Our challenge this week is all about connection. One of my favorite ways to connect is over a shared meal.
There’s nothing quite like coming together, eating delicious food, and talking and laughing for hours – or even just 30 minutes over a quick lunch! Food can bring us together in so many ways.
This week, I’m featuring a family-style Greek-influenced menu that’s sure to please a crowd!
I’ve got a salad option, a crock-pot dish, and a one-pan skillet meal that will make your weeknight dinner prep super simple, and leave lots of time to connect with those you love.
While there are so many Greek and Mediterranean inspired dishes that I love, these are some great options for the warm summer months.
You don’t have to turn on your oven for any of these dishes! Even better, these recipes are loaded with veggies, herbs, and spices making them super nutrient-dense.
Oregano is a common ingredient in Greek and Mediterranean dishes. Oregano is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Manganese, Iron, Vitamin E, Tryptophan, and Calcium.
Fresh oregano is a great antibacterial agent. It has phytonutrients (thymol and carvacrol), which fight infections such as staph, and has many antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and fight oxidation in the body.
Oregano oil has also been known to help fight inflammation. You’ll also find dill, mint, and parsley in these recipes – and each of these herbs has powerful antioxidant and nutritional properties as well.
Each of these dishes is also versatile and can be adapted with your favorite protein or veggies.
I hope you’ll choose a couple of these recipes to make this week, and take time to connect with those around you for a healthy, flavorful meal!
Cucumber & Tomato Salad
Dill & Garlic Dressing:
- 1/2 cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Dill, minced
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 pound Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, cut in half (OR about 3 large Tomatoes, seeded & chopped)
- 1 pound Cucumbers (approximately 2 large or 4 small), peeled & diced
- 1/2 cup Kalamata Olives, drained, pitted, & chopped
- 1/2 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons Fresh Dill, chopped (for garnish)
For the Dressing:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, fresh minced dill, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until thoroughly blended. Alternatively, you may measure the ingredients into a jar, tighten the lid, and shake until incorporated or blend together in a blender or mini food processor.
For the Salad:
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta. Whisk or shake the dressing and pour over the top. Toss together until all of the ingredients are evenly coated.
- Cover the salad and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving. Stir well, garnish with dill, and serve with a slotted spoon to drain off any excess dressing.
Notes: Don’t tolerate dairy? Simply omit or use sheep’s milk feta or goat cheese.
Crock-Pot Greek Chicken CauliRice Bowls
Slow Cooker Ingredients:
- 4 large Chicken Breasts, trimmed and cut into lengthwise strips
- zest and juice of 2 Lemons
- 1 T Greek Seasoning
- 2 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp. Greek Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Fresh-Ground Black Pepper
Cauliflower Rice Ingredients:
- 2 10 oz. bags Frozen Cauliflower Rice, partly thawed (or see below to make with fresh chopped cauliflower)
- 1 large Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small Onion, finely chopped
- 1 T Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tsp. Greek Seasoning
- Salt and Fresh-Ground Black Pepper to taste
Greek Salsa Ingredients:
- 3 medium Cucumbers, chopped
- 1 cup chopped Cherry Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup chopped Kalamata Olives (or Black Olives)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped Red Onion
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- Juice of half a Lemon
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Trim the chicken and cut each piece lengthwise into 2-3 strips (depending on how large the chicken breasts are.)
- Grate the zest and squeeze the juice from the lemons, then whisk the zest and juice together with the Greek Seasoning, olive oil, Greek oregano, and black pepper to make the cooking sauce.
- Spray the slow cooker insert with olive oil or non-stick spray, put the chicken in the bottom, and pour the cooking sauce mixture over.
- Cook on high for about 3 hours, or until the chicken shreds apart easily with a fork. (If you prefer, cook the chicken, about 5 hours on low.)
- When the chicken is done, use a slotted spoon to remove it to a cutting board, leaving the flavorful sauce in the slow cooker.
- Shred chicken apart with two forks, put it back in the slow cooker, and stir gently so the chicken is coated with sauce.
- Keep chicken warm on the low setting while you prep the other ingredients.
- Take cauliflower rice out of the freezer and let it thaw on the counter while you cook the chicken. You can also use 1 large head cauliflower, leaves cut off and chopped or grated or processed into “rice” sized pieces. For the freshly chopped cauliflower rice, trim the cauliflower and discard the leaves. If you’re using a food processor to chop up the cauliflower into “rice,” first cut the cauliflower (including the stems) into small pieces. Then pulse the cauliflower pieces using the steel blade in the food processor until it’s finely chopped.
- Finely chop the green pepper and the onion.
- Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, add the green pepper and onion, and cook about 3 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown.
- Add the Greek seasoning and cook 1 minute more; then add the chopped cauliflower and cook, turning a few times, until the cauliflower is starting to soften and brown, about 3-4 minutes. (I prefer the cauliflower rice with a little crunch to it, but you can cook longer if you want it really soft.) Season the cauliflower rice with salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
- Chop the cucumbers, tomatoes, Kalamata olives (or black olives), and red onion. Put those chopped ingredients in a bowl. Add in the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste, and gently stir to combine.
- To assemble the bowl, put some of the hot cauliflower rice in the bottom of a serving bowl. On top of the rice put a generous scoop of the shredded lemon chicken from the slow cooker, and then top that with a scoop of the Greek salsa mixture.
- If you have leftovers, you can keep the shredded lemon chicken in the fridge for a day or two and reheat in a pan or in the microwave. For the Cauliflower Rice and the Greek salsa mixture, I would make that fresh each time when you’re eating the leftovers.
Best One-Pan Greek Chicken
- 1-2 lbs. chicken thighs or breast, chopped
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 4 Tbs. high-quality olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes OR 1 can of chopped tomatoes, drained
- 1 can of quartered artichokes, drained
- 1 can of pitted Kalamata olives, drained
- ¼ cup capers, drained
- Feta cheese (optional)
- 2 Tbs. Basic Greek seasoning OR use the homemade blend listed below
Homemade Greek seasoning blend (use approx. 2 Tbs.)
- 1 Tbs. oregano
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- pinch of lemon zest
- 2 tsp. dried parsley
- ½ tsp. dried mint OR pinch of fresh mint
- Marinate the chopped chicken in the lemon juice and 2 Tbs. of the olive oil for 30 minutes.
- Heat a skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Once hot, add chicken and stir until cooked through. (Add more olive oil if needed.)
- When chicken is cooked, remove from skillet. Pour out any accumulated liquids.
- Add the second 2 Tbs. olive oil to the skillet. Give it a moment to warm up, then
- Add the chopped onion and sauté until soft and translucent (a few minutes).
- Add the minced garlic and sauté just until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Add chicken, drained tomatoes, drained artichokes, drained olives, drained capers to the skillet and stir to combine.
- Add spices and stir to combine.
- (At this point, if you do dairy, add the goat feta and stir.)
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