Time required: 10-20 minutes

Bento no. 73: Asparagus Salad and Quinoa Spring Bento

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Bento contents:

(1 cup = 240ml (US measurements))

Time needed: 25-30 minutes the night before; 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Not Japanese, alternative grains, gluten-free (note: please make sure the sausage you use is wheat-free if you are gluten intolerent.) continue reading...

Bento no. 72: Sakura Love Kyoto-style Barazushi Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 635 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes the night before; 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Traditional Japanese with a twist continue reading...

Bento no. 69: A Day At The Farm: Riceless charaben

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Bento contents:

  • 5 small Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki filled with ham and cheese, 250 cal
  • Sausage bunnies and cauliflower sheep using 2 cocktail franks, 70 calories
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise, 60 cal
  • Blanced broccoli, carrot butterflies and other vegetables, 30 cal

Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes the night before; 20 minutes in the morning

Type: Quick, not-rice-based charaben continue reading...

Potato Oyaki and Sweet Potato and Carrot Oyaki

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Here is a reiteration of the popular Potato Oyaki filled with meat soboro, plus a variation oyaki using sweet potatoes and carrot, filled with ham and cheese - using Thanksgiving feast leftovers or not! continue reading...

Vegan iri dofu (iri doufu) with garlic chives

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Iri dofu or iri doufu (炒り豆腐) is a simple, homely dish, real Japanese style ‘mother’s cooking’. Probably every Japanese home cook has his or her own recipe, but the base is plain tofu that is crumbled and then stirred around or gently stir fried (the iri 炒り part means that) until it resembles dry scrambled egg. In fact, it’s rather like the tofu version of iri tamago, but with more flavor and texture.

Iri dofu recipes often contain meat (usually pork), dashi or both, but here I have kept it vegan (in keeping with our vegetarian theme for May). I have added umami by including chopped dried shiitake mushrooms, miso and soy sauce. Garlic chives and ginger also add to the flavor, while the sansho pepper (also known as sichuan pepper) adds spice.

The best way to eat this is to simply pile it onto rice. Of course it’s perfect for a easy, healthy bento. continue reading...

Spring Pasta and Chickpea Salad and Bento-Friendly Pasta Salad Basics

Spring pasta salad bento

We are now entering pasta salad season, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. Easy to assemble and delicious at room temperature, at first glance you might think that pasta salads are perfect in bentos. There are a few things to watch out for though, in order to make sure that your salad is as safe as it is delicious at lunchtime. I also have a super-easy Chickpea and Pasta Salad recipe that is very bento-friendly; it’s vegetarian (easily converted to being vegan), to fit in with the theme for this month. continue reading...

Bento no. 65: Pink, Green and Yellow Spring Bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 460 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes the night before; 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Traditional Japanese continue reading...

Homemade furikake no. 10: Sardines and pine nuts

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I haven’t added a new furikake recipe in a long time. So, it’s about time I did. As I wrote in the first homemade furikake recipe article, the homemade kind has a lot of advantages over the storebought kind.

One of the advantages is cost, and this furikake uses a cheap yet healthy ingredient that’s available to most people, wherever they may live: Canned sardines! A can of about 4 ounces of sardines (120g) or so costs a couple of dollars or euros or whatever at most. And sardines are packed with good nutrients: Omega-3s, protein, calcium, etc.

I’ve attempted to stay away from Japanese ingredients with this one, since I occasonally get complaints from readers that they can’t get a hold of those ingredients. If you can’t get Worcestershire sauce for some reason, use steak sauce or a similar rich, brown sauce. If pine nuts (though this only uses 2 tablespoons) are beyond your means, use sesame seeds or chopped nuts of another kind.

This furikake is good on pasta as well as rice. continue reading...