Bento no. 30: Meatless riceless spring bento

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 515 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15-20 minutes in the morning if you make everything in the morning

Type: Not Japanese, vegetarian (lacto-ovo)

It's still rather chilly around here, and the weather has been very mixed - one minute we have bright sunshine, the next we have freezing rain or even snow. Still I want it to feel like spring, and this non-rice bento fits the bill. The strawberries are from Spain, since Swiss strawberries won't be in season until late May to June, but they were on sale and I couldn't resist. Likewise for the asparagus - at least it wasn't shipped across from California or Mexico. The cheery yellow of the frittata also brightens up a grey day.

The samosa-like lentil snacks as I call them are a staple around our house - they are mashed up red lentils with onions and all kinds of spices. I make them in a batch since it doesn't make sense to make it in small quantities. The lentil balls freeze very nicely. They are good warm or cold, with a dipping sauce or not. These ones were made without bulgur, since I didn't have any on hand. I made them rather large so only 3 fit in the box - normally I'd make them a bit smaller though. They are very filling and tasty.

The little apple thing is a mayonnaise container - it holds just about a teaspoonful of mayonnaise, which is not much, but when you're watching the calories... Since it is just a teaspoonful, I use real, rich mayo.

You can scale up the amounts easily for a bigger eater or a picnic.

Timeline

You can make the whole bento in advance - blanch the asparagus and wash and hull the strawberries the night before. The frittata will keep for a couple of days if necessary. Assuming you are making it in the morning, allow about 15 minutes as shown. The lentil snacks can be defrosted in the microwave, but they are nicer if you re-bake them in a toaster oven. Or nuke them first, and finish off in the toaster oven. Handle carefully since they can get a bit crumbly.

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