One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!

The post One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Welcome to another episode of “How can so few ingredients make such a delicious meal?!” One-pot meals are a miracle, my friends, and this Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is the perfect example. This dish is packed with flavor thanks to a hefty dose of lemon pepper, chicken broth, juicy chicken thighs, and a pop of feta at the end. Plus, it’s fast, easy, and barely anything to clean up afterward. :)

Originally posted 8/5/2015, updated 8/15/2022.

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the skillet with a napkin and parsley on the sides.

What’s in Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

For this skillet meal, I liberally seasoned some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with lemon pepper, then combined it with some orzo, chicken broth, and parsley. Everything gets cooked together in one pot so that orzo soaks up all the flavor from both the chicken thighs and the broth, and not a drop of flavor is lost. It’s so simple, yet so good. Add a quick little side salad with fresh greens and you’ve got a five-star dinner (and very few dishes to clean). Victory!

Can I Use Boneless Chicken?

I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe, but you can use boneless thighs or breasts if you prefer. The chicken will cook a little faster if you use boneless and you might miss out on a little bit of the flavor that comes with bone-in chicken. Also, be aware that chicken breasts do tend to dry out faster than chicken thighs, so the end product won’t be quite as juicy.

Tips for Cooking One Pot Pasta

Getting one pot pasta meals to cook just right can take a little practice, but here are a few tips to make sure your pasta cooks evenly and all the way through without leaving too much liquid behind:

  • Use a heavy or thick-bottomed piece of cookware. Thin cookware doesn’t cook evenly and can leave some pasta undercooked and some pasta overcooked. A deep skillet or Dutch Oven will work well for this recipe.
  • Use a burner that is close in size to the bottom of your pot or pan. If the burner is a lot smaller than the width of the pan, you may have trouble getting the outside edges to cook evenly.
  • Make sure the broth is simmering the whole time. Heat settings on ranges can vary, so you may need to adjust the heat up or down slightly to maintain a simmer in the broth.

Lemon pepper chicken and orzo in a shallow bowl with a fork.

Overhead view of a pot full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo.

One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $7.54 recipe / $1.89 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 612kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken thighs* $3.74
  • 2 Tbsp lemon pepper seasoning $0.60
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 cups chicken broth $0.26
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley $0.20
  • 1.5 cups orzo $1.29
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $1.25

Instructions

  • Blot the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, then season both sides liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 2 Tbsp lemon pepper total).
  • Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add the cooking oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about 6-8 minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. The chicken will be cooked most of the way through at this point but will finish cooking when simmered with the orzo. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.
  • While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic. After removing the chicken from the skillet, turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté the garlic in the residual fat for about a minute.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  • Add the orzo and half of the chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer again.
  • After about 15 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed but there will still be a little sauce in the skillet.
  • Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*I used bone-in chicken thighs with skin, but you could use boneless and skinless, if preferred.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 612kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 32g | Sodium: 715mg | Fiber: 3g

Close up side view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the pan.

How to Make One Pot Chicken and Orzo – Step by Step Photos

Bone-in chicken thighs seasoned with lemon pepper on a cutting board.

Start by blotting four chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Drying them helps the seasoning stick and helps them brown better in the skillet. I used bone-in thighs with skin, but you could use boneless, skinless if desired. Just keep in mind that boneless and skinless thighs are usually a bit more expensive and will cook faster. Season both sides of each thigh liberally with lemon pepper seasoning (about 2 Tbsp total). 

Browned chicken thighs in the skillet.

Heat a large deep skillet over medium. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil. Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down, and let them cook undisturbed until browned (about 6-8 minutes for bone-in skin-on thighs). Flip the chicken thighs and cook until browned on the second side. The chicken will be cooked most of the way through at this point but will finish cooking when simmered with the orzo. Remove the chicken to a clean plate.

Garlic added to the skillet.

While the chicken is browning, roughly chop about 1/4 bunch of parsley and mince two cloves of garlic. Turn the heat down to low, add the minced garlic, and sauté the garlic in the residual fat for about a minute.

Broth being poured into the skillet.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the skillet and stir to dissolve the crispy browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Broth being whisked in the skillet to dissolve chicken drippings.

The broth will turn a deep brown color as the drippings are dissolved into the mixture.

Parsley and orzo added to the skillet.

Add about half of the chopped parsley and 1.5 cups of orzo. Stir to combine.

Chicken thighs added back to the pot.

Finally, return the chicken to the skillet, skin side up. Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low. Let the skillet simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it stops simmering, increase the heat slightly until it just starts to simmer again.

Cooked orzo and chicken in the pot.

After about 15 minutes the orzo should be tender and most of the broth absorbed but there will still be a little sauce in the skillet.

Finished lemon pepper chicken and orzo in the pan.

Fluff the orzo around the chicken a bit with a fork, then top with the remaining parsley and the crumbled feta. And that’s all it takes to make this simple Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo. I could seriously eat this orzo all day long. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Overhead view of lemon pepper chicken and orzo in a bowl.

Try These Other One Pot Chicken Recipes:

The post One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Portobello Fajita Tacos with Chipotle Pecan Pesto

Prepare your taste buds, friends. These umami-filled portobello mushroom fajitas are smoky, satisfying, herby perfection. Inspired by Bouldin Creek Cafe, they’re topped with our 5-Minute Chipotle Pecan Pesto (a fan-favorite also inspired by Bouldin), c…

Portobello Fajita Tacos with Chipotle Pecan Pesto

Prepare your taste buds, friends. These umami-filled portobello mushroom fajitas are smoky, satisfying, herby perfection. Inspired by Bouldin Creek Cafe, they’re topped with our 5-Minute Chipotle Pecan Pesto (a fan-favorite also inspired by Bouldin), creating the ULTIMATE flavorful, plant-based meal! 

These fajitas are perfect for when you’re craving hearty comfort food, and they come together quickly with just 10 ingredients!

Portobello Fajita Tacos with Chipotle Pecan Pesto from Minimalist Baker →

Tomato Rice

Tomato rice is an easy yet flavorful side dish that uses only a few simple ingredients, and it’s sure to liven up any dinner plate!

The post Tomato Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love a big ol’ bowl of hot rice. Rice is filling, cozy, and CHEAP. 🙌 Plus, it’s super easy to add different flavors to rice, so it never gets boring. This easy and flavorful tomato rice uses really simple ingredients that I often have on hand, and it has the most delicious bright yet savory flavor. Plus you can use it as a base for bowl meals, or you can serve it as a side to liven up your dinner plate.

Tomato rice in a bowl with limes and green onion.

What’s in Tomato Rice?

This tomato rice is similar to what a lot of people call Spanish rice or Mexican rice, although I can’t say that my technique is authentic to either culture. It’s simply rice that has been cooked with onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, a couple of spices (cumin and chili powder), and a flavorful broth. So simple, yet SO good! I couldn’t stop taking forkfuls right out of the pot. 😅

What Else Can I Add?

There are a lot of ways you can modify this rice to make it your own. You can swap the vegetable broth for chicken broth for a slightly different flavor, or replace the diced tomatoes with salsa or Rotel. You can also experiment with adding some extra spices, like cayenne or smoked paprika, or even squeeze a little lime juice in with the broth before cooking. Want more vegetables? Try stirring in some frozen peas or diced bell pepper.

I like to garnish the tomato rice with some sliced green onions and lime wedges, but they are not required to make the rice taste great.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer simmer time (2-3 times longer) than white rice. So while I’d need to test this with brown rice before offering exact recommendations, it is definitely possible to make this tomato rice with long grain brown rice.

How to Store the Leftovers

If you plan to use your rice for meal prep or if you want to freeze the leftovers, make sure to divide the rice into single portions before refrigerating to make sure it cools down quickly once in the refrigerator. Once completely cooled, it can be transferred to the freezer for longer storage (make sure it’s in an air-tight container).

The tomato rice can be reheated quickly in the microwave. Add a sprinkle of water or an ice cube before reheating to prevent the rice from drying out.

Close up side view of a bowl of tomato rice.

Tomato Rice

Tomato rice is an easy yet flavorful side dish that uses only a few simple ingredients, and it's sure to liven up any dinner plate!
Course Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine Southwest
Total Cost $2.40 recipe / $0.30 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 1 cup each
Calories 186kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.08
  • 1.5 cups long grain white rice $0.56
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin $0.02
  • 1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes $0.79
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.08
  • 2 cups vegetable broth $0.26
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.03

Instructions

  • Mince the garlic and finely dice the onion. Add the onion, garlic, and cooking oil to a saucepot and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the rice, chili powder, and cumin to the pot. Continue to stir and cook for a couple of minutes more to toast the rice and spices.
  • Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato paste, and broth to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve and spices that are stuck to the bottom.
  • Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and let the broth come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low (or just above low) to bring the broth down to a gentle simmer.
  • Let the rice gently simmer for 20 minutes without lifting the lid or stirring. After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, and let the rice rest for five minutes without lifting the lid.
  • After resting, fluff the rice with a fork to redistribute the tomatoes throughout. Serve hot!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Sodium: 471mg | Fiber: 2g
Overhead view of a pot full of tomato rice with limes and green onion.

How to Make Tomato Rice – Step by Step Photos

Chopped onion and garlic on a cutting board.

Start by mincing two cloves of garlic and finely dicing one onion.

sautéed onion and garlic in the pot.

Add the onion and garlic to a sauce pot with 2 Tbsp cooking oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent.

Rice and spices added to the pot.

Add 1.5 cups long grain white rice, ½ tsp chili powder, and ¼ tsp cumin to the pot.

Rice and spices cooked in the pot.

Cook and stir the rice and spices for a couple of minutes more to slightly toast the rice and spices.

Tomatoes and broth added to the pot.

Add one 15oz. can of petite diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 cups vegetable broth, and ½ tsp salt to the pot. Stir to combine and dissolve any spices stuck to the bottom of the pot. I like to keep frozen tomato paste on hand in one tablespoon portions, just for recipes like this!

Tomato rice before simmering.

Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low (or lightly above low) to bring the broth down to a gentle simmer.

Simmered rice in the pot with tomatoes on top.

Let the rice gently simmer for 20 minutes without stirring or lifting the lid. After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat (lid still on) and let the rice rest for 5 minutes. This is what it looks like after simmering.

Fluffed tomato rice in the pot.

Fluff the rice with a fork to redistribute the diced tomatoes, which float to the top as the rice simmers.

Lime being squeezed over the rice in a bowl.

Serve hot! I like to garnish with a little lime and green onion, but it’s not necessary! The rice tastes great on its own, too. :)

Try These Other Flavored Rice Recipes:

The post Tomato Rice appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Quick Pickled Jalapeños

Ever find yourself with a surplus of jalapeños around (CSA box, anyone)? One of our favorite solutions is quick pickled jalapeños. They’re easy to prepare, last for weeks, and add a delicious kick to quesadillas, tacos, bowls, and beyond! We even…

Quick Pickled Jalapeños

Ever find yourself with a surplus of jalapeños around (CSA box, anyone)? One of our favorite solutions is quick pickled jalapeños. They’re easy to prepare, last for weeks, and add a delicious kick to quesadillas, tacos, bowls, and beyond! We even like them straight from the jar.

This tangy, spicy, versatile condiment awaits with just 1 pot, 6 ingredients, and 10 minutes of hands-on time required.

Quick Pickled Jalapeños from Minimalist Baker →

Chipotle Peach Salsa

Use those fresh, juicy summer peaches to make this sweet and spicy Chipotle Peach Salsa! Goes great with chips, chicken, fish, and more!

The post Chipotle Peach Salsa appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Peach season is in full swing! And if there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s a fragrant and juicy summer peach. And while peach desserts are great, peaches also go fabulously well with savory dishes. For this Chipotle Peach Salsa, the sweetness of the peaches perfectly balances the smoky heat of chipotle pepper, while lime and cilantro keep the salsa light and fresh. You’ve got to try this amazing salsa. Scoop it up with chips, spoon it over your grilled chicken or fish, or pile it onto some rice as part of a bowl meal! 

Originally published 7-30-2010, updated 8-6-2022.

Overhead view of a bowl full of chipotle peach salsa with chips.

What’s in Chipotle Peach Salsa

This fresh (not cooked) salsa is super simple. You’ve got some of the classic salsa ingredients like onion, garlic, cilantro, lime, and salt, but instead of using tomato as the base flavor, we’re using peaches. To balance the sweetness of the peach I’ve added some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which has a spicy and smoky flavor. Then for a little extra zing, I threw in some grated fresh ginger!

Is This Salsa Spicy?

Yes, this Chipotle Peach Salsa is spicy. You can control the level of the heat by adjusting how many chipotle peppers are added. Start with one and just stir in more until it gets to where you like it! If you prefer no heat, simply leave the chipotle peppers out and you’ll have a great classic peach salsa.

What to Serve with Peach Salsa

This salsa is so good you’ll probably find yourself stuffing chip after chip piled high with the salsa into your mouth. But if you want to serve it as part of a meal, try adding the salsa on top of grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp. Fruit also goes quite well with pork, so this salsa would be awesome on some pork chops or a pork tenderloin! It would also make a great add-on to bowl meals, like these Mango Coconut Tofu Bowls or Sweet and Spicy Chicken Bowls.

How Long Does it Last?

Fresh salsas last somewhere between 3-5 days in the refrigerator, but the longevity will depend on the freshness and ripeness of the ingredients. If your peaches are very ripe and soft, like the ones I used today, the salsa will break down a little faster. If the peaches are a little more firm, you may get more of a lifespan out of the salsa. But I love using soft peaches because they create a saucy texture in the salsa as you stir everything together!

Chipotle Peach Salsa on a chip with the bowl in the background.

Overhead view of a bowl full of peach salsa surrounded by chips, peaches, and limes.

Chipotle Peach Salsa

Use those fresh, juicy summer peaches to make this sweet and spicy Chipotle Peach Salsa! Goes great with chips, chicken, fish, and more!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southwest
Total Cost $3.19 recipe / $0.27 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 ¼ cup each
Calories 36kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ripe peaches 1.56
  • 1/4 red onion $0.11
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.10
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo $0.20
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro $0.45
  • 1 lime $0.59
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Dice the peaches into small pieces (peeling is not necessary). Finely dice the onion, mince the garlic, grate the ginger, mince the chipotle peppers, roughly chop the cilantro, and squeeze the juice from the lime.
  • Add the peaches, onion, garlic, and ginger to a bowl. Add one of the minced chipotle peppers, 1 Tbsp lime juice, and 1/4 tsp salt to begin with. Stir the ingredients to combine. Taste the salsa and adjust the salt, lime, or chipotle to your liking (I used 2 chipotle peppers, 2 Tbsp lime juice, and ½ tsp salt total).
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 36kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 139mg | Fiber: 1g

Side view of a bowl of chipotle peach salsa.

How to Make Peach Salsa – Step By Step Photos

peach salsa ingredients from above.

For this Chipotle Peach Salsa, you’ll need 2 lbs. of fresh ripe peaches (about 8 peaches), ¼ of a red onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 fresh lime, about 1 tsp grated fresh ginger, ½ bunch of cilantro, and 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Can of chipotle peppers open so you can see the peppers in the sauce.

This is what the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce look like. You can use one pepper if you just want a little heat, then add more to your liking. I added two peppers (finely chopped).

Salsa ingredients in the bowl, not mixed together.

Chop the peaches (not peeled) into small pieces. Finely dice the red onion. Mince the garlic and grate the ginger. Roughly chop the cilantro and mince the chipotle peppers. Add the peaches, onion, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and chipotle peppers to a bowl. Squeeze about 1 Tbsp lime juice over the top and add ¼ tsp salt.

Salsa stirred together in the bowl.

Stir everything together, then give it a taste. Add more lime and salt as needed. I ended up using 2 Tbsp juice and ½ tsp salt, total. If your peaches are very soft, they will form a saucy texture the more you stir the ingredients together. If your peaches are firm, you’ll have a chunkier salsa, similar to the texture of pico de gallo.

Overhead view of a bowl full of peach salsa surrounded by chips, peaches, and limes.

Enjoy that deliciously sweet and smoky peach salsa immediately or refrigerate for later!

Try These Other Salsa Recipes:

The post Chipotle Peach Salsa appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Skewers (Quick Marinating!)

Dry, flavorless chicken and lengthy marinating times? Those are things of the past, friends. These quick-marinating grilled teriyaki chicken skewers are incredibly flavorful and bursting with umami and salty-sweet perfection!
We love these satisfying s…

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Skewers (Quick Marinating!)

Dry, flavorless chicken and lengthy marinating times? Those are things of the past, friends. These quick-marinating grilled teriyaki chicken skewers are incredibly flavorful and bursting with umami and salty-sweet perfection!

We love these satisfying skewers with noodle salads, stir-fries, grilled veggies, or served simply with rice and steamed broccoli! Bonus? They come together quickly with 9 ingredients you probably have around. Let us show you how it’s done! 

How to Make Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Skewers

These flavor-filled skewers start with a quick teriyaki-inspired marinade made with tamari (or soy sauce), coconut sugar, garlic powder, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken Skewers (Quick Marinating!) from Minimalist Baker →

Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs)

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This light and fresh Bún Chả recipe features flavorful and juicy pork meatballs paired with vermicelli noodles and plenty of herbs and vegetables. Bún chả is light yet filling and it comes together effortlessly in a few straightforward steps. Served with a homemade dipping sauce, this refreshing recipe is perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.

Close up of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

What is Bún Chả?

Growing up, I didn’t realize there was a name for these delicious juicy pork meatballs. They were just something my mom made for me because it was one of the five things that I was willing to eat without question. It’s a recipe that you can easily make, you can scale it up or down, and most importantly, it’s super flavorful. 

Bún chả, also known as Vietnamese pork meatballs with vermicelli noodles, is a popular Vietnamese dish that is thought to have originated in Hanoi. You can find them served anywhere from street food stalls to restaurants in Hanoi. While a popular lunchtime recipe, you can enjoy this recipe any time of the day. I love how refreshing the noodles, vegetables, and herbs are on a hot summer day. You can even find Anthony Bourdain and Barack Obama enjoying it on an episode of Parts Unknown!

What is fish sauce? 

Fish sauce is the secret ingredient of this entire recipe. It goes into the meatballs as well as the dipping sauce (nước chấm) and is an absolute umami bomb. It is a liquid condiment that is made from fermenting fish over time. It adds major savory, salty, and general deliciousness to the overall dish. You can find fish sauce in the international aisle in most grocery stores, or at an Asian grocer.

Bún chả being dipped in a bowl of sauce with ingredients on the sides.

What is lemongrass? 

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb that has a fragrant complex flavor that is bright and citrusy. You can purchase lemongrass fresh or frozen. I usually find frozen lemongrass at Asian grocers and like to stock up my freezer with them. If you can’t find lemongrass, lemon zest and some ginger could work in a pinch, but I highly recommend not substituting the lemongrass because it is key to achieving the authentic Vietnamese flavor profile.

When using fresh lemongrass, keep in mind that the bottom woody section should be discarded. I’ve been noticing more chain grocery stores carrying fresh lemongrass so you should be able to find it relatively easily. If not, check where the ginger paste is kept and you might find lemongrass paste instead for an easy swap!

How to store leftovers

This recipe is perfect for meal prepping! Store the rice noodles, veggies, and herbs in one container and the pork meatballs in another container. This makes reheating the meatballs much easier, especially at work. Everything should keep and stay fresh for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Tips for Making Bún Chả

  • Do not overpack the meatballs while shaping the meatballs as you do not want them to be dense. 
  • For uniformed meatballs, use a cookie scoop. This helps them cook evenly as well. You do not want to go any larger than around a golf ball’s size.
  • For the nước chấm, feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. 
  • While I use a non-stick skillet, you can use a grilling pan or cast-iron skillet as well. 
  • When buying rice vermicelli noodles, make sure to double-check the ingredients. At first glance, they look similar to cellophane noodles but they are not the same.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.
Close up side view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

Bún chả

Bún chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) are simple, light, fresh, and perfect for a hot summer day or as a make-ahead meal.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Vietnames
Total Cost $16.22 recipe / $4.06 serving
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 469kcal
Author Carmy Do

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground pork $4.49
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped $0.24
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallot $0.68
  • 4 Tbsp minced lemongrass $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp honey $0.24
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce $0.23
  • 1 tsp salt $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02

Dipping Sauce (​​Nuoc Cham)

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (about 2 limes) $1.20
  • 3/4 cup water $0.00
  • 3 Tbsp fish sauce $0.68
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper $0.10
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp sugar $0.02
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced $0.16

Bowls

  • 8 oz. rice vermicelli noodles $2.99
  • 1 head butter lettuce $1.59
  • 1 handful fresh mint $2.19
  • 1 carrot, sliced $0.16
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced $0.50

Instructions

For the Meatballs:

  • CHop the garlic and shallots, and mince the lemongrass.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the pork, fish sauce, salt, pepper, honey, lemongrass, shallots, and garlic. Set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.
  • Shape the mixture into small meatballs (about 20 meatballs), and then gently flatten them a bit.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and add the meatballs in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

For the Sauce:

  • Whisk the sauce ingredients together and adjust to your tastes. Optional: heat the water and whisk the sugar in to dissolve before adding the rest of the ingredients.

For the Bowls:

  • Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (usually cook 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water).
  • Serve the noodles with the meatballs along with a handful of lettuce, mint, carrots, and cucumbers with the nuoc cham on the side.

Notes

Editor’s note: The prices listed above are from U.S. chain grocery stores. If you have an Asian market in your area you’ll be able to source ingredients like fish sauce, lemongrass, limes, Thai chilis, mint, and rice noodles for much cheaper and often with much higher quality.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 469kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 24g | Sodium: 2098mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with rice noodles and vegetables.

How to Make Bún chả – Step by Step Photos

Prepared aromatics for the meatballs on a cutting board.

First, prepare the aromatics for the meatballs. Mince three cloves of garlic, ¼ cup shallots, and 4 tablespoons lemongrass.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl.

Add the garlic, shallots, and lemongrass to a bowl with about one pound of ground pork, 2 Tablespoons of honey, 1 Tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mix the ingredients together then set the mixture aside for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge so the flavors can blend.

Shaped meatballs in a casserole dish.

Shape the mixture into small meatballs, and then gently flatten them a bit. To help divide the mixture evenly, first, dive the meat into four equal pieces, then divide each quarter into five pieces to yield 20 meatballs.

Cooked meatballs in a skillet.

Heat a large skillet over medium. Once hot, add a tablespoon or two of cooking oil and swirl to coat. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet in a single layer. Cook the meatballs until they are golden and caramelized, around 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the cooked meatballs aside.

Prepared dipping sauce in a small container with a whisk.

For the sauce, whisk together ¼ cup lime juice, ¾ cup water, 3 Tablespoons fish sauce, 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 finely chopped red chili, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and some thinly sliced carrots (optional garnish). Taste the sauce and adjust the ingredients to your taste buds.

Cooked rice noodles draining in a sieve over a bowl.

Prepare the vermicelli noodles according to package instructions (they usually require cooking for 2-3 minutes in a pot of boiling water). Drain the noodles and set them aside.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board.

Prepare the rest of the vegetables for your bowls. Slice a cucumber, slice a carrot into matchsticks, pull a handful of mint leaves from the stems, and wash some tender lettuce.

Finished Bún chả bowl from above.

Build the Bún chả bowls by adding the rice vermicelli noodles to a bowl along with some lettuce, cucumber, carrot, and Bún chả. Dip the Bún chả into the sauce, or drizzle a little over the bowl.

Bún chả in a bowl of dipping sauce.

SO fresh and so GOOD!

Overhead view of Bún chả in a bowl with noodles and vegetables, dipping sauce on the side.

The post Bún Chả (Vietnamese Meatballs) appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Zucchini Fritters

Every summer, when our garden is overflowing with zucchini, I go zucchini crazy. I make as many zucchini recipes as possible to try and use up the never ending supply of zucchini. I make zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, lemon zucchini bread, z…

Every summer, when our garden is overflowing with zucchini, I go zucchini crazy. I make as many zucchini recipes as possible to try and use up the never ending supply of zucchini. I make zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, lemon zucchini bread, zucchini cookies, grilled zucchini, sautéed zucchini and so much more. I can never…

Grilled Teriyaki Tofu Skewers

Is it even summertime without a skewer?! We think not. These teriyaki tofu skewers are full of savory sweet goodness, and when grilled, they develop a subtly crusty exterior and perfectly smoky taste. It’s safe to say this recipe’s a winner, frie…

Grilled Teriyaki Tofu Skewers

Is it even summertime without a skewer?! We think not. These teriyaki tofu skewers are full of savory sweet goodness, and when grilled, they develop a subtly crusty exterior and perfectly smoky taste. It’s safe to say this recipe’s a winner, friends! 

We love these skewers alongside a cold sesame noodle salad or stir-fry for a protein-packed, plant-based summer meal! Just 9 ingredients required for these super flavorful tofu skewers.

Grilled Teriyaki Tofu Skewers from Minimalist Baker →

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.

Eggplant Parmesan

It’s got bubbly cheese, garlicky tomato sauce, and savory, meaty breaded eggplant: it’s Eggplant Parmesan! This vegetarian Italian classic is hearty, filling, and pleases just about everyone. Most restaurants use fried eggplant, but for a homemade version it’s much simpler to bake. Here’s our best baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe: faster and easier to make at home than most recipes and full of incredible flavor. Even our vegetable-averse 5 year old promptly asked for seconds! We hope it will become a go-to in your family like it is in ours.

Ingredients in this Eggplant Parmesan recipe

Eggplant Parmesan is a classic Italian dish made with layers of breaded eggplant, cheese, and tomato sauce, then baked until bubbly. Called parmigiana di melanzane in Italian, it comes from the Southern regions of Calabria and Sicily but is now served all over the world. The eggplant is fried in restaurant-style versions, but it’s easiest to make baked eggplant when making it in your home kitchen. Here’s what you’ll need for homemade eggplant Parmesan:

  • Eggplant
  • Flour (or almond flour for gluten-free)
  • Eggs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Plain panko (or breadcrumbs; use gluten-free panko for gluten-free)
  • Dried oregano
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A few ingredient notes

As with any Italian dish, the success of this Eggplant Parmesan recipe depends on the quality of ingredients! Here’s what to look for when you’re shopping:

  • Look for medium eggplants. Size matters here: massive eggplant rounds don’t look quite as nice in the dish. But sometimes the grocery only has large eggplants, so use what you can find! The key is using 2 pounds: it should equal about 18 to 20 rounds.
  • Use fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.
  • Whole milk mozzarella cheese makes a difference. It melts much better than part skim and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan

How to make Eggplant Parmesan: some tips

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is faster and easier than most recipes, but it still takes about 1 hour to make and bake. Keep this in mind in your meal prepping (and review the notes below on make ahead tips). Here are a few notes about the process:

  • Place salt on the eggplant for just 10 minutes. This seasons them prior to baking. Many recipes require you to salt the eggplant for 1 hour, but this is not necessary. (In the past, people would do this to remove a bitter flavor, but today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter. It also allows the eggplant to release moisture, but that’s not required with this baked method.)
  • Dredge the eggplant in flour, egg and breadcrumbs. This is the traditional combination in Italian cooking that you’d do prior to frying the eggplant. But it works just as well with baking!
  • Bake the eggplant for 20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, flipping once. The hot oven makes them crispy and golden brown: like frying but with no extra oil!
  • Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Mix crushed tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil and olive oil.
  • Layer the eggplant with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese in a baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly.

Leftover storage and make ahead tips

This Eggplant Parmesan recipe takes about 1 hour to make, which is not always possible for a weeknight dinner. We usually make this one for entertaining or on weekends, but you can also meal prep some of the components. This recipe also freezes well, which makes it great for a quick leftover dinner. Here are a few ideas for make ahead and storage:

  • Bake the eggplant slices in advance. This saves about 40 minutes off the timing of the recipe. Refrigerate the slices, then layer the dish and bake the day of making.
  • Leftovers store refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can make the entire dish in advance and refrigerate, but it’s so good freshly baked that we recommend the above option for make-ahead. Leftovers store well.
  • Freeze leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 months. Place on the counter or in the refrigerator to thaw, or you can place it right into a 375 degree oven and reheat until warmed through and the cheese is melted. (If it’s room temperature, you can reheat at a higher temperature, like 425.)

What to serve with Eggplant Parmesan

Traditionally, Eggplant Parmesan is served with pasta. But you can also serve with salads, sauteed veggies and more. It makes a hearty, crowd-pleasing vegetarian dinner that’s great for parties and impressing a crowd. Here are a few ideas:

Eggplant Parmesan

More eggplant recipes

Love working with this tasty vegetable? Here are a few more eggplant recipes you’ll love:

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use almond flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs or go to Gluten Free Eggplant Parmesan.

Print
Eggplant Parmesan

Easy Eggplant Parmesan


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 to 8

Description

This baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe is classic Italian comfort food at its finest! This hearty dinner will be come a go-to.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds eggplant (about 2 medium large)
  • ¾ cup flour*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko (or purchased or homemade breadcrumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 28 ounces fire roasted crushed tomatoes*
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 handful fresh basil, chopped, plus more to garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese***

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut off the ends of the eggplant and cut it into 1/2-inch slices (to make approximately 18 slices). Sprinkle them with ¾ teaspoon salt and allow them to sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the breading ingredients. 
  3. Place the flour on a plate. Beat the eggs in a shallow bowl and set it aside. In another shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons oregano, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt and set it aside. 
  4. Dip both sides of each eggplant slice into the flour, then the eggs, then the Parmesan cheese mixture. Place each slice onto the prepared baking sheets. (Note: This gets messy; you may need to wash or wipe your fingers off after every few slices.)
  5. Place the trays in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake 10 to 15 minutes more, until tender and golden brown. 
  6. Meanwhile, make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix the fire roasted tomatoes, grated garlic, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, chopped fresh basil, and olive oil. Mix well until all the olive oil is incorporated. 
  7. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13″ pan. Add half the baked eggplant in a layer (about 9 slices), then top with 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Add the second layer of eggplant (we like to add them right on top of the first layer to make 9 stacks). Top with another 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 cup shredded mozzarella on each stack. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then top with additional chopped basil and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days (or frozen for 3 months); reheat in the oven until warm.

Notes

*You’ll have about ⅓ cup flour left over and about 1 egg, but it’s easier for the breading. There also may be some panko left over. These items are not included in the nutritional info.

**Fire roasted tomatoes make the best flavor: they taste sweet and smoky right out of the can. If you can’t find them, substitute best quality tomatoes with 1 teaspoon sugar and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Or, use 1 ½ cups best quality marinara sauce.

***Whole milk mozzarella cheese melts much better than part skim mozzarella, and has a richer flavor. It also melts better when reheating leftovers. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Eggplant Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan recipe, Baked Eggplant Parmesan, Recipe for Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Eggplant Parmesan recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.