Bento no. 31: Quick-assembly bento with nothing made ahead


Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 480 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes

Type: Japanese, meatless (tuna)

As I keep on stressing repeatedly on Just Bento, the best way to spend as little of your precious morning time assembling a bento is to have a stash of food pre-made ready to go or to make things the night before. But there are those times when you've run through all of your premade food, there are no handy leftovers, and you couldn't make anything the night before. This bento can be assembled in under 15 minutes, even if you make everything from scratch.

Key points to cut corners and save time

  • Chopping up vegetables is a bit of a bother. For this bento, the only thing that the knife comes out for is the green onions. A little of the green part gets chopped up for the tuna tofu burgers, and the rest is just hacked up for the stir-fry. (You can even leave on the hairy roots if you want - macrobiotics advocates do, since they believe in eating the whole vegetable including the roots.) The red pepper and pak choy was just ripped apart with the hands into more or less bite size pieces. You can use the rip-apart technique with any rip-apartable vegetable - greens, broccoli, etc. You could also use vegetables that can be used whole, like baby vegetables, small mushrooms, and so on.
  • Using green onion instead of regular onion - onions can be fiddly to peel, but green onion just needs a quick wash.
  • If you have an electric range, start heating up the two burners you will be using (for the stir fry and the burgers) before you need them.
  • All the ingredients for the tuna tofu burger were just dumped into a plastic bag and mixed in there. (A commenter did point out that using a plastic bag is wasteful, but it does save time, and you can wash and re-use a good quality plastic bag a few times.)

One thing you can't get around is the need to have pre-cooked rice. If your frozen rice stash is gone, and you didn't wash some rice and set the timer on your ricer cooker the night before, you could use some microwave-ready rice. (If you have a microwave at work, just bring along a pack - no need to put it in the bento box even!)

Very simple recipe: Torn apart vegetable stir-fry

Makes enough for 2 bentos.

  • Heat up some oil (I use olive oil) in a large non-stick frying pan or a small wok.
  • Roughly chop up some green onion. Tear apart a large red (or other color) pepper. Dump both into the pan.
  • Tear the leaves off of 1 large or 2 small pak choys. Rip them into bite size pieces. Toss into the pan as you go.
  • Stir fry over high heat. Season with salt and pepper and a dash of soy sauce.

This is the 'Guy' version - just with more in it. I divided the tuna tofu miso mini-burgers into 7 portions, gave myself 3 of them and the Guy 4. The total for his bento is around 700.




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