Bento no. 50: Vegan bento with quinoa salad and curried kidney beans

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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 450 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 5-10 minutes with pre-made components

Type: Vegan, not Japanese, gluten-free

I don't have much to explain about this bento, since I've already given you the recipes for the two components in it. I wanted to show it anyway because it's an example of a protein-rich (double-protein from the quinoa an the kidney beans), filling (fiber-rich), colorful and delicious vegan bento. The resident die-hard omnivore loves both the quinoa salad and the beans, together like this or on their own. And, it can all be made ahead! Quinoa is a very sturdy grain (it's actually a seed) which doesn't get dry or mushy if kept well covered in the refrigerator, and the spicy kidney beans also hold up pretty well for a couple of days.

I made the kidney beans without peppers and with more carrots, since the quinoa salad has peppers in it. If you want to make this bento even more colorful, add some raw veggies like shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cut up cucumber and so on, carried along in a separate container. You might also tuck in a lemon wedge to squirt on.

This is one of the few bentos that tastes good at refrigerator-cold temperature as well as room temperature. You'll want to carry along a spoon or a round fork (like the one in the photo, a very cute picnic fork I got at French supermarket Leclerc) rather than chopsticks for this.