bento recipe

Bento no. 23: Parsley lemon sushi with salmon

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Bento contents:

  • Parsley and shiso leaves in lemon-flavored sushi with 1 cup white rice cooked with white zakkoku mix (approx: 200cal)
  • Lotus root slices (approx. 20 cal)
  • Salted salmon, about 50 g / 1 3/4 oz (approx. 80 cal)
  • Usuyaki tamago (thin egg omelette) (approx. 80 cal)

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

Time needed: 20 minutes in the morning, 10-15 the night before

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Bento no. 22: Vegan bento with lotus root mini-cakes

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Bento contents:

  • Savory lotus root mini-cakes (approx. 150 cal)
  • Pan-roasted red pepper and leek with peanut sauce (approx: 200 cal)
  • Sweet chili jam (30 cal)
  • Cucumber wedges (5 cal)
  • Naval orange wedge (30 cal)

Total calories (approx): 415 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 20-30 minutes total

Type: Asian-fusion, vegan, gluten-free continue reading...

Bento no. 21: Chicken teriyaki bento

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Bento contents:

  • Bite size chicken kijiyaki (or teriyaki) made with 90g of thigh meat with the skin (210 cal)
  • Blanched bean sprouts with umeboshi (5 cal)
  • Blanched spinach (10 cal)
  • Haiga-mai, or germ rice 150g or about 1 cup (170 cal)
  • 1/2 of a tamagoyaki made from 1 egg (50 cal)

Total calories (approx): 445 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning, 20 the night before

Type: Japanese

This is the ‘skinny bento’ featured in Skinny Bento vs. Not So Skinny Bento. continue reading...

Bento no. 20: Shrimp chirashizushi, an easy sushi bento

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Bento contents:

  • 3/4 cup (about 160ml) white rice with sushi vinegar (180cal)
  • 5 peeled shrimp cooked with sake (90cal)
  • 1/2 chikuwa (80cal)
  • Cucumber with seasoning (10cal)
  • 1/4 carrot (30cal)
  • 1 T. edamame (20cal)

Total calories (approx): 400 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 5 the night before

Type: Japanese, sushi

Chirashizushi is just a bed of sushi rice with toppings of your choice. Here I have used peeled frozen shrimp that is steam-cooked with a little salt and sake in a dry pan, half of a chikuwa (a fish paste produce that looks like a bamboo branch), plus cucumber, edamame and carrots. If you cut the carrots in decorative shapes, allow a little more time. It will be pretty anyway with the colorful toppings. Since the protein components of this bento are quite low fat and low calorie, the whole bento is under 400 calories. This bento was inspired by one in Yaseru Obento Recipes. continue reading...

Bento no. 19: Salmon furikake and frozen tofu nuggets

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup (about 220ml) sprouted brown rice (220cal)
  • 2 Tbs. salmon furikake or flakes, 1sp. gomashio (60cal)
  • Tofu nuggets made from about 2/3rds block (200g) of soft tofu (160cal)
  • Carrots and celery cooked in bouillon (30cal)
  • Steamed asparagus spears (20cal)

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

Time needed: 5-10 minutes in the morning, 20-30 previously continue reading...

Bento no. 18: 3-color soboro bento

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup (about 220ml) brown rice (220cal)
  • 2 Tbs. beef sorobo (80cal)
  • 2 Tbs. iri tamago (70cal)
  • Blanced Swiss chard leaves (5cal)
  • Swiss chard stalks sautéed in butter (30cal)
  • Hijiki with bean curd (50cal)
  • 3 fresh lichees or litchi (15cal)

Total calories (approx): 475 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 20-30 previously

Type: Japanese continue reading...

Bento no. 17: Potato oyaki bento with wakame sunomono

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Bento contents:

  • 3 potato oyaki filled with beef soboro (300 cal)
  • Cucumber and wakame sunomono (20cal)
  • Lettuce garnish (negligible)

Total calories (approx): 320 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning, 20-30 previously

Type: Japanese, Potato based, gluten-free continue reading...

Bento no. 15: Bacon wrapped tofu bento

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(click on image for a bigger view)

Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 495 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning, 20+ minutes make-ahead

Type: Japanese, mostly make-ahead

This bento uses a lot of staples and make-ahead items. This is really the key to assembling a varied bento lunch box without having to wake up an hour early in the morning to do so! The only thing that is made from scratch in the morning is the bacon wrapped tofu, and even that can be made the night before if needed (though it’s best if you make it in the morning.) Johbisai or staples are really great: I got six total bentos out of one batch of the pepper and onion confit, and I’ll get at least 2 or 4 bentos out of the 3 remaining tea eggs.

The star of the bento though is the bacon wrapped tofu. It’s delicious hot or cold. For a bento, the salty-sweet variation is particularly good. Be sure to use an extra-firm tofu. continue reading...