Total calories (approx): 490 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning
Type: Meat and pasta!
Here is another bento for the bento-shy. No rice, no ‘strange’ Japanese food, just meatloaf and pasta. The centerpiece is the pre-made Bento sizes mini-meatloaf. I used half of one here. The trick is to defrost the meatloaf briefly, about 3-4 minutes on the ‘defrost’ setting of the microwave, so that it’s still frozen on the inside but just soft enough to slice. You can then store the rest of the mini-meatloaf for next day’s bento. If you don’t have a microwave, just put the frozen meatloaf in the refrigerator the night before.
The tortelloni are store-bought and boiled according to the instruction on the packet. I pan-fried the tortelloni for a few minutes until browned - this gives a nice crispy texture to the surface, which I like, and eliminates the need for any additional sauce on them.
As you can see, both the meatloaf and pasta are relatively high in calories, but the bento overall is under my 500 calorie goals since it’s filled up with neglible calorie vegetables.
Here you can see the bigger Guy bento on the right next to my bento. His has 50% more pasta, a whole mini-meatloaf, and a bit more vegetables for a total of about 850 calories.
Here’s the timeline. Note the short defrost time for the meatloaf. Your time may vary according to your microwave. You want to have a meatloaf that is still hard but defrosted enough to slice through. It will have defrosted nicely by lunchtime, and if you are in a warm weather area the frosty meatloaf will help keep your bento cool too.
Click on the timeline image for a bigger view.
This is a sandwich I made yesterday, before I put on the bread slice on top. It has half a mini-meatloaf, lettuce, some fennel salad, homemade chutney and a bit of mayonnaise - between 2 slices of whole wheat sliced bread. Total calories: about 420. The chutney really made this sandwich sing. Chili jam should work great here too.
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