Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

Bento Challenge Week 2, Day 1 (Jan 19 2009)

Bento contents:

  • 100g / 3 oz (approx.) Grilled Garlic Chicken, 120 cal
  • Yogurt dressing from same page, using 2 Tbs. Greek (thick) yogurt, 40 cal
  • 2 small bread rolls, 90 cal
  • Steamed broccoli, shredded carrot, lettuce, arugula (rucola or rocket), total about 60 cal
  • 1 fairly large orange (not seen in photo), 80 cal

Total calories (approx): 390 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning (you could cut this down by making some things in advance)

Type: Salad!

This is the Week 2, Day 1 Challenge bento (from today). I thought it would be good one to feature since it shows how I like to pack a salad-and-bread type of lunch.

The components of this bento are the cooked broccoli, shredded carrot, and the leafy vegetables. Leafy vegetables can get limp if they are carried with heavier food on top of them. In addition there’s the chicken and the yogurt dressing.

I pack the salad not already mixed, but in layers. Here you can see it through the semi-transparent container. The broccoli is on the bottom, then the carrots, a layer of lettuce, topped by the arugula (rucola, rocket) leaves.


Here’s the box from the top:


The grilled chicken and the yogurt dressing go in a little container that fits inside the bigger box, on top of a lettuce leaf. I put the dressing in a silicone divider cup (actually a cupcake liner), and tuck it in the corner, filling the rest of the container with the chicken. Here’s the whole bento from top:


The yogurt stayed in place surprisingly well, though if it had gotten onto the chicken it wouldn’t have been a big deal, since I meant to eat them together anyway. At lunchtime, I just mixed everything together well, as you see in the top picture. I think this way of layering and carrying cooked things separately is the way to have a fresh tasting salad bento. (I carried the bread separately in a plastic zip bag. It got a bit smushed, but was ok.)

As you can see, I don’t use a Japanese bento box for salad - I use a larger Western ‘lunch box’ type of container, since raw leafy vegetables need space. This box is a Fit & Fresh Lunch Box (the one with the purple lid in that picture) that comes with a freezer pack. I didn’t bother with the freezer pack today since it was so cold anyway! It’s handy to have in the warm months though. (I saw some reviews of this box on Amazon that criticised it. All I can say is that I just rinse it off when I get home instead of putting it in the dishwasher, and it’s fine. I have never put it in the microwave, though I have used it in the freezer a few times.)

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Re: Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

That must be very good in any case.

Re: Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

I had chicken salad today! Nice, fresh and not hungry within hours. I like to add fresh herbs and sliced "cornichons" (I've forgotten the english word: it is a vegetable preserved in vinegar). Your dressing seems nice to.

Re: Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

Cornichons are known as cornichons in English too I think! (Otherwise, they are small pickled cucumbers)

Re: Bento no. 58: Packing a Chicken Salad Bento

I like to use this Fresh & Fit container. It's so versatile. I don't have a dishwasher so I handwash it and have never had problems with the container.

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