left: avocado, cherry tomatoes, beets, cucumber, bell pepper, swiss chard with sesame oil and seeds.
right: rice, pan seared tofu with soy sauce and sriracha, panko shrimp, kabocha (buttercup squash) simmered in dashi stock
After receiving the Just Bento cookbook as a gift, I went through the pages for inspiration then set out food shopping. The first bento that was a result of this new discovery was delicious and satisfying. I happened to have some leftovers from that bento so this one didn’t take long at all.
As with most of my bento meals, I do not eat this entire thing in one sitting. Throughout the long work day there is a snack/lunch side and a dinner side. In this case the left container in this picture was a few snacks and the right was dinner. I did not finish everything on the right. The rice was very filling along with the squash. Will be packing this in a smaller box from now on.
Fresh, raw veggies: Cherry tomatoes (a huge staple for all my bentos), small cucumber (these are Persian cucumbers from Trader Joe’s), red bell pepper, sliced avocado (with salt and pepper). Ok, so avocado is a fruit. I personally love these cucumbers because they are small, mostly seedless, and you can eat the skin.
Marinated beets: These came pre-packaged like this in the produce section of the regular grocery store. They are tangy and if you like a strong vinegar taste, you will like these. This one is the balsamic flavor, but there were other flavors available.
Swiss chard: This one is a recipe from Just Bento and is a healthy addition to your bento. You can use MANY different kinds of greens for this recipe. Just pick what you like: spinach, swiss chard, arugula (which has a nice peppery flavor), bok choy, dandelion greens, pea shoots, and more! This counted as my salad for this bento (I try to have one in every meal).
Rice with umeboshi furikake: Furikake (seasoning) comes in many many different flavors. I just happened to have this one on hand because I used up the rest of my absolutely favorite, which has small rice crackers, seaweed, and salt. This one is still delicious and has a sour plum taste. I can’t eat plain rice anymore. Still trying to find more uses for furikake. It comes in either individual packets or glass jars and have seen some flavors at the regular grocery store. For more of a selection you should definitely check out your local asian market or order it online. Combining flavors can be fun too!
Pan fried tofu: I just threw some slices into a pan with sesame oil and chopped scallions, sprinkled on some shichimi togarashi (spicy powder mix), then topped with sriracha (spicy sauce). It’s healthy, flavorful, and a nice filler for bento. I personally love tofu in bento because you can do so much with it and slice to fit any empty space.
Kabocha: Recently introduced to this Japanese pumpkin, or buttercup squash and was surprised to find it in the local grocery store. You can slice it up and freeze it, according to Just Bento’s site. I used her recipe too. Cooking With Dog used this in her recipe as well. Would like to try it sometime (this recipe uses honey instead of dashi).
Panko shrimp: Saw this recipe in Just Bento’s cookbook (could not find it on the site). Bought a bag of large frozen shrimp, thawed them out, peeled, salt and pepper, coated in corn starch, then egg, then panko bread crumbs and fried in a pan with vegetable oil. Crispy and somewhat healthy. Wish I could make these in advance without the coating becoming soggy.