Bento no. 36: Spring vegetable bento with jumping fish

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Bento contents:

  • 1 cup (1 cup = 220ml) bamboo shoot rice made with sprouted brown rice, 200 cal
  • 1 1/2 cups asparagus, bamboo shoot and snow pea stir-fry, 70 cal
  • 1 wiener cut into fish, 150 cal

Total calories (approx): 420 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10 minutes in the morning

Type: Japanese, omnivore (wieners!)

This is a quick-assembly bento (about 10 minutes in the morning) that consists mainly of seasonal vegetables. I did use a wiener sausage for the protein part because I was running low on other protein ingredients, but it's just one so I don't feel too bad about it, especially since the rest of the bento is so healthy! I cut the wiener into little fish, and arranged them so they look as they they are swimming upstream. I've described the wiener fish here - the tutorial (in Japanese, but with very clear photos) is on this page. You could of course just cut up the sausage into diagonal slices - but the fish are more fun! One sausage yields 4 fish. To keep the bento all-vegan, substitute some veggie franks, fried tofu or other vegetable protein.

The main ideas to take away from this bento

  • Use vegetables in season as much as possible. Here I have used bamboo shoot, snow peas (mangetout) and asparagus. I know you can get snow peas shipped in year-round these days, but they are really in season in the spring. Featuring seasonal vegetables in your bento is a great way to get out of a same-old-bento rut, which I think we all get into sometimes.
  • Mixing in a low calorie, high fiber vegetable with rice lowers the calorie count while adding flavor and texture. Bamboo shoots have almost no calories. You can use carrots, broccoli stalks, and so on instead.

The bamboo shoot rice recipe is here. The stir fry is made like the one on the same page, but without the bacon and with a couple of asparagus spears added.

Timeline

The rice should be assembled and the timer set the night before - or just make it the night before and have some for dinner! If you can prep the snow peas at least the night before it would save you a lot of time in the morning. A couple of the snow peas are blanched briefly and used to decorate the top of the rice.

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