Guy Does Bento no. 6: Hot bento with hearty meatball and vegetable soup and sauteed broccoli

Yes, The Guy Does Bento is back doing bento! This one is based on the hearty meatball and vegetable soup that I posted yesterday. The soup is a meal unto itself really, but it’s been made even more filling and substantial in this set that uses a thermal bento set.

Here’s the whole thing: the soup, about half a cup of rice (got to watch those carbs/calories!) with a little gomashio (sesame salt) sprinkled on top, and sauteed broccoli made from leftover steamed broccoli. I don’t have a recipe for the broccoli but it’s dead easy: just precooked broccoli (you could also use frozen broccoli) sauteed in a little olive oil with chopped garlic and a sprinkle of dried red chili peppers.


As you can see, the soup is actually in two containers. The reason for this is that a standard Japanese thermal bento set usually comes with a small container for soup, plus a larger one for rice, both of which can be kept warm. (The largest container is for rice since originally, these thermal bento sets were intended for use by people with hearty appetites who wanted to eat a lot of rice!) Both have tight fitting lids, but the soup one is really leakproof, so we put more liquid in that one, and the solid parts in the rice container. The hot liquid can be poured over the solid parts, or they can be enjoyed as two courses.


Here is the thermal bento set that was used. As you can see it has two thermal containers (for the rice and soup) plus 3 non-thermal side containers. Just 2 of the 3 side containers were used here, but you could put some fruit or something in that, or another vegetable dish perhaps. (The empty container was packed in too just to keep the filled containers from shifting in transit.)


There is a detailed description of this particular bento set in my overview of thermal bento sets and lunch jars; it’s the second one described. (J-List has 1 in stock, and similar ones are available in many designs; see Bento&co or J-List for example.) A standard Mr. Bento will work too.

Calorie count

Up until now The Guy bentos haven’t put much thought into calorie totals! But now that The Guy is watching his waistline with an eagle eye, I’ll put in an approximate calorie count for reference. (It’s a bit harder to be precise with The Guy bentos, since I don’t pack them myself of course.) This bento is around 600 calories: 350 for the soup (there’s 5 meatballs in there), 100 for the broccoli (a bit generous on the oil), plus 150 for 3/4 cup of cooked rice. Not bad for a very filling lunch. You could shave off more calories by having plain steamed broccoli and still be very satisfied.

Time spent

Both the soup and broccoli are planned leftovers from dinner the night before. Making planned leftovers (that just means making a bit extra) saves so much time.

For this bento, the total prep time in the morning is about 10 minutes: to heat up the soup and the thermal container, defrost some rice and pack it, plus sauté the broccoli. The Guy did cheat a bit on the broccoli and use a chopped-garlic-in-oil mix we have in the fridge. He used two burners, the microwave for heating up the pre-frozen leftover rice, plus an electric kettle, one of our essential bento making supplies.

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Re: Guy Does Bento no. 6: Hot bento with hearty meatball ...

I enjoy The Guy's bentos and find them useful as I'm trying to work out ways to help my brother eat better while he's out on the road all day. At the moment he's picking up something from the deli once finished a sales call - a meat pie, coke, chips etc, definitely not good for someone who already has high cholesterol!

Maki, I realise that there are hundreds of great cold bentos posted on this site but would you consider a re-cap of the best and easiest "man meals", as chosen by The Guy? What we consider 'easy' is considerably different to the male point of view!

| Just Bento

Hi! I've been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

Re: Guy Does Bento no. 6: Hot bento with hearty meatball ...

On a cold day, soup really hits the spot. This recipe looks delicious. Thank The Guy for this bento! I intend to make the stew for dinner tomorrow with planned leftovers for my brand spankin' new thermal jar! I think I might do quinoa instead of rice, though. I also like how you demonstrate splitting up the soup and packing the rice in the smallest dish instead of the traditional division that really portions out a lot of rice.

Re: Guy Does Bento no. 6: Hot bento with hearty meatball ...

This was really great. I used vegetarian meatballs and it turned out so tasty and filling. My husband took all the left over soup with him to work and he does not even like soup! Thanks so much for the tasty idea.

Re: Guy Does Bento no. 6: Hot bento with hearty meatball ...

Weather has turned cold here, so Mr Bento is going to keep me warm with a hot tomato soup, chicken and konnyaku noodle (perfect for thermo bento), a carrot salad and some soy yogurt with homemade flaxseed cereal.
I have learned so much from you. Thank you for inspiring me.

Re: Guy Does Bento no. 6: Hot bento with hearty meatball ...

This guy likes all the bentos the Guy has done. Keep on bento-ing, guy.

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