I don't have much to say about this meal other than it's delicious and very healthy! However, if you're not a fan of spinach, you might want to pass on it. The pasta salad is great hot or cold, when eating leftovers, if it's dry, you can add a splash of olive oil and vinegar to moisten it. This will also make leftovers of meatballs, which canbe eaten on a sub, or sliced on a pizza, or added to a lasagna (see Resolution helper, sub it for the sausage).
Spinach Chicken Meatballs and Orzo Pasta Salad
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. ground chicken breast
1 box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup parmiggiano reggiano cheese
1 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup marinara sauce (optional)
½ lb. orzo
4 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1 can quartered artichoke hearts in water
5 sundried tomatoes in olive oil
10 Spanish olives, sliced
2 roasted red peppers, sliced
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 red onion, diced
2 oz. herbed goat cheese, crumbled
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt heavily.
Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium. Add 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil. In a mixing bowl, add chicken, spinach (separate with fingers), bread crumbs, egg, ¼ cup parmiaggiano reggiano, oregano, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Gently toss with fingers to incorporate. If mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs a few tablespoons at a time. Shape meatballs into golf ball sized balls and drop into skillet. Brown on the first side, flip, and continue to cook until meatballs are browned.
Heat marinara sauce over low in a sauce pot.
While meatballs cook, add orzo to boiling water and cook 6-7 minutes.
While pasta cooks, prep all other vegetables, but leave on the cutting board in little piles. Chiffonade spinach leaves, and add to theserving bowl. Drain pasta, and dump on top of spinach to help wilt spinach, but not fully cook it. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add all other pasta salad ingredients on top of orzo and toss. Plate meatballs and top with marinara or serve on the side, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
(This is the orzo pasta salad ingredients all prepped, waiting for the spinach to wilt a little)
chiffonade – this word is often used to describe cutting basil, but can be used with any leafy item. Take a bunch of leaves and roll them into a log, then slice thinly to create what looks like confetti. I use about 20 spinach leaves at a time and slice them a little thicker than I would basil.