Bento no. 28: Salad thoughts

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup vegan potato salad with extra tofu 'mayonnaise', 220 cal
  • Mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes, 30 cal
  • 1 medium apple, 60 cal

Total calories (approx): 310 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5 minutes in the morning

Type: Salad, vegan, gluten-free

This is just a throw-together salad bento - the recipe for the vegan potato salad is here, and I just added a little extra of the 'mayo'. This is the remainder of the batch that I made a couple of days before. The salad is a pre-cut bag - cheating! - with some cherry tomatoes added. Here's how it looks opened up. (The oddly shaped carrot slivers are meant to look like bunnies - the salad was sold as an Easter Salad. It was on sale though...maybe those bunnies didn't go over well.)

If this looks like too little food for you, add some more potato salad, another fruit, or (if you're not vegan) cheese, bread, and so on.

There's no procedure to explain here (just put everything in containers and go), but here are some of my thoughts on bringing a salad for lunch.

  • To me, a great salad is based on fresh, crunchy greens. It's a bother to wash greens in the morning for me, so I wash mine (even the pre-packed kind, because you never know if it's really 'clean') as soon as possible after it comes home from the stores, and dry it thoroughly in a salad spinner. Pat whole lettuce leaves and such, which hold water in the nooks and crannies, with kitchen towels or paper towels to really dry thoroughly.
  • The main drawback to bringing a salad for lunch is that the longer such greens sit around at room temperature, the sadder they get. They start to wilt, and some delicate parts may even start to brown around the edges. If you have a refrigerator at work, the best thing to do is to stick your salad in there. If you don't though, try to bring along an ice pack. The box I've used here has an integrated ice pack box that clicks on below the main container. Unfortunately it's only available as far as I know in Switzerland (for Swiss residents or visitors, it's from Migros' Topline series, which I'm very fond of - the little blue container is also from the same series). You can easily find small ice packs and such either in the kitchenware section or even the camping section of a big box store. Just hold the ice pack onto your salad pack with a couple of bands. Alternatively you can put your salad in an insulated lunch container.
  • I love tomatoes in salad, but for bento salads I stick to cherry tomatoes, because they are their own little waterproof packs which don't make their surroundings water logged. I leave the sliced tomato salads for eating at home. (Besides, you can get reasonably tasting cherry tomatoes even in March.)
  • Finally, I always carry salad dressing and any 'soggy' ingredients separately from the greens - in this case the potato salad. Little foil packs of salad dressing are quite convenient, or you can put some in a bento bottle or mayonnaise container. Mix everything together just before you eat, and your salad will taste as fresh as if you just made it.