Two Simple Recipes for Lobee

Here are two very simple summer dishes that use pasta, tomatoes, and feta cheese.  They are versatile, take about 30 minutes to prepare, and make really good leftovers.

Orzo Thing

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of orzo
  • 1 bag of frozen or 2 bunches of fresh spinach
  • Some crumbled feta – at least 4 ounces
  • 1 can of tomatoes or 2-3 chopped fresh ripe tomatoes
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, boil some water.  Throw in orzo and spinach.  Cook until orzo is tender (according to package instructions).  Spinach will wilt and the water will turn green. Drain in a colander and return everything to the pot.
  2. Drizzle a little olive oil and add some salt and pepper.
  3. Throw in the tomatoes.
  4. Toss in the crumbled feta and mix well.

Notes/Variations:

  1. This can be eaten warm or cold, makes enough for dinner for 2 and a couple lunches, reheats well, is a good side dish for chicken or fish, and whenever I make it for a party or potluck it is consumed as if by a swarm of locusts.
  2. If you want to get fancy at some point, throw in a handful of lightly toasted pinenuts or pitted chopped kalamata olives.

Tomato, Basil, and Feta Pasta Salad

  1. Finely chop 1/2 a red onion and put it in a small bowl.  Add 3 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. of a red wine or balsamic vinegar, some salt, some pepper, and a pinch of sugar.  Let it sit while you cook the rest.
  2. Cook 1 lb. of any short, wide pasta (ziti, penne, elbow, shells, rigatoni, etc.) according to package directions, drain and return to pot.
    Drizzle with a little olive oil, add some salt and pepper, toss to coat.  Taste it – it should taste good plain. Let it cool.
  3. Add 4-5 ripe fresh tomatoes (about 2 lbs), sliced into bite-sized wedges to the pot.  You can’t fake it with sad pale tomatoes – you need red ones.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves, sliced or torn into thin strips and mix well.
  5. Add the dressing you made with the red onion and vinegar and oil to the pot.  Mix well.  Taste it and add a little more salt & pepper if needed.  You could totally eat this right now without any feta, but keep reading if you like feta.
  6. Crumble some feta (4-6 ounces).  Dish the salad out into bowls and sprinkle the feta on it as you serve.  Important: Do not mix the feta into the big bowl of salad, it tastes best when the ingredients are combined at the last minute.

Notes/Variations:

  • Again, this makes dinner for 4 (or for 2 + 2 lunches) as a main dish.  It keeps for a day or two (but again, keep the feta and the salad separate until just before you eat it).
  • Stirring in some pitted kalamata olives when you garnish with the feta is not a bad idea.
  • Also scarfed up at parties.
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6 responses to “Two Simple Recipes for Lobee

  1. 2 things:

    1- I normally cook orzo like rice, rather than like pasta. 2:1 ratio of liquid to orzo, simmer on low, covered, till the liquid’s gone. I am also convinced that there are many, many recipes out there called, simply “orzo thing” (mine involves canned tomatoes and chicken broth).

    2- For the person migrating from processed food to food with ingredients, homemade pizza can be a tasty and healthy alternative to calling delivery, as well as a great catch-all for spare veggies. Making dough can be a bit daunting for people, but luckily there are pre-made pizza crusts out there. Not as tasty, but again a great transition food.

    • Homemade pizza is awesome! In college I used to use pita bread as the crust and bake them in the toaster oven.

      • It was always english muffins for me, until we found that our local grocery store had personal-sized pizza rounds in packs of five. Now a standard purchase item.

  2. I ❤ orzo thing.

    Lobee, don't fear the cooking, and experiment! The worst thing an experiment will do is send you back to ramen for a night, and you'll have learned something about that recipe.

    I must have made four nearly inedible carrot salads before I got the mix right. (shredded carrots, slivered almonds, fresh ground coriander, salt, pepper, a SMIDGE of vinegar/oil/dijon mustard dressing.)

  3. Jenn — Thank you so very much! I actually made the orzo thing to take for work tonight. I had a few bites to test the disaster I made (pot overboiling, green water and leaves everywhere) — but, um, it tastes awesome. And was super easy. I made half a batch and it looks like I can get 3 or 4 meals out of it.

    ALSO, inspired by you, for breakfast I made your nectarine & granola from a few entries ago. I also had greek yogurt, inspired from another post — but yogurt is tricky with me because I hate the smell, love the taste, and sometimes the textures weirds me out to eat it straight. So I mixed up the nectarines, yogurt, granola and a few blackberries (I am 100% anti-blueberries. 110% actually.)

    So…um, day 1 of eating actual good food. And it’s awesome. Going to pimp this blog out to everyone I know. Basically, I’m just going to mimick what you eat until I can figure it out for myself. Baby steps. Baby “stalking your friends” steps.

    Sid: That’s so true. I don’t know why I’m so fearful. No more, I say!

    • Yaaaaay! Try mixing a little honey (like a tsp.) or a little sugar & vanilla into the yogurt if you are eating it with fruit. It’s FAR less than commercially produced yogurt puts in, and takes some of the tang out of it.

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