Bento no. 26: Mini-meat and tofu burgers, spinach with sesame


(This is the web elf. This is one of the articles Maki instructed to post while she's on the disabled list.)

Bento contents:

  • 1 cup zakkokumai (mixed-grain rice, see this article), 160 cal
  • 1/3 cup white beans with honey, 50 cal
  • 2 mini tofu-meat burgers with red wine, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce (recipe), 160 cal
  • Blanched spinach with sesame sauce (recipe), 40 cal

Total calories (approx): 410 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, omnivore (protein comes from beef, tofu and beans)

This is a relaxed bento that relies on mini-burgers stocked in the freezer as the main protein. It's strange how much more relaxed I feel when I know that the main part of the bento is made in advance. All you need to do to the burgers is to heat them through and add the sauce.

The most fiddly dish is the spinach with sesame. You can make this the night before if you prefer, though I've given the timeline assuming you make it in the morning.

The beans are just canned white beans (rather big ones...I'm not sure of the exact name for them, but on the can they were called 'Big Italian Beans') that are drained and rinsed briefly, then heated up in a small frying pan with a little honey and soy sauce. It may sound weird, but I like that sweet-salty taste. You can omit the beans and fill up that compartment with rice if you prefer.

Recipe: Canned white beans with honey

This makes 2 to 3 portions. In my case I put 1/3 cup in my bento, and the rest in the Guy bento. (He also got 4 mini-burgers and more rice.)

  • 1 can (400g/about 1 lb) white beans
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • black pepper

Drain off the beans and rinse them briefly. Add them to small nonstick frying pan with the honey and soy sauce, and heat through. Add black pepper.

For the other components:

Mini-burger recipe (at the bottom of the meat-mixture article)

Spinach with sesame sauce recipe (at the bottom of the blanching spinach article)

Packing tips

To pack this bento, put the rice in first, shoving it firmly to one side, and put the beans in the space left, trying not to smoosh them (since canned beans are quite soft). For the other compartment, put the burgers in first and then fill the spaces left with spinach. Here I've used 2 1/2 burgers (you can't really see the 1/2 burger, it got buried under one of the whole burgers). You can't have too much spinach I feel.


You can make everything the night before if you prefer, and just pack things in the morning. But even if you assemble it all in the morning it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. If you omit the beans, you may want to add a little furikake to the rice.


(click on the timeline for a larger view.)

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