Bento no. 14: Vegan bento with baked miso-tahini-nut carrots


(click on image for a bigger view)

Bento contents:

  • Baked carrot slices with miso-nut topping (230cal)
  • 3/4 cups white rice (130cal)
  • 1 Tbs. edamame (20cal)
  • Broccoli with wasabi sauce (10cal)
  • 1/2 cup Pepper and onion confit (60cal)

Total calories (approx): 450 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 30-40 minutes total (20-30 the night before or earlier, 10 in the morning)

Type: Japanese, vegan, mostly make-ahead

I admit that I've been using more white rice in my recent bentos, because my mother shipped over a bag of shinmai (new harvest rice) which is so delicious we can't get enough of it. To compensate for the loss of fiber and so on in brown rice I try to put other fiber-rich foods in the bento.

This is an all-vegan bento. The star of the show is the baked carrots with miso, tahini and walnut paste. The salty-nutty flavor of these fits so well with the white rice, and it has a very 'meaty' kind of taste. The dedicated omnivore in house loves these. The carrots are nestled on some stocked sweet pepper and onion confit. The edamame adds a little extra protein and fiber too. The wasabi of the broccoli adds contrast.

All the food in this except for the rice, which is freshly cooked (shinmai is best that way) is pre-cooked the night before or earlier and the edamame are basically just defrosted, so it's a good example of how you can assemble a colorful and balanced bento by using staple and pre-made items. Assembly in the morning only takes about 10 minutes if you take the time to heat and crisp things up. You could just put everything as-is in your bento box too if you're in a big hurry!


Per bento

Equipment (needed for morning assembly)

  • Toaster oven or a frying pan
  • Another frying pan
  • 1 saucepan
  • electric water kettle
  • rice cooker

Steps - the night before or earlier

The idea here is not to try to make all the components the night before, but to make them over a few days. This is already the second time I've used the pepper confit, which lasts in the fridge for a week or so. The carrots can be made a couple of days in advance or even frozen. The broccoli is best if you make it the night before, but it will stand being in the fridge for a couple of days.

The one thing you do must do the night before is to wash the rice and set your rice cooker timer to finish cooking in the morning. You could of course use frozen rice.

Steps - in the morning

  • Fill and switch on the kettle.
  • Put the hot cooked rice in the bento box.
  • Defrost the carrot slices if they are frozen for about 3 minutes in the microwave (the time depends on the wattage).
  • Put the boiled water in a pan with a pinch of salt and add the edamame (you could also microwave them).
  • Put the carrots in the toaster oven and toast for about 2-3 minutes (or heat them up a bit in a hot frying pan)
  • Heat up the confit in a frying pan (If the confit was made pretty recently you can skip this - it does keep pretty well)
  • Shell the edamame and arrange on the rice. You can also just pack the pods unshelled.
  • Pack your bento box.

To make this a 'man-sized' bento, I increased the rice to 1 1/2 cups, added a big handful of edamame pods rather than shelling them, and put in 6 carrot slices and more broccoli.


The timeline is just for the morning assembly.


(click on timeline for a bigger view)

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