pasta

Spring Pasta and Chickpea Salad and Bento-Friendly Pasta Salad Basics

Spring pasta salad bento

We are now entering pasta salad season, at least here in the Northern Hemisphere. Easy to assemble and delicious at room temperature, at first glance you might think that pasta salads are perfect in bentos. There are a few things to watch out for though, in order to make sure that your salad is as safe as it is delicious at lunchtime. I also have a super-easy Chickpea and Pasta Salad recipe that is very bento-friendly; it’s vegetarian (easily converted to being vegan), to fit in with the theme for this month. continue reading...

Quick tip: Cooking pasta and noodles in just a little water

pastalittlewater.jpg

A few weeks ago, there was an article in the Food section of the New York Times about cooking pasta in a reduced amount of water (registration required), written by Harold McGee aka The Curious Cook. (In case you don’t know, Harold McGee is a very interesting food writer, who approaches cooking from a scientific angle. If you are of a geeky bent or love reading about the hows and whys of food in general, I highly recommend his book On Food and Cooking.) The gist of the article is that it’s possible to cook pasta in far less water than is usually recommended, and that you can even start from cold water!

While the rationale in the article for reducing the amount of cooking water is to save energy, I was intrigued by the possible time saving benefits, especially when making bentos. continue reading...

Bento no. 62: Meatloaf and Tortelloni Bento

bento_62b_500.jpg

Bento Contents:

  • About 100g / 3.5 oz Bento sized mini-meatloaf (1/2 a loaf) with ketchup, 200 calories
  • 1/4 package (60g / 2 oz) Barilla Cheese and Garlic tortelloni or similar, browned in 1 tsp. olive oil, 270 calories
  • 1/2 cup Fennel Salad, 10 cal
  • Broccoli florets, 5 cal

Total calories (approx): 490 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Meat and pasta! continue reading...

Bento no. 55: The Almost-Empty Refrigerator Bento

bento_55_480.jpg

Bento contents:

  • 1 cup of cooked spaghetti, 225 cal
  • About 1/3 cup homemade meat sauce using ground beef, 150 cal
  • Sautéed vegetables: about 2 cups cooked of cabbage, carrots and celery, cooked in 1 tsp. oil, about 70 cal
  • 2 small clementines, 70 cal

Total calories (approx): 515 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes

Type: Leftovers! continue reading...

Bento no. 40: Pasta Salad Niçoise with a twist

bento_40a_480.jpg

Bento contents:

  • 1 U.S. cup or 5oz / 140g spelt pasta, 170 cal
  • A few pieces of white flour pasta, 40 cal
  • 1/4 cup or 1.75 oz / 50g frozen tuna salad with mayonnaise, 120 cal
  • About 3/4 cup sweet pepper and onion confit with zucchini, 90 cal
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil, 55 cal
  • 3-4 black olives, 30 cal
  • 1 boiled egg, 80 cal
  • Lemon juice, cherry tomatoes, celery, parsley, 10 cal

Total calories (approx): 645 (how calories are calculated)

Type: Pasta salad! continue reading...