Life can get very hectic. So sometimes, it’s good to have simple recipes to fall back on for meals. The same rings true for bento! Sure, it’s great to have the time to make a fancy bento, but that’s not always the case. Here are some simple bento recipes, and most will use some pantry staples!
Easy Stuffed Onigiri (Rice balls)
2/3 cups cooked short-grain rice (I use Nishiki brand. It HAS to be short grain. Long grain will not be sticky enough.)
2 tablespoons filling*
2 2″ thick strips of nori,optional.
Divide rice into two equal portions. Using your hands, shape each portion into a triangle. Using a small spoon or your fingers, carefully care out a hole into the center of the rice ball. Pack the filling into the cavity and cover with rice. Wrap the nori strip over the base of the triangle, if using.
To make yaki onigiri, brush a small amount of oil into a small frying pan. Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Place the onigiri into the frying pan and baste with soy sauce mixture. Cook until crispy on each side.
*NOTE: You can fill onigiri with anything you like. Traditional fillings include sweet bean paste, bonito flakes, and salmon. I like to mix tuna with a little soy sauce and sesame seeds. You can also use shredded chicken or beef, minced shrimp, or scrambled eggs.
Panko Crusted Salmon Croquettes
1 5oz pouch boneless skinless salmon
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/3 cup panko, plus an additional 1/2 cup
Olive oil, for frying
Combine all the ingredients except for the 1/2 cup panko (place that in a shallow bowl). Shape mixture into four patties and coat each patty with the additional panko. Heat olive oil in a skillet. Place the patties in the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side. Allow to cool completely before packing into bento.
5 Minute Yaki Udon
1 package instant udon soup (discard flavoring packet or save for another use)
2 tablespoon each shredded carrot and diced onion
1/4 cup shredded cabbage
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoon sugar
Olive oil, for sauteeing
Shredded Nori and sesame seeds, optional
Cook the udon noodles according to package directions. Combine the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar Meanwhile, sautee the carrot and onion until tender. Add cabbage and cook until soft. Add the cooked noodles and sauce, combine well and heat through. Garnish with nori and sesame seeds.
Place a handful of broccoli crowns* in boiling water. Once tender (but not fully cooked!) remove from water, blanch in cold water, and drain. Once cooled, sprinkle with a little sesame oil and sesame seeds.
*NOTE: Green beans, snow peas, or carrot matchsticks may be used as alternatives.
2 tablespoons minced pineapple
1 tablespoon minced apple (I use fuji or gala apples)
1 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla yogurt
Combine all ingredients and mix well. This makes a delicious bento dessert!
You have any fast, simple recipes that you like to use in bento?