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Monday, March 23, 2009

Thinking Outside the [Bento] Box

I’ve always been intrigued by bento box lunches ever since I started reading Vegan Lunch Box about three or four years ago. However, I can’t say I’ve actually ever owned a bento box. Sure, I have tons picked out if I were to ever buy one (example 1, example 2, and example 3) but instead I continue to use our old peanut butter containers to pack lunches.

When I saw an article on bento lunches, I jumped at the chance to make Soy-Lime Tofu & Rice. It would be the perfect lunch for Ryan, who is working 14-hour days and needs something he can just grab and eat while still working.

I have to admit, I was a little intimidated by the rice part. Most people know that although I’m a great cook, I just cannot seem to cook a good batch of rice. I blame it on my electric stovetop, but hey, maybe it’s just me. Sure enough, my rice was hard and crunchy when the timer went off, so I added some more water and steamed it until it was edible. Seems that it all turned out quite well; Ryan said it passed the “fork test” where he stabbed one of balls with his fork and it stayed together while being dipped into the peanut sauce. Go me!

The tofu turned out great too. I enjoyed stealing a couple pieces from the fridge as a snack throughout the day. It wasn’t too salty which is one of my biggest fears in working with soy sauce even though I use the low-sodium kind. Although I don’t do a lot of repeat meals, I think this one must live on and be made again! Now if only I had a bento box to up the cuteness factor…


  1. Your tofu and rice balls look yummy! And those bento boxes are so cute... I especially like ex.#2.
    I pack a lunch everyday but I use the Ziploc re-useable containers (boring).

    I have trouble with rice too, and I can tell you it is because of the electric stove top. When I had a gas stove, I never had trouble.

    I have resorted to buying the pre-cooked Uncle Ben's 90 second microwavable pouches. Although, I don't use the microwave; I cook it on the stove top. The brown rice isn't bad :)

  2. I have an electric stove, and here's what I do to cook rice. I treat it like pasta. I don't measure the water and rice, just boil up a bunch of water, then add the rice, keep it boiling furiously. When it's almost done, I drain it, put some water back in the pan, put the colander with the rice on top, pop it back on the stove, and cover with a towel and let it steam for five minutes. Turns out perfect.

  3. Funny. . . I've been obsessed with bento boxes for a while now and have never actually scrounged up the cash to buy one (or three, since I want the kids to have them too -- they make such cute ones!) I have about four sites bookmarked with the ones I covet. And I always mess up rice even with a rice cooker -- but I tell myself I wouldn't if I had a cute bento box. It would all just come together.


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