vegan

Bento no. 28: Salad thoughts

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup vegan potato salad with extra tofu ‘mayonnaise’, 220 cal
  • Mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, 30 cal
  • 1 medium apple, 60 cal

Total calories (approx): 310 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 minutes in the morning

Type: Salad, vegan, gluten-free continue reading...

Bento no. 27: Spicy and cool vegan bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 380 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning, less if you make the kidney beans ahead

Type: Fushion, vegan, gluten-free continue reading...

Curried kidney beans and vegetables

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I’m Japanese, so I love the taste of curry. (If you’ve been to Japan you’d know this makes sense.) This is a very quick and easy vegan dish that could be the main protein in a bento, or a filler. You can use any kind of beans here, but I do like the dense rather fudgey texture of kidney beans. They’re not just for eating with chili! I’ve made this quite spicy, but you can tone it down if you like by adjusting the amount of chili powder. The sweetness of the vegetables counteracts the spiciness. It tastes terrific at room temperature, and can be made in advance. It lasts for a couple of days at least in the refrigerator, though it tastes best when it’s freshly made so I don’t make a big amount at one time. continue reading...

Bento filler: Vegan Japanese potato salad

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It’s time to get back my bento mojo! Here’s a vegan version of Japanese potato salad, that is a great bento side dish, or the main carb in a salad bento. continue reading...

Bento filler: Stir-fried cabbage with garlic, dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar

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The title of this recipe says it all! In case you hadn’t noticed, quite a lot of Japanese recipes use a bit of sugar to make them a little sweet. That’s fine in moderation, but I’m always looking for sugar-free methods that still have that sweet-salty taste that I love. In this one there’s the sweetness inherent in fresh cabbage (which is especially strong in new spring cabbage), the dried cranberries, and the balsamic vinegar. It tastes great at room temperature so it’s a nice bento side.

Cabbage is one of those vegetables that is so good for you and lasts for a long time in the fridge, and dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar are good things to stock in a pantry. Garlic, I have on hand all the time. So I make this when I’m low on freshly bought ingredients and need something crunchy to fill a bento box corner. It goes well with rice or other carbs, since it doesn’t taste that specifically Japanese or Asian. continue reading...

Bento no. 25: A shoujin ryouri type vegan bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 1/4 cups zakkukumai (mixed-grain rice, see this article), 200 cal
  • ‘Vegan scallops’ made with komachibu and shiitake mushrooms (recipe), using 10 g of komachibu, 50 cal
  • Carrot kinpira (recipe), about 1/3 cup, 50 cal
  • Blanched spinach with soy sauce (recipe), 10 cal

Total calories (approx): 310 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 20 minutes in the morning if you make everything in the morning

Type: Japanese, vegan (shoujin ryouri style) continue reading...

Panfried Komachibu - Vegan 'Scallops'

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Komachibu is a small round form of yakifu, grilled and dried fu. Fu is a traditional Japanese form of wheat gluten, that is a good vegan protein source. (Read more about fu.) If you like to use seitan, you’ll probably like fu as well. Komachibu is available at any reasonably stocked Japanese grocery store (in the dried food section).

Komachibu are about the size of a large coin. When they are reconstituted in water, they swell up to about the size of a small scallop (they do shrink back down a bit when cooked with this method). The texture is very soft, like very very tender scallops. I don’t pretend that they are as good as real, fresh scallops of course, but if you’ve given up shellfish for dietary reasons, these are not bad at all. And, they are terrific in a bento box, vegan or not. continue reading...

Bento filler: Easy sugarfree carrot kinpira

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This is probably my favorite way to eat carrots - cut into matchstick size, stir fried in sesame oil until crisp-tender with some red pepper flakes, and finished with a scatter of sesame seeds. It’s crunchy, salty and spicy. It’s really tasty at room temperature, which makes it a great bento filler. continue reading...