Total calories (approx): 435 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes
It’s the busiest time of the year, and I find myself running around like a headless chicken some days. So there isn’t much time to be making bento in the morning, especially after a late night out or something. I still like to bring along a healthy bento though, because I feel so much better after eating it than just grabbing a sandwich or a pizza or something for lunch.
With my stash of staples or johbisai, whatever leftovers are on hand, and of course my hoard of frozen brown rice, I can throw together a little bento in about 5 minutes. (A little more time is needed for defrosting stuff, but you can do this while you’re running around getting ready.) This bento uses a small piece of the salted salmon I made a couple of weeks ago and stocked in the freezer, some sweet-and-salty konnyaku that was left over from dinner (recipe here), and a few lettuce leaves. (If I had them I’d have used baby spinach leaves for that tiny bit more vitamin content.) I’ve also added an ‘instant’ miso soup ball.
The key to a throw-together bento like this is to make it look attractive and appetizing, and not like you just dumped in some leftovers - which you may have, but you don’t want to be reminded of that at lunchtime. Keep it as colorful and neat as possible, and use a cute bento box if you have one. A bento you’ve spent time making can shine on its own merits, but a throw-together one needs help from the container. Here I’ve used a three-part two-bowl style that I don’t pull out that much, since it’s a bit small, but in this case it did cheer up the bento quite a bit. (I love bunnies in almost any context.)
I love salmon in bento, because that pink color perks up the dullest bowl of rice. Green veggies do this also, or green herbs and sprinkles (green onion, parsley, chives, etc.) as does the old standby, the lemon wedge or slice.
I haven’t made a timeline for this one, since it’s basically “heat or re-heat things, pack up and go”! And I need to go running around doing errands again.
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.