Creative and Easy Home-Cooked Food Ideas for Your Bento Box

Jun 15, 2021

What better way to bring a piece of that special feeling your home gives to you than taking a perfectly packed, nourishing, and delicious home-cooked meal to work or to school? Everyone will agree that nothing beats the taste of home, and, fortunately, the trending, Japanese-style bento boxes have made eating a healthy and nutritionally balanced meal -anywhere away from home- an easy task.

Grabbing a hot dog or a juicy burger on the go is no longer an option when you have an utterly convenient lunch box with perfectly portioned food that is visually organized and appealing, and above all, packed with everything you need for a nutritionally balanced diet. All you have to do is open the box and enjoy what’s inside.

To help you unleash your creativity in the kitchen while preparing a bento box for yourself or your kids, we suggest trying out some of the following lunch recipes.

6 Easy and Healthy Home-Cooked Bento Box Food Ideas

1. Tuna Salad Sandwich and Melon Mozzarella Salad

When you’re craving something comforting and familiar, opt for the classic tuna salad sandwich. It makes a great bento box lunch option since it is simple and light, yet satisfying. Toss in a few colorful fruit and vegetable additions, and you’ve made yourself a well-balanced meal in no time.

Baked plantain chips, cucumber slices, and a sweet and savory melon mozzarella salad are just a few ideas to complement your tuna salad sandwich.

2. Crispy Home-Cooked Sesame Tofu

Home-Cooked Sesame Tofu

If you are a tofu fan, you’ll love this bento box lunch idea that centers around crispy, sesame encrusted tofu. Paired with sides such as stir-fried greens, pickles, and rice, this crunchy pan-fried sesame tofu makes a truly nourishing and comforting lunch.

To make the tofu, start by marinating pieces of pressed tofu in a mixture of tamari or soy sauce and Sriracha, before coating the pieces in cornstarch, then in aquafaba, and finally in breadcrumbs mixed with black and white sesame seeds. Once you’ve coated your tofu pieces thoroughly, fry them in a heated oil of your choice (e.g. peanut oil) on each side.

Pack your bento box with the sesame-crusted tofu pieces and portions of sides to your liking, and your lunch is ready. This sesame tofu goes great with pickled vegetables such as daikon, ginger, or turnips, plain rice, stir-fried vegetables such as broccoli, and condiments like tamari or soy sauce and chili sauce.

3. Mango Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

These super easy lettuce wraps filled with mango tempeh are all you need for a light yet filling lunch. Take a few, fresh lettuce leaves (e.g. butter lettuce or bibb) and top them with crumbled tempeh, diced mango, and diced cucumber, then sprinkle some roasted cashews and mint leaves on top, and finish off with a drizzle of sweet chili sauce or spicy Sriracha.

The crumbled tempeh should be lightly browned in some vegetable oil, and then combined with lime juice and hoisin sauce for added flavor. For all meat lovers out there, you can replace the crumbled tempeh with pork, chicken, or any other meat you prefer.

4. Korean-Style Potatoes (Al Gamja Jorim)

This one may take longer to prepare, but it actually is a perfect “make-ahead” dish. Known as al gamja jorim in Korea, this is a very popular potato-based side dish consisting of baby potatoes braised in a sweet and salty mixture of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, agave, and water.

The braising method imparts a heavenly rich, sweet, and savory flavor to the potatoes you’ll undoubtedly find irresistibly delicious. Although they’re usually eaten as a side dish, we suggest making these Korean-style potatoes the focal point of your bento lunch box. Accompany your al gamja jorim with sides such as tangy cucumbers, kimchi, fresh baby spinach leaves, sesame carrots, green onion, toasted sesame seeds, strips of nori, and bean sprouts.

5. Zucchini Noodle Caprese and Baked Herbed Chicken

Baked Herbed Chicken

This Italian-inspired dish will fill your bento box with vibrant colors, irresistible flavor, and diverse textures. Zucchini noodle caprese is a refreshing salad consisting of gluten-free zucchini noodles tossed with cherry tomato halves, buffalo mozzarella balls, and basil pesto, all topped with a handful of toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves.

To boost the protein in your lunch, we suggest adding a few slices of baked herbed chicken to your bento box, while for a light and healthy snacking addition, choose fresh berries such as blueberries and raspberries.

6. Homemade Smoked Salmon Pinwheels and Watermelon Salad

Prepare yourself mouth-watering tortilla pinwheels stuffed with juicy cold-smoked salmon for a delicious lunch on the go. If you opt for a grain free and gluten free meal, use cassava flour tortillas for your pinwheels, otherwise, you’re free to choose whichever type of tortilla you prefer.

Take a tortilla and spread it over with a layer of creamy chevre mixed with oven-roasted garlic and fresh chives, then top it with baby spinach leaves and thin slices of smoked salmon before you roll it into a pinwheel and slice it into equal-sized sections.

Pair your smoked salmon pinwheels with a refreshing watermelon salad with feta and cucumber, and round up your meal with nutrient-packed matcha pistachio balls for a sweet snack.

To Sum Up

Preparing home-cooked meals to fit your bento box is a great way to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet. This way you’ll have complete control over what you eat and how much you eat every day. Use these home-cooked food ideas as an inspiration for your next meal on the go.

Article Posted In: Home Cooked Food

Tags: lunch ideas

Milena Popova

Milena is an ESL teacher with over 7 years of experience in writing articles on her favorite topics - food and health. In her free time, she loves trying out new recipes, reading, listening to music, and walking in nature.

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