Bentos and Vegetables.

barmycarmy
Bento-ing from: Pemaenmawr › UK
Joined: 14 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 24 weeks ago.

Hi everyone.
I'm not great at eating my vegetables and always had a problem with them as a child, but i would like to fill my bentos with more that just meat and carbs! Does anyone have any recipes i can try with veg that i might actually enjoy?

I tried the Maple red peppers but i wasnt so sure and i'm contemplating the orange juice carrots. So if anyone has any other suggestions i'm up for it! :D

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Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 19 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

You can try doing a search for a particular type of vegetable, that you do not completely hate or want to try again, and see what looks appealing to you. There is a search box on the upper right or you can use plain old google to find recipes (what I normally do when I am looking for some inspiration).

bronwyncarlisle
Moderator
Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 33 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

Mix your veges with something else you DO like. Like cheese, or sesame oil, or pickle, or bacon, or something. I learned to like milk by first mixing it with chocolate powder - after a while it started to taste sickly so I reduced the chocolate powder and before I knew it I was just drinking milk.

Some cheese melted over broccoli or cauliflower is good. A squeeze of lemon juice helps a lot of things along too. Cooking peas with mint is nice.

A friend of mine makes a cauliflower salad which is absolutely scrumptious, but has the most ordinary ingredients. You might like it, it's not Japanese but it would go well in a bento. I posted the recipe for it here

____________________________________

Bronwyn

My blog is Food and Shoes

Alice
Bento-ing from: Leicester › UK
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

My brother doesn't really like vegetables either. The trick that gets him to eat them is either to put them in a strong flavourd sauce (sweet and sour being the easiest to make) or adding them to something he really likes.

I notice your from the UK. In quite a few countries, English pepole are known for overcooking vegetables. And while this is no longer true of most pepole, children are still being fed grey sludge, or worse, bright green glowy sprouts, at school. This might be where your problem stems from, and you should make an effort to try vegetables in a state that would be traditionally considered underdone. You may find that they grow on you rather quickly.

(by the way, turns out that disconcerting glow-in-the-dark looking green comes from adding bicarbonate of soda to the water. This also helps to remove any remaining neutrients)

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 50 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

Try to add them to you bentos gradually: a very little first, mixed with something else. Then keep increasing the amount of veggies while reducing the carbs and the meat.
If you don't like veggies, try to add some fruit like strawberries, kiwi or grapes. They'll make you get used to the "green food" and you'll soon develop a taste for veggies :)
Also, you'll feel healthier, that way you'll prefer veggies ;)

____________________________________

My bento blog: http://justbento.com/blog/1305
My art blog: http://jizaacaso.deviantart.com

goblinbox
Bento-ing from: Walla Walla › Washington › USA
Joined: 19 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 36 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

Try the orange juice carrots; they're easy and sweet!

Also try steaming a small bit of veg and then putting a nice sauce on them - cheese sauce is delicious with nearly every vegetable there is. Avoid tinned and frozen veg because they tend to be soft and bitter. Buy a head of broccoli, for instance, cut it into florettes, and store it in a zip bag with a moist paper towel. Then when you're preparing your bento you can quick-steam it on the stove or in the microwave before popping it into your lunch! Remember that old stand-by of fresh veg and Ranch dressing dip; most people like that.

Good luck in your healthy endeavor to like vegetables! :-)

____________________________________

My site: http://www.goblinbox.com
My bentos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/goblinbox/sets/72157608661768465/

Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 13 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

I understand where you're coming from as I've always had a challenging relationship with vegetables (whilst I liked Mediterranean vegetables like tomatoes, aubergines and peppers, typically English 'greens' like carrots, peas, swede, parsnips and brussel sprouts would sap any enjoyment from my meals). A big part of my learning how to cook has involved me finding ways to enjoy vegetables. Growing up, my favourite food, which I always left for last on my plate so I could relish it, was the meat.

Alas, it's not just a case of cooking vegetables properly, my mother is Spanish and is incapable of overcooking a vegetable. Hell on a plate for me is unadorned steamed vegetables (for my husband, this is a taste of heaven).

Here are my tips for making vegetables palatable:

GREEN BEANS, SPINACH
Any bitterness is tempered by adding a Japanese style sesame sauce.
Maki has included a recipe here: http://www.justhungry.com/asparagus-black-sesame-sauce-asparagasu-no-gom...
but you can make it with white sesame seeds instead.
Alternatives are tahini paste mixed with a little dashi or other kind of stock, ground peanuts or peanut butter with stock, or (for the beans) ground walnuts used in the same way. You can experiment with other recipes for sesame dressings and satay sauces.

CARROTS
Peeled, grated and eaten raw mixed with vinagrette or hummus or sesame seeds (hummus AND sesame seeds is pretty good)
If you can bake them, try brushing them with honey and lemon juice and practically caramelising them in the oven.
You might like them this way: http://justbento.com/handbook/recipes-side-dishes-and-space-fillers/easy...

BROCCOLI (Calabrese)
I only found a way to like it quite recently
http://justbento.com/forum/broccoli-help#comment-7144
Once made, you might like to drizzle it with heated olive oil that has had anchovies melted into it and slices of garlic fried until golden. You can add a little lemon juice to this too if you like.

KIDNEY BEANS
Neither me or my husband can stand them. But once they're mashed up it's a different story
http://justbento.com/forum/spicy-mashed-bean-wrap-vegan
(Same with chickpeas - hate them! But mash them up and make them into hummus and I love them)

CUCUMBERS
Unless they're in gazpacho I dislike cucumbers intensely (I still fish them out of sandwiches). However, whatever it is that makes me dislike them so can be removed quite easily. Slice or julienne some cucumber, put them in a sieve or colander, sprinkle with salt and leave them to drain for 20 minutes or so (even ten minutes is long enough). The salt can be removed with a quick rinse. Once 'salted' and drained they're gorgeous with a little soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil.

CELERY
Loathe it! But chopped into little pieces and well sauted with finely diced/grated carrots and onions and it becomes the most amazing base for a whole range of dishes, whether it be soups, added to savoury muffins or a great bolognese sauce/ragu or tomato sauce. It's a classic combination of North Italian cooking where it is called soffritto. Absolutely fantastic in risottos. Despite my unbound hatred for celery I use it all the time (it's also how I mostly eat carrots).

CABBAGE
Try it raw and finely sliced mixed with plenty of apple. I recommend slicing the apples as finely as possible and then turning the slices into matchsticks. Immediately, dunk the apple pieces into salted water or water with lemon juice or vinegar before draining them dry (this will stop the apple from going brown).
Any dressing will do for cabbage and apple. You might like to try a creamy one based on yogurt, mayo or creme fraiche (or any combination of these), tatziki is also nice. If you like it, try adding raw carrot - it's practically coleslaw anyway.
If you enjoy garlic, try grating or crushing a raw garlic clove into a tablespoon of mayonnaise and stirring this into half a shredded cabbage (add some ponzu too, if you have it, otherwise, if you don't like garlic, just combine ponzu and mayo for a delicious cabbage friendly dressing)
- and if you haven't tried it already, you'd need to be a real vegetable hater not to like okonomiyaki - http://www.justhungry.com/okonomiyaki-osaka-style a shame this isn't the best dish for a bento...

If you're OK with pickles, then do please try some of the countless ways of preparing Japanese style tsukemono pickles.
http://www.justhungry.com/introduction-quick-japanese-tsukemono-pickles
There MUST be some that you'll like and most of them are wonderful in bento boxes.

Good luck! And do keep experimenting.

teenfanciesbento
Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 27 Jun 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

A food I'm loving right now is Zuccini brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with sweet basil, and grilled in the toaster oven. The zuccini is the perfect size to fit in my long, skinny, two tiered bento box.

____________________________________

I'm a sixteen year old blogging about bento and FOOD!
http://www.teenfanciesfood.blogspot.com/

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 50 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.
teenfanciesbento wrote:

A food I'm loving right now is Zuccini brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with sweet basil, and grilled in the toaster oven.

I usually roast zuccini slices in a spoon of hot olive oil and add some salt. This is good for bbqs too and you can do it with almost any veggie xD
I love this dish cuz it's easy and yummy either hot or cold :)
You can add a little olive oil to it when about to eat :) in Spain there are little bottles of olive oil that you can buy and they are great for bento (like 50 ml). They are usually sold for bars and restaurants but I've seen them in some supermarkets.

My husband HATES zuccini so I usually add a little bit of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to it so he eats it more happily.

vamullen
Bento-ing from: Richmond › Virginia › USA
Joined: 8 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 44 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

If you're loving the carrots, you can always try making honeyed carrots as well! carrots boiled in honey and water turn out very sweet and tender. :) I actually find that I have the opposite problem in my bentos: I tend to pack too little meat and carbs. Most of the time I tend to just steam the veggies because I don't have time to properly cook, but I find that honey and basalmic vinegar are my faves to make them taste like... well, not veggies ^^

My grandmother also used to use white vinegar and salt on cucumber. That sounds good right now...

Folly
Bento-ing from: San Francisco
Joined: 5 Jul 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 32 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

Garlic and olive oil make everything worth eating. ^_^ Lightly saute chopped garlic in olive oil, then add chopped spinach or chard. Cook *briefly* (just enough to wilt greens), season with salt & pepper, then serve. You can also splash with a little basalmic vinegar.

As a child, mayo made everything edible. Tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, beans, asparagus and artichokes. This would give you a good excuse to buy cute dipping containers! And did someone mention bacon? Sprinkle chopped, cooked bacon over spinach (raw for salad or cooked as a side dish), or tossed with cooked peas.

Veg served atop toasted baguette as bruschetta could also be your way into eating more vegetables. In your bento box keep bread and toppings separate and then enjoy the moment as you assemble just before eating.
- Dice tomatoes and mix with chopped garlic, olive oil, S&P, and top with a basil leaf or arugula.
- Pureed fava bean (or any other cooked bean) mixed with the above.
- The Knorr Vegetable Soup mix package has a good spinach dip recipe on the back. Tasty and high in calories. But a way to get your spinach.

Have you tried grilled vegetables? Marinate zucchini, peppers, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, or eggplant in your favorite vinaigrette and grill. Depending on the veg and your grilling method (stovetop, oven, or coals) you will get a carmelized or smokey flavor.

Vegetables cut in different shapes or presented uniquely can make a difference. A sakura-shaped slice of carrot would be less vegetable-y than a big old hunk of carrot. Finely diced red and yellow peppers/capsicum sprinkled as a garnish might not even have a taste, but its color may make you happy. Peas skewered on a decorative pick can dress up your bento and be fun to eat. Once you stop thinking of vegetables as a healthy requirement, and start seeing them as your bento-making tools and ingredients, you will come up with lots of ideas on your own.

Pat
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.

Salt & butter:
- on asparagus, cook in pan
- on enoki mushroom, wrap them in foil and cook in oven.
Oyster sauce, use sparingly:
- on variety of veggies, such as, broccoli, carrots, snowpeas, tofu, bean sprouts, eggplant, cabbage, leafy greens, etc., stir-fry in pan.
Ponzu sauce (citrus soy sauce):
- drizzle on steamed or boiled veggies. This is my fave method when packing a side of vegetables in my bento because it's quick, easy, and delicious. I put ponzu sauce in a small squeeze bottle and use it right before I eat.

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Alice
Bento-ing from: Leicester › UK
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: Bentos and Vegetables.
Jiza wrote:
teenfanciesbento wrote:

A food I'm loving right now is Zuccini brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with sweet basil, and grilled in the toaster oven.

I usually roast zuccini slices in a spoon of hot olive oil and add some salt. This is good for bbqs too and you can do it with almost any veggie xD
I love this dish cuz it's easy and yummy either hot or cold :)
You can add a little olive oil to it when about to eat :) in Spain there are little bottles of olive oil that you can buy and they are great for bento (like 50 ml). They are usually sold for bars and restaurants but I've seen them in some supermarkets.

My husband HATES zuccini so I usually add a little bit of soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to it so he eats it more happily.

I'm afraid I'm guilty of thinking zuchini are only good for cakes and tempura. They've always been a bit bland for me. I'm not sure when they're in season, so mabye that's where I'm going wrong.

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