Bento no. 28: Salad thoughts

bento_28b_400.jpg

Bento contents:

  • 1 cup vegan potato salad with extra tofu ‘mayonnaise’, 220 cal
  • Mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, 30 cal
  • 1 medium apple, 60 cal

Total calories (approx): 310 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 minutes in the morning

Type: Salad, vegan, gluten-free

This is just a throw-together salad bento - the recipe for the vegan potato salad is here, and I just added a little extra of the ‘mayo’. This is the remainder of the batch that I made a couple of days before. The salad is a pre-cut bag - cheating! - with some cherry tomatoes added. Here’s how it looks opened up. (The oddly shaped carrot slivers are meant to look like bunnies - the salad was sold as an Easter Salad. It was on sale though…maybe those bunnies didn’t go over well.)

If this looks like too little food for you, add some more potato salad, another fruit, or (if you’re not vegan) cheese, bread, and so on.

There’s no procedure to explain here (just put everything in containers and go), but here are some of my thoughts on bringing a salad for lunch.

  • To me, a great salad is based on fresh, crunchy greens. It’s a bother to wash greens in the morning for me, so I wash mine (even the pre-packed kind, because you never know if it’s really ‘clean’) as soon as possible after it comes home from the stores, and dry it thoroughly in a salad spinner. Pat whole lettuce leaves and such, which hold water in the nooks and crannies, with kitchen towels or paper towels to really dry thoroughly.
  • The main drawback to bringing a salad for lunch is that the longer such greens sit around at room temperature, the sadder they get. They start to wilt, and some delicate parts may even start to brown around the edges. If you have a refrigerator at work, the best thing to do is to stick your salad in there. If you don’t though, try to bring along an ice pack. The box I’ve used here has an integrated ice pack box that clicks on below the main container. Unfortunately it’s only available as far as I know in Switzerland (for Swiss residents or visitors, it’s from Migros’ Topline series, which I’m very fond of - the little blue container is also from the same series). You can easily find small ice packs and such either in the kitchenware section or even the camping section of a big box store. Just hold the ice pack onto your salad pack with a couple of bands. Alternatively you can put your salad in an insulated lunch container.
  • I love tomatoes in salad, but for bento salads I stick to cherry tomatoes, because they are their own little waterproof packs which don’t make their surroundings water logged. I leave the sliced tomato salads for eating at home. (Besides, you can get reasonably tasting cherry tomatoes even in March.)
  • Finally, I always carry salad dressing and any ‘soggy’ ingredients separately from the greens - in this case the potato salad. Little foil packs of salad dressing are quite convenient, or you can put some in a bento bottle or mayonnaise container. Mix everything together just before you eat, and your salad will taste as fresh as if you just made it.

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Containers with integrated ice packs

Just a note: I don’t have one and can’t vouch for the quality, but I believe a company called Fit & Fresh makes salad containers with integrated ice packs that are available in the states.

Well, good news for those

Well, good news for those who live in france : I bought this lunchbox (rotho, a swiss brand :mine reads cool & fresh on top of the box) thinking it would be great for picnics salads. They sell this model in BHV stores, but I saw other very nice lunchbox from the same brand (http://www.rotho.com/de/produkte/kueche/boxen.html) elsewhere : In Carrefour, and in our equivalent of dollar stores “Monsieur 1, 2, 3 euros” (gosh, I ‘ll never get used to the name XD). The snack box is really good too since it’s got a rather fitting lid and has a built-in compartement for the provided fork and spoon. I think the brand export in Germany and Italy, too.

Unfortunately I use both of them rarely, as it’s a little too big for me (I need to pack my bento very tighly because I toss it around all morning in my university bag) and no way I would be satified by a salad or sandwich in winter (…or early spring in Lyon, brr). But for those who like salads, sandwiches and the like as in your post, they’re perfect !

By the way, I tested your delicious curried beans recipe with home-cooked haricots blancs (errh… navy beans ?): my belly thank you very much for finding another way to sneak in curry in my menu. ^-^

another nice photo

I really like the photo style, it is really creative and funny. But I wouldn’t be satisfied by a salad nowadays either. I need more energetic food.

Looks like my Kinda Meal

Hi Maki,

Glad to see you are up and about. I like the photo very much, its creative and I wish I could do something like that with my stuff.

I eat about six meals a day because I am very active with sports and weight training, this kinda meal would be perfect after an hour of sweaty gym time.

By the way, I made your potato salad yesterday and my other half and I enjoyed it. Thanks.

Ciao, O

Yes I do have to admit that

Yes I do have to admit that I didn’t have that much of an appetite on the day I made this…but increasing the potato salad, or adding bread, cheese, etc would make it quite filling I thnk!

Your photos are really

Your photos are really splendid! What camera do you use? Did you take any lessons to to take cooking photos? I’m really impressed. It is true that each time your photos have me hungry! A really tasty bento that was!

I took an Intro to

I took an Intro to Photography course years and years ago in college, but to be honest my food photos used to mostly suck when I started blogging. I guess it’s mostly practice, practice, practice! Oh and Photoshop when the shot is not quite right :) As for cameras, I mostly use a Nikon D70s or a Sony DSC-W50 (neither are exactly state of the art), and a homemade shooting box (described here). But the best way to get good food photos is good lighting, and the best lighting is daylight - so I try as much as possible to shoot sometime during the day, near a window.

Re: Bento no. 28: Salad thoughts

Hey, just reading through some of your posts.

In the United States, there is a container that I like to use to keep my food cold and such. It is similar to this: http://www.fit-fresh.com/products/transportation/lunchonthego.php

It is from the same company, and has the same look to it. The bigger bottom compartment has a removable/ reusable icepack that clips into the underside of the lid. It helps keep the items in the bottom compartment cool, and it keeps the top two containers cool as well.

I got it for six dollars at a clearance store, so I feel like it was a good deal : ) Even then I think buying full price is worth it, because I really like the set and I will use it for a long time. The icepack is a sturdy one made of hard plastic, so there should be no chance of leaking.

I think its a good set because I can keep cool items separate from the items I may microwave later. BPA free and all that too : )

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