Time required: 10-20 minutes

Bento no. 57: Challenge Bento Week 1, Bento 1

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 450 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning (you could cut this down by making some things in advance)

Type: Japanese, chicken, Bento Challenge! continue reading...

Bento no. 56: Colorful vegan bento featuring green pea mini-burgers

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 420 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes

Type: Vegan and gluten-free, relying on stock and frozen vegetables 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...

Bento filler: Classic Kinpira Gobo (burdock and carrot kinpira)

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Spicy-salty-sweet kinpira, crunchy vegetables that are quicky stir-fried and optionally simmered, are perfect for bento. So far I have given you carrot kinpira and forgotten vegetable kinpira, but Japanese food purists might have noticed that I haven’t posted a recipe for classic kinpira gobo (or goboh). There’s a simple reason for this: here in Switzerland, the only gobo or burdock root that I can get in the stores is an exorbitantly priced frozen version. But recently I was able to get my hands on some fresh gobo (no I didn’t smuggle it from Hawaii!) - so here, finally, is kinpira gobo. continue reading...

Bento no. 53: Sesame beef and vegetable bento

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Bento contents:

  • Approx. 1 cup of brown rice - 240 cal
  • 60 g / 2 oz. (about 3 heaping tablespoons) Sesame flavored beef made with lean beef, 130 cal
  • About 1/3 cup carrot kinpira, 50 cal
  • Blanched greens flavored with oyster sauce and bean sprouts flavored with salt and sansho pepper, 20 cal

Total calories (approx): 440 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning continue reading...

Shrimp and tofu mini-burgers (tsukune) with red pepper sauce

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There are already several mini-burger or tsukune dumpling type of recipes here, but here’s another one. What can I say - mini-burgers are just perfect for bentos: they taste good when they are cold, can be made in quantity, and usually freeze very well.

This time it’s a shrimp and tofu version, adapted quite a bit from a recipe in a recent issue of Kyou no ryouri: Beginners (Today’s Cooking: Beginners) magazine. It’s best when made with fresh shrimp, but uncooked frozen shrimp is fine. You probably don’t want to be messing around with shrimp paste in the morning, so it can made it the night before (have some for dinner too - it’s great hot) or freeze a batch. The sweet-hot red pepper jam I’ve used as a sauce goes very well with it, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of making the jam, use a sweet or hot bottled chili sauce. continue reading...

Two also-ran quick bentos made in under 15 minutes

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While I do try to keep a good stash of pre-made food to quickly assemble bentos in the morning, sometimes I’ve just run out, or am not in the mood to use whatever I have in the freezer, or leftovers in the fridge. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible to assemble a bento quickly using fresh ingredients and pantry items. Here are a couple that I made last week. The only premade ‘stash’ I used was frozen brown rice. continue reading...