nutritious and fun bento box ideas and photos, healthy recipes and tips for making your own bento box lunch

hapa bento

Baked Salmon Bento 8

Posted on January 10, 2012 by Debra

Here we go… starting off 2012 with a relatively healthy bento: baked salmon, egg omelette, fried brown rice, and broccoli.  Embellishments include a sprig of kaiware (radish sprouts), black sesame seeds, nori, and beni shoga (pickled red ginger).

I consider this bento healthier than not because  I used sprouted brown rice,  just a dash of olive oil and low salt shoyu for the fried rice.  The two-egg omelette is missing one yolk. :)  And the mayo on the broccoli is made from grape seed oil.   The baked salmon is… um…baked! :)

Most of the ingredients are organic as well!

We try our very best to eat the better options, a practice that we abandoned during the holidays.  So now with the new year we are focused and ready tackle our cravings with smarter choices.

I hope to keep it up to at least through February.  Do you think we’ll make it? Ha ha!


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Miso Mahi Mahi Bento 2

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Debra


Here’s a familiar bento item: Butter Miso Mahi-Mahi.  We crave butter and love miso, so why not combine the both for the most tantalizing glaze.  It’s mouthwatering.  No lie.

A simple 1:1 ratio of white miso paste and butter mixed with a little splash of mirin.  Smear this on the fish pieces then bake, grill or pan fry.   Easy-peasy!

To compliment the mahi-mahi, I simmered chopped kale in a mild ginger-shoyu marinade. The kale leaves wilt, but the stems maintain a nice crunch!

I’m still obsessed with sprouted brown rice  so you know I was over-joyed to learn that my grocer is now stocking it in bulk!  With that said…this bento features a healthy portion  topped with sliced shiitake mushrooms.

Tomatoes and kaiware sprouts even out the flavors, color and textures.

But anyway, I think this  butter-miso combination has potential for a variety of applications.  Salmon…or how about shellfish?   Tofu!?   I must experiment with this idea.



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Japanistic – cool, fun, well-designed Japanese bentos and other products!

Meatless Monday Bento 7

Posted on September 19, 2011 by Debra

I know, right?  It’s been awhile since my last Meatless Monday bento post.  No excuses, except that most of my recent bento box lunches were repetitive (read: boring).  Rice, tofu, asparagus.  Then more rice, more tofu then broccoli.  Same ole stuff.

Well, this bento is pretty much the same thing except one teeny-tiny difference.  Can you see it?  It’s in the rice.

Yep, I cooked chunks of Okinawan sweet potato (OSP) along with the rice. Imo-gohan!!  So delicious and steamed together in a rice cooker.

Just peel the raw sweet potato, cut into large chunks, then  toss in with the washed rice. Add water as usual.

When the rice is done, gently mix to break up the chunks into smaller bits.   For this version I used my usual sprouted brown rice.  But any rice will work.   I’m thinking about  using orange colored yams too. Wouldn’t that look great for an autumn-themed bento lunch?!

The other items are simmered tofu with bok choy then topped with fried onions.  Cherry tomatoes and kaiware (radish sprouts) add color and pizazz!


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Japanistic – cool, fun, well-designed Japanese bentos and other products!

Baked Mahi Mahi Bento 5

Posted on April 17, 2011 by Debra

Today’s featured bento was for Saba Man’s lunch yesterday.  I had forgotten that he had to work this weekend  so when I saw him prepping to leave I had a minor panic attack.

A bento is needed!   Thank goodness I had already defrosted a mahi mahi fillet for his dinner.

Lightly seasoned with sea-salt, cracked pepper and a quick brush of olive oil, the fish was ready-to-eat after 15 minutes of baking.

While that was in the toaster oven, I zapped a packet of frozen brown rice and sauteed brown mushrooms in garlic-butter with a splash of sake.

These are the times when I’m glad that I have a postage-stamp sized kitchen. Everything is within arms reach.

But, something’s missing.  “I need green!”, muttering to myself….

Yay! Leftover roasted asparagus to the rescue!

The nori details and deco were added while the contents cooled— a speedy bento can still be charming so a red strawberry completed the look.

I handed Saba Man this bento, he grabbed his coat and keys then out the door he went!

I think this bento took less time to assemble than to post!  :)


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Meatless Monday Bento 10

Posted on April 11, 2011 by Debra

After taking a short break from posting bentos, I’m feeling revitalized with many non-meat and fish recipes to share with you.  If you’re a carnivore, please don’t leave.  I’m not being preachy, just providing ideas!

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Salmon and Tofu Jun Bento 12

Posted on March 06, 2011 by Debra

The weekend flew by without catching a breath.   So while I have a moment  to catch my own breath,  I thought I’d better post a bento before you think I’ve stopped packing them.   

Today’s bento features herbed baked salmon, sesame long beans, sprouted rice and a giant kakimochi. 

Just kidding.  That’s not a giant kakimochi.  It’s a piece of tofu jun wrapped in a piece of nori!

Garnishes are furikake (rice topping),beni shoga (pickled red ginger), kaiware (radish sprouts), shiso (perilla leaf), and enoki mushrooms.

Have a fantastic week everybody!


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Radish-Rabbit Bento 14

Posted on January 05, 2011 by Debra

Today’s bento has quite the variety of items including a radish-rabbit as I’m trying to get in as many bunnies until February 3rd. That’s the start of “The Year of the Rabbit” according to the Chinese calendar.

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Udon Salad and Salmon Bento 8

Posted on October 28, 2010 by Debra

I think I’ve already complained (in earlier posts) about being too busy too cook  so I’ll spare you the moaning and groaning.  Let’s skip the dirty details on my long days and get to the bento!

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Sweet Miso Chicken Bento 22

Posted on September 23, 2010 by Debra

Here’s a bento filled with a hodge-podge of items from recent articles.

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Tofu Donburi Bento 9

Posted on June 18, 2010 by Debra

I recieved this roomy two  tier bento as a gift from a very special person.    Gosh… I wish that everyone in this  world was as sweet and thoughtful as the people I’ve met on the “bento-net”.  

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Salmon Patty and Cucumber Bento 4

Posted on June 08, 2010 by Debra

Quick bento post featuring more “Costco-stash”…salmon patties.  Saba Man loves them!

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Saba Sakura Bento Box 16

Posted on April 27, 2010 by Debra

Now that Saba Man is back at work I wanted to send him off with one of his faves!

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