Time required: 10-20 minutes

Bento no. 20: Shrimp chirashizushi, an easy sushi bento

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Bento contents:

  • 3/4 cup (about 160ml) white rice with sushi vinegar (180cal)
  • 5 peeled shrimp cooked with sake (90cal)
  • 1/2 chikuwa (80cal)
  • Cucumber with seasoning (10cal)
  • 1/4 carrot (30cal)
  • 1 T. edamame (20cal)

Total calories (approx): 400 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 5 the night before

Type: Japanese, sushi

Chirashizushi is just a bed of sushi rice with toppings of your choice. Here I have used peeled frozen shrimp that is steam-cooked with a little salt and sake in a dry pan, half of a chikuwa (a fish paste produce that looks like a bamboo branch), plus cucumber, edamame and carrots. If you cut the carrots in decorative shapes, allow a little more time. It will be pretty anyway with the colorful toppings. Since the protein components of this bento are quite low fat and low calorie, the whole bento is under 400 calories. This bento was inspired by one in Yaseru Obento Recipes. continue reading...

Bento no. 18: 3-color soboro bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup (about 220ml) brown rice (220cal)
  • 2 Tbs. beef sorobo (80cal)
  • 2 Tbs. iri tamago (70cal)
  • Blanced Swiss chard leaves (5cal)
  • Swiss chard stalks sautéed in butter (30cal)
  • Hijiki with bean curd (50cal)
  • 3 fresh lichees or litchi (15cal)

Total calories (approx): 475 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 20-30 previously

Type: Japanese continue reading...

Bento no. 15: Bacon wrapped tofu bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 495 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning, 20+ minutes make-ahead

Type: Japanese, mostly make-ahead

This bento uses a lot of staples and make-ahead items. This is really the key to assembling a varied bento lunch box without having to wake up an hour early in the morning to do so! The only thing that is made from scratch in the morning is the bacon wrapped tofu, and even that can be made the night before if needed (though it’s best if you make it in the morning.) Johbisai or staples are really great: I got six total bentos out of one batch of the pepper and onion confit, and I’ll get at least 2 or 4 bentos out of the 3 remaining tea eggs.

The star of the bento though is the bacon wrapped tofu. It’s delicious hot or cold. For a bento, the salty-sweet variation is particularly good. Be sure to use an extra-firm tofu. continue reading...

Bento no. 14: Vegan bento with baked miso-tahini-nut carrots

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Bento contents:

  • Baked carrot slices with miso-nut topping (230cal)
  • 3/4 cups white rice (130cal)
  • 1 Tbs. edamame (20cal)
  • Broccoli with wasabi sauce (10cal)
  • 1/2 cup Pepper and onion confit (60cal)

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

Time needed: 30-40 minutes total (20-30 the night before or earlier, 10 in the morning)

Type: Japanese, vegan, mostly make-ahead continue reading...

Bento no. 8: Leftovers bento with garlic chive blossom fried rice

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Bento contents:

  • Fried rice with ham, lentils and garlic chive blossoms (400cal, more or less depending on the fattiness of the ham)
  • Broccoli stem, celery, walnut, apple and carrot salad with lemon dressing (60 cal)

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

Time needed: 15-20 minutes

Type: Japanese, leftovers yay continue reading...

Bento no. 6: Assemble-your-own pita bread sandwich bento

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Bento contents:

  • 2 small pita breads (or use one regular size) (150cal)
  • 3 black bean vegan burgers (150cal)
  • Fruit salad containing 1/2 small apple and 1/2 small pear (120cal)
  • 1 container low-fat yogurt (60 cal)
  • Mixed salad - lettuce, carrots, red pepper, tomato (20 cal)
  • 1 tablespoon homemade preserves (about 50 cal)
  • Tzatziki salt

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

Type: Sort of Middle-Eastern, bread based continue reading...

Bento no. 4: Portable, disposable picnic bento

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Bento contents:

  • 4 shiso onigiri with 1 1/2 cups brown rice (330 calories)
  • 2 ‘large’ hard boiled eggs (160 calories)
  • Mixed steamed vegetables (about 40 calories)

Total calories (approx): 530 calories

Time needed: 15-20 minutes

Type: Japanese picnic/hiking bento continue reading...

Bento no. 2: Chicken and vegetable donburi-style bento

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Bento Contents:

  • Brown rice (1 cup, 220 calories)
  • Chicken and vegetable stir-fry (250 calories)
  • Glazed baby carrots (50 calories)

Total calories (approx.): 520 calories (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes

Type: Japanese continue reading...