not japanese

Spicy Lentil Snacks With Sesame Seeds

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A variation on an old personal favorite, these lentil snacks are packed with protein and are a great vegan item for non-Japanese bento boxes. continue reading...

Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 1 (Jan 19 2009)

Bento contents:

  • 100g / 3 oz (approx.) Grilled Garlic Chicken, 120 cal
  • Yogurt dressing from same page, using 2 Tbs. Greek (thick) yogurt, 40 cal
  • 2 small bread rolls, 90 cal
  • Steamed broccoli, shredded carrot, lettuce, arugula (rucola or rocket), total about 60 cal
  • 1 fairly large orange (not seen in photo), 80 cal

Total calories (approx): 390 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning (you could cut this down by making some things in advance)

Type: Salad! continue reading...

Grilled Garlic Chicken Tenders and Yogurt Dressing

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Chicken tenders, or thin pieces of chicken breast, cook up very fast and are low in fat. They are a bit more expensive than chicken dark meat, but otherwise are perfect for bentos.

This marinated and grilled chicken really just takes minutes to prep and to cook in a grill pan. They go well in a rice-based bento, in salad, sandwiches and more.

There’s a bonus just-mix yogurt dressing or sauce recipe below too! continue reading...

Poppy seed encrusted green pea mini-burgers

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Adding to an ever-increasing number of bento-appropriate mini-burgers recipes here on Just Bento, here is one that turns out little green burgers that are as visually striking as they are tasty. What’s more, they are vegan, gluten-free and inexpensive. I always try to have a bag of frozen green peas stocked in the freezer, and they really come in handy in the winter months when locally (or even reasonably locally) grown fresh vegetables are rather scarce. Green peas are great just cooked as-is, or mixed into stir-fries, but they’re also very nice mashed up. The most famous example of this are that British staple, mushy peas. Green peas are also packed with protein and various vitamins. continue reading...

Bento no. 55: The Almost-Empty Refrigerator Bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup of cooked spaghetti, 225 cal
  • About 1/3 cup homemade meat sauce using ground beef, 150 cal
  • Sautéed vegetables: about 2 cups cooked of cabbage, carrots and celery, cooked in 1 tsp. oil, about 70 cal
  • 2 small clementines, 70 cal

Total calories (approx): 515 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes

Type: Leftovers! continue reading...

Tips for using Thanksgiving leftovers in bento lunches

thanksgivingleftovers.jpg[From the archives: If you’re in the U.S., I hope your Thanksgiving was great! If you have a lot of leftover turkey, please give the shigureni a try. It works with dark or white meat. Originally published November 2007.]

Happy Thanksgiving to all U.S. readers! After today’s feast you’ll probably have quite a lot of leftovers. Here are some ideas for re-purposing those leftovers for future bento lunches, beyond just using them as-is, which is okay but not that exciting.

In general, you should try to get the leftovers wrapped and into the fridge as soon as possible for the sake of safety, though I know the urge to just flop down in a horizontal position is strong. You can divide it up for longer term storage if necessary later.

continue reading...

Bento no. 51: Vegetarian chili and mini muffins

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 550 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes in the morning with pre-made components

Type: Vegetarian, not Japanese (Southwestern) continue reading...

Two Corn Muffins: Pumpkin Yogurt and Classic Buttermilk

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I am definitely in a muffin phase at the moment, so I hope you don’t mind more muffin recipes! Muffins are the easiest thing to bake, and are great to tote along for in-between meal snacks as well as lunch. And having a good stash of muffins in the freezer, ready to go at a moment’s notice on the busiest day, makes you feel a bit smug about how organized you are.

I love corn muffins, with the little crunchy grains. Here are two types of corn muffins, that are just lightly sweet and therefore perfect to accompany a soup, a spicy chili, and so on. One is a pumpkin or winter squash and yogurt muffin, and the other is a classic buttermilk muffin, the kind they used to serve in coffee shops in New York - do they still?

They can be made into mini-size or regular size; the mini muffins are about 75 calories each, and the regular size about 150 calories each.

These two recipes use eggs and dairy products so are not vegan. They do use vegetable oil rather than butter, to keep them on the healthy and light side. continue reading...