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Mediterranean Chicken and Orzo

Written by Gabi Meltzer, Registered Dietician. May 2024



This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal while the weather is still warm enough, or great for lunch preparation.


Potential additions: olives, different roasted seeds/nuts, a creamy yoghurt based dressing instead of this one, different legumes e.g. chickpeas, chilli


Vegetarian/vegan alternatives: Leave out the chicken to make it vegetarian, and the feta too to make it vegan.


Serves about 4-6


Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 mediterranean Cucumber, chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

About 1/4 cup mixed pumpkin and sunflower seeds

1.5 cups dry orzo

1 tsp chicken stock

2 tbsp dried oregano

olive oil

1 cup fresh mint, chopped

1 bunch of asparagus

100g crumbly feta

1 tin cannellini/butter beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, chopped


Dressing

Juice of 1 large lemon

1 -2 tsp maple syrup

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp olive oil

Cracked salt and pepper

To serve: garnish with more lemon juice


Directions:

1. Marinade the chicken strips in olive oil and dried oregano

2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the stock. Once boiling, add the orzo and cook for about 8 mins or until al dente. Add the asparagus for the last 2 minutes of cooking and then remove with tongs and run cold water over them. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

3. Chop up the vegetables, herbs and feta and add to a serving bowl with the cooled orzo and beans.

4. Air fry the seeds on 180 degrees C for about 5 minutes- until just toasted. Once cooled - add to the orzo

5. Make the dressing and toss over the orzo

6. Cook the chicken strips in a pan over medium -high heat for about 2-3 minutes a side, or until golden on the outside and cooked through

7. Serve the chicken strips on the bed of orzo and squeeze more lemon juice before serving. I also added chilli crunch to top off :)


This balanced and easy weeknight/lunch meal provides an opportunity for a few different colours of the rainbow- providing more than 10 different plant sources in one meal :) It is a perfect meal for a warm evening or for batch making lunches.

It is a great goal to add more plant diversity into the diet over the week. Research shows that including 30 different plants per week really increases diversity of the gut microbes in comparison to those who consume 10 plant foods per week.


This does not have to be perfect by any means, but striving more towards diversity of colours and a variety of plant foods from nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, herbs, spices, olive oil, fruit and vegetables can dramatically transform the microbiome and aid in more energy, better digestion, skin and confidence :)


For personalised guidance on making nutritious and satisfying food choices that suit your individual needs, book a consultation here: https://www.gabimeltzerdietician.com/book-online.

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