Grecian Delight Casserole
- 1 cup orzo (use wheat/gluten-free if needed) whole wheat if available
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium zucchini quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 tsp. dried dill or use 1 Tbsp. fresh
- 1 lb. ground lamb, turkey, or meatless crumbles
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 8 oz. tomato sauce
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- In a large saucepan, cook the orzo according to the package directions until it is al dente. Drain it.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large (2-quart) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat.
- Add the zucchini and onions and cook them until the onions are translucent and the zucchini is tender-crisp, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the dill and transfer the vegetables into the baking dish. Stir in the cooked orzo and spread evenly in the dish.
- Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet and brown the meat, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks.
- When it is almost browned, add the cinnamon, salt, and garlic powder and mix evenly, then add the tomato paste and tomato sauce, and stir it until the mixture is bubbly and the meat is cooked through.
- Pour the meat mixture over the vegetables and orzo, and top it evenly with the cheese.
- Cover the casserole tightly with aluminum foil and bake it for 20 minutes (alternatively, you can refrigerate it for up to 2 days or freeze it for up to 3 months at this point). Serve it hot, making sure to get all the layers in each serving, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it up for to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Directions
- Reduce the orzo to 3/4 cup. Add all the ingredients except the orzo and cheese to the slow cooker. If the tomato sauce you are using is very thick, add 1/2 cup water.
- Cook on low for 8 – 10 hours or on high for 4 – 6 hours. Approximately 30 minutes before serving add the (uncooked) orzo to the slow cooker, stir to combine, then top with feta and cover and continue to cook it for the last 30 minutes. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)
Instant Pot Directions
- With lid off, set the Instant Pot to SAUTE, then sauté the onions, garlic, lamb until the lamb is soft, but still slightly pink (optional).
- Turn the SAUTE function off and add the remaining ingredients except for the cheese. Add 1 cup water or broth and stir well.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 3 minutes and then use Quick Pressure Release. Sprinkle the cheese on top and let sit for a few minutes until the feta is melted.