One Skillet Greek Meatballs and Lemon Butter Orzo.
One Skillet Greek Meatballs and Lemon Butter Orzo with lemony whipped feta and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. The perfect weeknight dinner…simple, hearty, and delicious! Pan-seared Greek seasoned chicken meatballs, cooked together with lemon butter orzo pasta for a complete dinner made in just one skillet. Serve everything over creamy, salty whipped feta cheese. Truly one of those dinners that everyone at the table will love. Great for a weeknight, but fancy and unique enough to serve to guests as well.
You guys, this recipe? It’s one of my favorites of the week. Yes, I say that often, but I honestly mean it each time I say it.
I’m not sure if I mentioned or not, but my older brother Creighton was recently in town visiting. Creighton loves food and he is one of my favorite brothers to be able to cook for. The one thing he really loves? Any kind of meatball. The other thing he really loves? Any kind of Greek food.
Naturally, I put the two together and got this colorful bowl of crispy chicken meatballs, buttery orzo, and salty whipped feta cheese. There’s a lot happening with this recipe, but it’s worth the extra time. And my oh gosh, every bite is truly so delicious. Bonus? It’s all pretty healthy, and simple too.
To make this simple skillet dinner…
Start with the meatballs. I seasoned the ground chicken with shallots, garlic, smoked paprika, and plenty of fresh oregano, then rolled into balls and done. Typically when I make meatballs I keep the mix very simple and opt out of using any kind of egg or breadcrumb. I know this is a little controversial, but I really don’t find the egg or breadcrumbs to be needed, especially with a chicken meatball.
Once the meatballs are formed, the rest is pretty simple. You’ll pan cook the meatballs until crisp on the outside and cooked through inside. This really only takes a few minutes, so the process is quick. Once the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the skillet, then add in a couple of pats of butter and fresh lemon slices. Allow the lemons to caramelize, then toss in dry orzo pasta and some garlic.
Now stop and smell the wonderful smell of garlicky, lemony butter coming from your skillet. It’s very, very good. Let the orzo and garlic cook until lightly golden. Now pour in some water and boil the orzo until just perfectly al dente. Stir in some salty green olives and a handful of fresh dill. Toss the meatballs back in.
And now you’re done. Well, kind of, but not quite…
Let’s talk about the vinaigrette + that whipped feta.
While the orzo is cooking mix up a quick vinaigrette with some sun-dried tomatoes and the olive oil left in the tomato jar. Add in balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. This is your super simple tomato vinaigrette.
Now, the feta. Is this necessary? No, absolutely not. But do you need this? Yes, you absolutely do.
First things first, the feta is easy. If you have a food processor, all you do is whip it with olive oil until creamy. It takes just a few minutes and is worth every bit of extra effort…and even the extra dish to wash. Please trust me on this. Once the warm orzo and meatballs touch the creamy feta, it immediately begins to melt into everything creating a creamy, delicious “sauce”.
It’s the perfect amount of salty, creaminess to balance out all the savory flavors and crispy meatballs.
Finish it up.
Once you have everything all together, spread the feta out, top with orzo, and then the meatballs. Add baby arugula and fresh herbs, then spoon over that tangy vinaigrette.
DONE. It’s not my simplest skillet dinner, but it sure is GOOD. As I said, the feta melts into the orzo and meatballs making everything creamy, but perfectly salty too. It’s the perfect marriage of flavors, crispiness, and creaminess.
It’s fresh, vibrant, full of vegetables, but yet so cozy too. Perfect for these winter days that have us craving a pop of fresh color!
My only recommendation? Serve this dish with some kind of pita. It could be garlic naan, homemade pita, or something from the store. Either way, add some bread. It’s ideal for scooping up all the feta and sauces from this dish.
Looking for other Mediterranean inspired recipes? Try these!
Lastly, if you make this one skillet Greek meatballs and lemon butter orzo, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Watch the How To Video:
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
One Skillet Greek Meatballs and Lemon Butter Orzo with Whipped Feta
Pan-seared Greek seasoned chicken meatballs, cooked together with lemon butter orzo pasta, for a complete dinner made in just one skillet.
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, sliced, plus 3-4 tbs lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup dry orzo pasta
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped, and reserve the oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- arugula and fresh herbs, for serving
- 8 ounces feta cheese
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Add the chicken, shallot, 1 clove garlic, oregano, paprika, and a pinch of red pepper, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Mix until just combined. Coat your hands with a bit of oil, roll the meat into tablespoon-size balls (will make 14-15 meatballs).
2. Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil shimmers, add the meatballs and sear until crisp and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, turning them 2-3 times. Transfer to a plate.
3. To the same skillet, add the butter and lemon slices. Sear the lemon until golden on each side, about 1 minute. Remove the lemon from the pan and add to the plate with the meatballs. To the same skillet, add 1 clove garlic and the orzo. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the orzo toasted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the 2 1/2 cups water and 1-2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often, until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Stir in the olives and dill. Slide the meatballs back into the skillet and cook until warmed through.
4. Meanwhile, make the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. In a bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the balsamic vinegar until combined. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon dill, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
5. To make the feta. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth and creamy. The feta can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
6. To serve, spread the feta onto plates and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Add the orzo, seared lemons, and meatballs. Sprinkle on some greens and herbs. Enjoy!
Whipped Feta: if you prefer you can just crumble the feta cheese over the meatballs instead of whipping it.
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