Total calories (approx): 405 (how calories are calculated)
Time needed: 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to defrost and pack up the bento
Type: Japanese, everything made in advance; low-carb adjustable by reducing or replacing rice
This is a bento featuring those bento sized mini cabbage rolls I described last time. Everything in this bento is pre-made! The mini cabbage rolls were made in advance and frozen (together with the carrot slices, which were just cooked along with the cabbage rolls), the rice is from my freezer stash, and the green beans are leftovers from the night before - simply stir fried with a little chopped ginger and sesame oil. Because the vegetables are all pre-cooked, they aren’t that vibrant in color, but they still taste great. I added a splash of color with that old standby, cherry tomatoes, keeping on the blossom ends for a bit of green. All you have to do in the morning is to pack up the box. You could even do this the night before if you prefer.
As you can see, there is less rice than I used to pack in this bento, because I’m trying to reduce the amount of carbs I eat (more on that over on Just Hungry if you’re interested). There’s just about 2/3rds cup of cooked rice here, or about the amount of rice that would be served in a small Japanese rice bowl. If you need more carbs, it’s easy to add more rice, and if you’re eating strictly low or no-carb, I would add one or two more cabbage rolls and leave out the rice, or replace it with a lower-carb alternative. The cabbage rolls are not so salty that they need the rice as a foil. (And yes I did use white rice. I have some I want to use up. You can use brown rice or other grain of your choice here if you prefer.)
I used a microwave-safe box so that I could heat up the cabbage rolls, though they are good cold too.
The box is a two-tier one with Ponyo on the lid. The smaller tier has a flexible leak-resistant lid. This box is great for people who like to divide their food up into little compartments in their bento boxes, since it has not one but two dividers. If you used them both, you could arrange your food into six little divisions. It also comes with a sort of half-moon rice mold that you can press on top of yoru rice to give it some definition and make it a little easier to pick up with chopsticks. (See also: cubed bento rice.)
This box is available from J-List/JBox. They also have the same bento box in bright red with Hello Kitty on the lid- that one even comes with a matching drawstring bag.
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.