salad

Bento filler: Cucumber and Nashi (Asian pear) marinated salad

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A really easy and refreshing salad that keeps for a week in the refrigerator. Great for bentos of course. continue reading...

Okara and crab salad

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Here’s a super-easy recipe for a pretty healthy and versatile salad, using one of my favorite should-be-more-popular ingredients, okara. continue reading...

Great Bento Ideas: Colorful Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Bentos by Cocyte

Bento Petits Farcis

This week’s Great Bento Ideas are by Cocyte, who makes beautiful bentos in Bordeaux, France - a country that could be considered the mecca of bento-ing in Europe. continue reading...

Great Bento Idea: Cucumber ribbons by MJ

MJ's Bento, August 26, 2010

Here’s the great bento idea of the week from the bento community - cucumber ribbons from MJ! continue reading...

Bento filler: Raw Asparagus, Radish and Parmesan salad

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I had never tried raw asparagus until just a couple of weeks ago. I just assumed that aspagarus needed to be cooked. But if you have fresh, tender asparagus, and slice it very thin, it actually makes an excellent and unusual salad. The texture stays crisp for a few hours after making, so it’s a great springtime bento side dish. It’s paired with thinly sliced radish which adds more crunch, color and a spicy kick, plus small chunks of Parmesan cheese for saltiness and body. A very simple lemon dressing brings it all together. continue reading...

Two-Color Spicy Lentil Salad with Cucumber and Pickled Radish

Freebie alert: I’m giving away a copy of the cookbook mentioned here, The Enlightened Kitchen, over on Just Hungry. Deadline is Sunday, June the 7th!

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Vegetarian Bento May is over, but I still have some bento-friendly vegan recipes to post! This one was inspired by two sources: Sarah’s Curried Lentil Risotto, and a recipe for a lentil and mushroom salad in The Enlightened Kitchen, a great shojin ryori cookbook that I’ve just reviewed over on Just Hungry. The latter recipe uses both green and red lentils to come up with a bi-color effect that is very pretty, and that’s what I wanted to emulate.

The first time I tried making this, I used hard, flinty green Puy lentils, and ran into a problem: they take about twice as long to cook as the red lentils, which are hulled. By the time the Puy lentils were cooked, the red lentils had disintegrated. On my second attempt, I just adjusted the cooking times, putting the Puy lentils in the boiling water first, then adding the red lentils later. That came out quite well. The Puy lentils remain al dente and firm, while the red lentils are quite soft and starchy.

The lentil salad recipe in the Enlightened Kitchen book called for curry powder, which is a standard spice in Japanese kitchens, but I used a mixture of Indian spices instead, which I think makes for more vibrant and exciting flavors. The last of my pickled radishes fit very well too. continue reading...

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...

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! continue reading...