Total calories (approx.) 465 calories (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 30 minutes total (20 the night before, 10 in the morning)
Type: Japanese vegan
At first glance this traditional sho-jin ryo-ri (vegan cuisine created by Zen Buddhist monks) inspired bento may look a bit complicated. It does takes a little more time to prepare, but you can (and should) do most things the night before or earlier, so you just need a few minutes to assemble everything in the morning. You can make the bean burgers a couple of days in advance, and just heat them through in the morning. The mushroom rice should be made the day before at earliest, or frozen. 30 minutes is really the maximum time it should all take, presuming you make both the burgers and rice the night before.
Everything here is low-fat, vegan and gluten free (with some precautions - see the bean burger recipe), yet it’s very filling and I think quite tasty.
I’ve given the complete recipes for the mushroom rice and the black bean burgers on Just Hungry, with instructions for the instant radish pickles and assembling the whole bento here.
I’ve given the timelines in two parts: one for the night before, and one for the morning. I’ve assumed in the Night Before timeline that you will be making both the rice and the bean burgers, but as I’ve described above you can do one or both further in advance. What I like to do is to have some of the mushroom rice for dinner, and the rest in the bento boxes.
Anardana powder is made from dried pomegranate seeds. It has a very interesting, slightly sour, almost salty flavor. You can get it at Indian or South Asian grocery stores.
You can also use an instant tsukemono (pickling) powder available from Japanese grocery stores, or use my homemade instant tsukemono powder. Or, just use salt (a nice sea salt would be good), and add a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Red pickled ginger or beni sho-ga is available at Japanese grocery stores. It’s mainly added for the bright color here. That red is artificial coloring, so you can omit it if you want to keep this all-natural.
I used white rice for the mushroom rice instead of brown, since I think the recipe worked better with white. There’s more than enough fiber in the bento as a whole.
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