Two also-ran quick bentos made in under 15 minutes
While I do try to keep a good stash of pre-made food to quickly assemble bentos in the morning, sometimes I've just run out, or am not in the mood to use whatever I have in the freezer, or leftovers in the fridge. That doesn't mean it's not possible to assemble a bento quickly using fresh ingredients and pantry items. Here are a couple that I made last week. The only premade 'stash' I used was frozen brown rice.
Quickie colorful scrambled egg bento
In this bento: brown rice, cucumber and cabbage 'instant pickle', scrambled egg with some ground beef, red pepper, and green onion.
The red pepper and green onion (1/2 a pepper, about a tablespoon of chopped up green onion) are sautéed in olive oil. To this about 2 tablespoons of ground beef are added and browned, seasoning added, then finally two eggs dropped in to make a sort of rough omelette (sort of like a malformed Western omelette). Mound on top of the defrosted rice.
For the 'instant pickle', roughly chop up a couple of cabbage leaves, thinly slice about 1/3rd of a seedless-type cucumber (the kind that comes in shrinkwrap plastic), sprinkle on some sea salt and massage with your hands. Drain off excess juice and add a bit of lemon juice and dried red chili pepper.
Tip: When you need just a little bit of meat but have a big frozen lump, just microwave on the DEFROST setting for 2-3 minutes until you can scrape or break off as much as you need. Wrap up the rest and put in the refrigerator, and use it for dinner or the next day.
Quickle salmon bento
In this bento: brown rice, small salmon filet, sautéed baby spinach and sweet corn
I periodically buy some salmon and make salted salmon (shiozake) with it. But on this occasion I just used some fresh unprocessed salmon, seasoned on both sides and popped into a toaster oven for about 5 minutes.
The other part of the bento is just as easy to make. Heat up a pan with a little olive oil, add a couple of tablespoons of frozen or canned sweet corn kernels, add two big handfuls of prewashed baby spinach leaves and sauté until the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
As you can see, both are simple two-item (besides rice) bentos. Although they are quickly assembled, I did try to make sure they would look appetizing by including red, green and yellow ingredients. That's the key to making any bento box look literally good enough to eat.
(Also-ran bentos or botsuben on Just Bento are bentos that didn't quite make the official numbered list for whatever reason (not attractive enough, nothing new to say, etc.) but might be of interest anyway! They are just some of my everyday bentos. See more also-ran bentos. )