6 BENTO (LUNCHBOX) IDEAS
I just loooove Autumn in Melbourne. The weather is lovely and mild, yet it’s warm enough to enjoy salads and light bento dinners without everything wilting, ourselves included.
I guest posted over at Simple Provisions a couple of weeks ago, sharing one of our favourite meals for this time of year, Teriyaki Beef Donburi (photo below); thinly-sliced beef fillet, fresh asparagus and avocado on a bed of sticky sushi rice and black quinoa. A portion of the beef and rice is reserved as planned-overs for a batch of Teriyaki beef and asparagus sushi rolls. Have a look at the recipes (if you like!) and while you’re there have a meander around Amelia’s inspirational blog. She has impeccable foodie credentials, having worked for the queen (Martha!), she’s a beautiful writer and photographer, and she celebrates the art of simple yet joyful cooking with seasonal ingredients.
My featured Teriyaki beef and asparagus sushi rolls make a regular appearance in our school and work lunchboxes. That’s them below, along with a round-up of weekend lunches and light dinners we’ve enjoyed over the past few months, served up obento-style in segmented lunchboxes. All the recipes are on the blog (links provided).
I’m signing off this post with a pic of my boys and their buddies at the seaside after school; probably our last beach date for a while. Time to bring out the cardies!
PS. I often post lunch ideas such as these on the 1=2 Facebook page, and they don’t always make it to the blog, so do follow me there if you’d like to!
PS2. If you’d like even more lunch inspiration, check out my last obento post, with 6 more combinations, here. You should also go visit Anna the Red and her incredible Kyaraben (character bento) gallery, featuring Where the wild things are, Spirited away and Totoro.
PS3. ‘Obento’ or ‘bento’? Good question! The two Japanese words are interchangeable, although obento is the honorific term.
OBENTO 2: Roast eggplant, farro and chickpea layered salad with tahini sauce
Roast eggplant, farro and chickpea layered salad
Beetroot and pine nut hummus
Mini pitas with sesame seeds
I copied these little pitas from my local Middle Eastern take-away, and they’re so good with dip! Use my wholemeal (wholewheat) pizza dough recipe to make mini pizzas. Cut little rounds of dough; about 7cm (2¾”) in diameter, and 5mm (¼”) thick. A full quantity of dough will yield 30 mini pizzas (you can make a half serve if preferred). Brush lightly with olive oil, coat with sesame seeds and bake at 220°C (425ºF) for 8–10 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
OBENTO 3: Scotch eggs
Scotch egg, halved
Pico de gallo (fresh tomato salsa)
Wholegrain bread, buttered
Scotch eggs are lovely served hot or at room temperature, with a good dollop of tomato relish or mustard.
OBENTO 4: Falafel
Falafel with farro and chickpeas
Fresh Turkish bread, split
Tomato and cucumber salad
These falafel are super quick to prepare as they’re made from a planned-over portion of the salad shown in OBENTO 1.
OBENTO 5: Corned beef roll with egg and potato salad
Corned beef, in a roll with Swiss cheese and wholegrain mustard
2 large pickles
Egg and potato salad
Home-cooked corned beef is surprisingly easy to make and the leftovers are beautiful served up in a crunchy roll for lunch, or stirred through potato hash for brekkie.
OBENTO 6: Udon noodle, spinach and sesame salad
Udon noodle, spinach and sesame salad
Blanched asparagus spears, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds
This is one of our favourite salads, and planned-overs can be set aside for crab noodle fritters! Podded edamame beans are available frozen from large Asian food stores.