Bento no. 56: Colorful vegan bento featuring green pea mini-burgers

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Bento contents:

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

Time needed: 10-15 minutes

Type: Vegan and gluten-free, relying on stock and frozen vegetables

Here we have the bento I put together using the two most recently featured recipes. One advantage of a vegan bento is that, unless you go overboard with the oil and nuts and seeds and other high calorie items, as long as you watch the portion sizes the total calori count comes out quite low. But it's still very satisfying because of the fiber content, the variety in texture and so on.

The Poppy seed encrusted green pea mini-burgers can be made in advance and frozen. Just defrost them in the microwave toaster oven, or in a small non-stick frying pan over low heat (just put in the burgers without any added oil, put on a lid, and leave until heated through). The Carrot sesame salad is even better the day after it's made, so make some for dinner and just set a little aside for your bento.

The fried rice shows a way to use up leftover stir-fry. You can use stir-fry that you made yourself, or leftovers from a Chinese takeout dinner. (If using the latter, you may want to drain off the excess oil.) Just chop it up roughly, and add to a hot pan with some plain brown rice (or white rice if that's all you have). There should be enough oil and seasonings on the stir fry that you don't have to add any more, though you'll want to taste it just to make sure. In this version I have a red peppers, green onions, zucchini and some celery. Omnivores can add some chopped up leftover meat to this too. And heartier appetites can just add more of the fried rice.

In case you are wondering where the protein is, it's in the pea burgers (from green peas and tahini) as well as the brown rice!

Menu For Hope reminder: There is still time to enter the Menu For Hope charity raffle. I've checked and I'd say your odds of winning the Just Bento prize are still very good! Three great bento books, $50 to spend at J-List.com, plus that great feeling of supporting a good cause! Check out the details here. (The Just Hungry prizes, especially the box of Japanese food, still have good odds too - check them out here)