Bento no. 6: Assemble-your-own pita bread sandwich bento
- 2 small pita breads (or use one regular size) (150cal)
- 3 black bean vegan burgers (150cal)
- Fruit salad containing 1/2 small apple and 1/2 small pear (120cal)
- 1 container low-fat yogurt (60 cal)
- Mixed salad - lettuce, carrots, red pepper, tomato (20 cal)
- 1 tablespoon homemade preserves (about 50 cal)
- Tzatziki salt
Total calories (approx): 550 cal (how calories are calculated)
Type: Sort of Middle-Eastern, bread based
The problem with most pre-made sandwiches is that, unless you put a high fat barrier between the bread and the moist contents, such as butter or peanut butter, the bread gets soggy. This issue is avoided if you pack a make-your-own sandwich set in a bento box. The bread is packed in a plastic zip bag on its own.
For this type of bento, the box needs to be roomier because you want to pack in as much vegetable/salad as you can. I used a large Hello Kitty head shaped box for mine because it's roomy and is divided. Here's a rather more manly version of the same, packed in plain plastic containers, for the Guy to not be embarassed at the office. (His version also got one more burger and two more pitas.)
For the main protein, I've used the bean burgers again which I made in some quantity on Sunday, but reduced the number to 3 to compensate for the addition of the yogurt. You can use tuna salad or falafels or ham or whatever else strikes your fancy instead of course.
The plain yogurt is used both as a sauce for the pita sandwich and as dessert. A little of it is mixed with a flavored salt (here I used a tzatziki salt, but you can use garlic salt, raita mix, or even plain sea salt) to make a sauce that goes very well with the bean burgers and salad. (The salt is in the small plastic container in the upper left compartment of the Kitty head box. It's actually the plastic capsule that the surgical gloves come in in a certain brand of hair dye kit. They reclose tightly and are really useful.) The rest of the yogurt is stirred with the spoonful of preserves, which can be eaten with the fruit salad for a nice dessert. You could also use the kind of yogurt that has the jammy stuff on the bottom that you stir up - scoop off some of the plain yogurt to use for the savory sauce, and mix up the rest for a much sweeter yogurt.
Adding color to your bento without any additional effort
The yellow round thing in the corner of the salad is a lemon-shaped tomato that we grew in our garden this year. (We still have a few of them clinging to the dying plants, though it's actually snowing today.) Look for colorful, cute vegetables and fruit when you shop, with an eye towards color, to brighten up your bento box.
Another way to make lunchtime more fun is with the container and utensils. I've used a bright pink Hello Kitty head shaped box (here you see the lid). It's definitely a conversation starter, to put it mildly.
Basically, this bento is just assembled and packed. The only cooking of sorts is re-heating the bean burgers. If you can prep the vegetables and fruit the night before, it's even easier.
A recipe for homemade whole wheat pita bread that you make in a frying pan.