Bento no. 67: Zucchini Two Ways Vegetarian Bento

bento_67a_500.jpg

Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 550 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 10-15 minutes in the morning

Type: Vegetarian, Japanese with a twist

This bento really reflects what's available at the farmers' markets around these parts at this time of year. The spring asparagus are just about over, especially the green ones (though the fat white ones from the north are still available in abundance), and the zucchini, or courgettes, are taking over in full force. Radishes are still available, but becoming a bit scarcer as they get pushed out by the summer vegetables.

This is almost vegan, but I couldn't resist turning the zucchini blossom ends into little fritters, using beaten egg. You could make this vegan by just sautéing the blossom ends along with the zucchini fruit and flower petal tips, but I do love the crispy yet doughy texture of the fritters.

The baby zucchini that were attached to the flowers were sautéed separately with the flower petal tips, and simply seasoned with salt, pepper and soy sauce.

The only thing I actually cooked in the morning were the boiled asparagus tips and sautéed baby zucchini. The pickled radish was premade days ago, and the zucchini flower fritters and poached frozen tofu are intentional leftovers from the night before. (Intentional leftovers just means that I made extra and set some aside specifically for bento use!) So I could assemble this bento in less than 10 minutes with ease.

Some points for this bento:

  • Deep fried fritters? Well, when the rest of your bento is low in calories, you can get away with something that's fried, even if you're watching your calories.
  • I used plain sesame seeds rather than gomashio (sesame salt), since there were plenty of well seasoned things in this bento already.
  • I always try to use brown rice or another high-nutrition grain instead of white rice for vegetarian bentos, for the extra boost of protein and other nutrients as much as taste and texture.
  • If you can't get a hold of zucchini flowers, but want that hit of yellow in your bento, you could put in a tamagoyaki instead.