Bento no. 53: Sesame beef and vegetable bento


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

The star of this bento is the Sesame Flavored Beef, but it’s still loaded with vegetables and fiber. You might think “2 ounces of meat? No way is that going to fill me up!” but it really does in a bento like this.

Since the beef and the carrot kinpira are both strongly flavored, I only added a tiny bit of oyster sauce to the blanched greens (Chinese broccoli or gai lan in this case) and salt and pepper to the bean sprouts. It’s all layered on top of a bed of brown rice. If you want your greens to have more flavor, you can try this namul recipe.

I made all of the components ready the night before. Actually, I used the greens and the bean sprouts in a stir-fry, and just set aside a bit for the next day’s bento. I had a batch of carrot kinpira already made, and the beef was marinated. It only takes a couple of minutes to cook the beef and blanch the vegetables. You could cook both the night before just ready to pack, though the flavor will be a bit fresher if the finishing cooking is done in the morning.

Here’s the man-sized version (taken with a cellphone so please forgive the slight wonkiness). It just has a bit more beef, about 1 1/2 cups of rice, and more vegetables (mainly more bean sprouts) for a total of about 600 calories - since the Guy does need to watch the waistline too.



If you can prep the vegetables and the beef the night before, you can do this bento in under 10 minutes. One trick that will save you a crucial 2-3 minutes is to use the same boiling water to blanch the greens and the bean sprouts: just do one first, fish it all out (or use a sieve and drain the water into another pot), then do the other.


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This looks so good! Much

This looks so good! Much better than my salad that I brought today!

The presentation makes me

The presentation makes me thing of bibimbap bento.

One speed trick I use for blanching vegetables is to place all of the vegetables into a colander. Then I heat some water up in my electric kettle and pour the boiling water over the veggies. (My electric kettle is much faster than my stove.) This doesn’t work as well for vegetables that need a longer time in boiling water to blanch them, but I find it’s good for greens and the like.

Hi clover. I agree, an

Hi clover. I agree, an electric kettle is one of the most useful timesavers! I always use one to boil the water (one of the first things I usually do when I’m making bento is to fill mine up and switch it on) because I have a electric range and it always takes a bit of time for it to heat up, except for the single halogen hob, which I reserve for the stir-frying/sauteeing tasks. This is less of an issue with gas cookers but an electric kettle is still the most efficient appliance for boiling water. (And handy for tea during the day too!)

And yep, this is sort of like a bibimbap but without the garlic…which can be a bit problematic at midday :) (also a bit milder overall)

Love your sites!


I’ve been a fan of your sites for months now, and I just wanted to say hi… so, Hi! Love your work!


Thank you :)

Thank you :)

Love that bento!

Maki, that bento looks delicious and it’s only 440 calories? I’ve gotta start thinking calorie controlled bentos soon. =) I love the concept of packing bentos to limit the calories, except that I don’t think I’ve been doing a really good job of sticking to that lately. Heheh


I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m gonna make a dinner bento with it and take it with me on a trip I’m going on here soon. One question, I adore this metal bento box you use and was wondering where you got it. Thanks!

stainless steel bento box

It’s a bento box from a Japanese company called Kobo Aizawa - you can read about them here.

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