Great Bento Ideas: Pretty and Vegetarian

This week’s Great Bento Ideas are all vegetarian! Bentos are great for anyone who has “special”, or let’s say not-mainstream, food requirements. Here are two vegetarian bentos that caught my eye.

First up is this simple yet colorful and appetizing bento from Farah Abedin.

Bento 16: Curried Garbanzo

It has curried garbanzo beans (chickpeas), a tomato and cucumber salad, and mixed grapes and cherry tomatoes, plus a Mini Babybel cheese - the favorite cheese of bento lovers for its size, cute shape and bright red wax coating. It looks like it’s very well balanced in terms of flavors and textures as well as nutrition!

The second bento this week is from Leopard Girl.

09.15.10 Lunch

This one features tofu and vegetable dumplings, edamame, an apple and almond-flax butter, all arranged in an attractive stripe pattern. While it’s not as obvious as in the first example, this is fairly well balanced nutritionally too I think - though I might add another container of salad or other vegetable to make it truly rounded. In any case, it’s a very pretty bento that looks delicious. (Tip: If you are packing cut up apple, be sure to dunk it in salted or acidulated water (water with acid like lemon) to prevent browning.)

Look out for another Great Bento Idea post next week!

(If you want your idea to catch my eye by the way, the best way is to join the Just Bento or Just Bento Bento Gear groups on Flickr and post them there. Don’t forget to post a link to your blog in the description if you have one.)

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.

6 comments

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Re: Great Bento Ideas: Pretty and Vegetarian

The second one looks good! That stuff in the container is that the almond flax butter? What do you do with it, dip the apple in it?

Re: Great Bento Ideas: Pretty and Vegetarian

I will like to pack dumplings into my hubby's bento. But is there any way to prevent the dumplings skin from drying up? I have this problem when I steam Chinese Siew Mai for me. The dumplings skin will dry up and I think it doesn't taste very nice.

Thank you! :)

Keeping shumai and gyoza dumplings from turning dry and hard

Hi AhCapp, there are a couple of ways of going about this.

- Keep the surface moist, by surrounding the dumplings with moist (not wet) vegetables. E.g. try nesting them in lettuce leaves, even covering them with lettuce. The lettuce may get rather limp but the dumplings will remain moist.

- Coat the surface with a thin layer of oil during the cooking process. This prevents moisture from escaping.

(You can combine method 1 and 2, by protecting the surface of the dumplings with lettuce leaves that have been brushed with a little oil.)

- Deep fry the dumplings! Shumai dumplings in particular are often deep-fried for bentos. The surface then turns crispy instead of dried out and hard.

Re: Great Bento Ideas: Pretty and Vegetarian

Hi Maki,

Thank you for your reply! I really like your ideas. =) I will definately give it a try next week. My hubby is very happy that I make bentos for him. Your website is very inspiring. =)

I will drop by at Kinokuniya to check out your book tomorrow. =) Btw, I am from hot and sunny Singapore. ;)

Re: Great Bento Ideas: Pretty and Vegetarian

Hi Maki,
Thanks for featuring my bento!! It's an honor. :D It makes me soooo happy since I've been doing this for only 1-2 months. *hugs*

Re: Great Bento Ideas: Pretty and Vegetarian

Wow, only 1-2 months? You're already doing so well Farah ^_^

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