Seasoned brown rice, steamed vegetables, and nori with cashews and soy sauce.
Process: Steam vegetables and rice. Fill bento 2/3 with mixed vegetables and rice, top with nori and cashews. Drizzle on soy sauce. I tried to cut shapes out of the nori (that's a magen david in the upper left) but my cutters weren't a good tool with the dry nori.
Steamed white rice, pan fried tofu and wilted spinach
Process: Steam rice. Cut tofu to desired thickness and fried in light olive oil over medium-high heat with a splash of tamari until browned. Remove from pan and throw in handfuls of spinach. Stir briefly until wilted. Fill containers halfway with rice, top with spinach, tofu, and a drizzle of tamari. I normally like to jazz this up with spices or sauce, but we were getting over an illness so I kept it light.
Vegan Spring Rolls and Popcorn with Thai Peanut Sauce
Process: Cut up carrots and cucumber into long, thin matchsticks (about 4" long), and slice up avocado. Soak 1 spring roll wrapper (mine are made from tapioca) at a time, until soft. Place a layer of spinach along the center, then a line of carrots, a line of cucumber, and a line of avocado. Roll up. Repeat until done making rolls. Slice. Pop some popcorn. Toss with olive oil and garlic. Serve with Thai Peanut Sauce (I make my own. Regular peanut sauce uses fish sauce, which is not vegan. As far as I know, there is not a regularly available kosher fish sauce either). This is not a quick lunch, unless you make the wraps (and sauce) ahead of time.
Process: Cook up some tomato soup of your choice. We love Pacific Naturals brand, both the creamy tomato and the roasted red pepper and tomato. So delicious. Garnish with chunks of mozzarella and some gluten-free drop biscuits.
Steamed brown rice, black beans, sauteed chopped vegetables
Process: Warmed up the leftover brown rice from the previous day and filled bentos halfway. Warmed veggies and beans in some oil. Placed cookie cutter in each, filled with veggies and surrounded with black beans. Removed the cutters before eating, so the boys could mix everything together, but the shapes were completely lost without them in there, so for the picture they stayed in.
Sauteed mushrooms and garbanzo beans, carrots, and avocado slices
Process: Sauteed mushrooms in butter, then added garbanzos and continued to cook until warmed. Filled bentos halfway with mixture, topped with rough cut carrots and some ridged discs of avocado made with a cookie cutter. There was supposed to be brown rice in here but it took too long to cook and we were hungry, so we went ahead without it.
Feedback: I love avocado!
(kosher, gluten-free, vegan if using oil instead of butter)
I meant to post this a lot earlier, but I'm still getting the hang of scheduling these things. As in, I need to figure out how it actually works.
Process: Steamed rice and the cut vegetables. Mixed rice with canned tuna and filled containers halfway. Placed veggies in rows on top; broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Later added some tamari, as boys selected that rather than butter or oil. Quick, simple bento, and easy on the stomach.
gluten-free challah and peanut butter sandwiches, toasted nori, carrot sticks, raw fudge
Process: Sliced up our leftover gf oat challah and made peanut butter sandwiches. Took 7 sheets of nori, folded in half, and placed beside sandwiches. Cut up one large carrot and divided between the two, finished off with one piece of raw fudge in a (candy? mini cupcake?) wrapper.
This bento was quick and super simple; I usually prefer to toast sandwiches but the boys were happy with them as is. They did eat the fudge first, and stretched out eating these for about two hours, but it was a successful bento, if somewhat plain.
Leftover pizza dinosaurs and leaves, leaf cut carrots, spinach
Process: Filled the containers halfway with spinach leaves. Took leftover anchovy + mushroom pizza and used cookie cutters to punch out dinosaurs and leaves. Used leaf cutter to cut out more leaves from sliced carrots. Placed the dinosaurs (triceratops, fyi) to browse through their leafy jungle.
This was more of a snack bento than a full lunch, as the boys were not very hungry. The pizza was leftover frozen pizza that had everything going for it (GF, kosher dairy, okay price point) but the taste. Too bad. Next time I will use plain pizza for the cutouts, as the toppings obscured the shape a bit. Also, need to use a tastier pizza.
Feedback: Wow! Also: Mmmm, I love carrot trees! I mean leaves!