  1/2 tablespoon parsley as well as a dash of garlic salt and fresh ground pepper. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the shrimp. Sauté until slightly pink, about 2 minutes (shrimp will not be cooked through).

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Shrimp should look something like this when you take it off the heat. After it is slightly pink, spread the shrimp and the liquid from the pan over the orzo so it is evenly topped.

Next up is the tomato sauce. First, start by heating the remaining olive oil (2 tablespoons) to the same skillet you cooked the shrimp in.

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Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes more, stirring constantly so not to burn the garlic.

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Next add both the diced tomatoes in the juice and the 1 cup cherry tomatoes. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.

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Next, add the chicken broth, wine, oregano, basil, remaining parsley, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, sea salt, and pepper.

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Stir until all the ingredients are evenly combined. Simmer on medium high heat, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, until it turns into a thick sauce. Season to taste and add more salt and/or pepper if needed. Once your sauce is complete, spread it over the shrimp and orzo. Top with remaining feta cheese and bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until it is heated through. Serve and enjoy!

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4 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Orzo

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