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Bento contents:

Total calories (approx): 495 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 15 minutes in the morning, 20+ minutes make-ahead

Type: Japanese, mostly make-ahead

This bento uses a lot of staples and make-ahead items. This is really the key to assembling a varied bento lunch box without having to wake up an hour early in the morning to do so! The only thing that is made from scratch in the morning is the bacon wrapped tofu, and even that can be made the night before if needed (though it's best if you make it in the morning.) Johbisai or staples are really great: I got six total bentos out of one batch of the pepper and onion confit, and I'll get at least 2 or 4 bentos out of the 3 remaining tea eggs.

The star of the bento though is the bacon wrapped tofu. It's delicious hot or cold. For a bento, the salty-sweet variation is particularly good. Be sure to use an extra-firm tofu.

Lazy easy tea eggs


This is a sort of short-term storage staple. It only keeps in the refrigerator for about 3 or 4 days, but you can make them at any time and they are handy for filling a corner of a bento box.

There are many more complicated recipes for tea eggs, a traditional Chinese recipe. The boiled eggs are usually meant to be kept in the tea-based marinade with their shells on, carefully cracked all around so that a lovely marble pattern is revealed when the eggs are peeled.

My method is way simpler, and is motivated by the fact that I don't really want to be fiddling around with peeling eggs in the morning. Since the eggs are totally peeled, the marinade will penetrate it faster and deeper, so you can start using them just an hour after you've put them in the liquid if you like.


Bento contents:

  • Kiriboshi Daikon (dried daikon radish) fritters
  • Carrot and lemon salad
  • Boiled edamame

Total calories (approx): 380-400 (how calories are calculated)

Time needed: 25 minutes total (10 the night before, 15 in the morning)

Type: Fusion-vegan-gluten-free