Bento no. 32: Fiber-rich vegan leftovers bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 485 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, vegan (tofu)

This is an all-vegan, fiber-rich bento that is assembled from planned leftovers. That is to say, when I made the stir fried lotus root (omitting the sesame seeds, because I was out of them, and adding a little dried red pepper flakes) and the vegan nikujaga for dinner, I made extra so there would be enough for bentos in the following days. Both hold up well for a couple of days in the refrigerator - the nikujaga even improves in flavor. If you prefer the classic meaty version of nikujaga, it also mellows well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Even the carrot rice is made from leftover rice or from frozen rice, using the microwave method. It’s the only thing I made in the morning, but if you’re really pressed for time you could make it the night before too. Or you could use the rice cooker method and freeze it in advance (see how to freeze rice.)

(Incidentally this bento fulfills a lot of the guidelines and characteristics of sho-jin cooking. It’s all-vegetable based, and has warming (lotus root) and cooling (potato) elements. )

Tips and notes

  • I wanted to add broccoli for color and variety. I just ripped off a couple of florets from a head of broccoli in the freezer, rinsed them, and put them on the edges of the plate (under the plastic wrap) when I microwaved the carrot rice. Two items in one go!
  • If you can’t find fried tofu (atsuage) for the potato dish, you can substitute thin fried tofu (aburaage or usuage), very firm well drained plain tofu, or (better) tempeh. TVP and such should work too. If you use one of the non-fried proteins, fry them in a little oil until they brown a bit on the outside before adding to the stew pot.

Here’s the man-sized version - with more of each item. This one clocks in at about 700 calories.

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Timeline

If the leftovers have been in the fridge for a couple of days and the weather is warm, heat them through thoroughly and cool before packing. If just made them the night before though you can skip this step.

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6 comments

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Excellent Bento

I love it whenever I see a vegan or vegetarian Bento up here. I am a vegetarian and my husband is not (slight issue…). When I make Bento for the two of us I end up making a bunch of different things because he wants meat in his Bento almost every day. He’s also on the South Beach Diet thing and won’t eat rice, carrots, corn, potatoes, soba, fruit, etc… This page had been very helpful to us (more specifically me) and thanks to our bento boxes making portion control easy and the tips on packing from you we have collectively lost about 50 pounds.
Just wanted to let you know you’re appriciated.

Wow congratulations Suzu no

Wow congratulations Suzu no miko, to you and your husband! 50 pounds is great! I’m really glad you find the recipes useful :)

Thanks!

Extremely useful! You were a lifesaver. I’d tell you which recipes I like best, but the truth is I end up making most of them and the hubby really likes it all. He requests the gyoza a lot, though I altered the recipe a bit for my own batches and make them primarily with black beans rather than meat. I honestly don’t think he’s noticed. O.o; FYI - your how-to on Tofu and soymilk has made me a lot more confident in my cooking skills because it really does feel like a chemistry project and it tastes SO much better than the tofu I get from the store!

nice

Another nice bento. Go on maki!

Thank you for always

Thank you for always visiting, and trying out the recipes too :) (I follow your blog and it’s great to see how you adapt things to fit you!)

I’m planning to make your

I’m planning to make your vegan nikujaga this weekend and use the leftovers for lunch during the week. :D As a side note - House (the brand, not the doctor) makes atsuage and markets it here in the States as “Tofu Cutlet”.

By the way, I made your carrot rice (microwave option) and used it to make onigiri with lettuce wraps. It was slightly more crumbly than normal rice, but it still worked out well. So I’m happy to report that you really can make orange onigiri with the carrot rice!

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