I broke out the Mr. Bento today. I had a very vegetable dense meal: vegetable soup with kale, mujadarah with caramelized onions, romaine and radish salad, carrot slices. You have already seen most of this food this week. I usually cook enough to have several meals. I dressed the salad with ground flax seeds and vinegar, which is my favorite very fast dressing.

Mr. Bento was one of my better investments. I’ve had it since 2007. My soup and mujadarah were hot six hours later and my salad was not wilted. I heated the thermal container with hot water while I filled my containers. A trick to use Mr. Bento for both hot and cool foods is to use a circle of terry cloth to separate the hot & cold containers. It really works.



Red beans and brown basmati rice. I used SusanV’s recipe. The same three ingredient broccoli slaw that I had yesterday.

I used my red Urara “alien bunny” bento. It took me quite a while to see that those are bunnies and not aliens on the lid. It is two tier and the top tier seals well, so the salad did not leak.


Three ingredient salad: Broccoli slaw, vinegar and ground flax seeds. Use any vinegar you like — I used a red wine vinegar. I dump the entire bag of broccoli slaw into a container, add vinegar and refrigerate overnight. You can add the flax seeds at the same time or sprinkle them on top when you sit down to eat.

Today I broke out the Lock & Lock containers. Anything runny like ratatouille won’t fare well in a traditional bento.

Red cabbage and a sliced apple in my Totoro snack bento. Vegetable soup in a small vacuum jar. The soup is just a bunch of stuff that I had — carrots, celery, onions, peppers and cabbage. I added a few kale leaves when I heated it up. It may sound very bland and plain, but the more I eat food like this the more I appreciate the subtle flavors. The broth is flavorful and sweet.

This is a very light meal. You might want to add some beans, chickpeas or brown rice to the soup. I ate a bit more heartily at other meals today.

You don’t have to pack your lunch in “authentic” Japanese bento containers. For soup I prefer a vacuum container like this one from Thermos Nissan. It does not leak and it keeps my soup hot until lunch time.

Coming up tomorrow: a three ingredient salad that you can make in less than a minute with ingredients you can find almost anywhere (even Walmart).

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For my inaugural post I chose my very favorite bento. This is a very tiny lunchbox but it makes me smile.

The bottom tier contains Mujadarah, a dish common in the Middle East. The Lebanese immigrants who taught me to make it used only caramelized onions, rice and lentils. I add  some cinnamon, cumin and raisins and cook it in a pressure cooker. Of course I only use brown rice. There are many recipes with more complex spices.

The top tier contains red cabbage, green and yellow peppers, carrot slices and a few slices of cherry tomato.

I’ve just finished eating this delicious oil free plant strong lunch. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s selection.