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

hapa bento

Inarizushi Bento 6

Posted on October 18, 2011 by Debra

I think Saba Man’s favorite time of year is autumn.  Because autumn brings football!  This past Saturday, I packed this inarizushi bento for him to snack on while he cheered for the University of Washington Huskies!

This inarizushi is not your ordinary recipe, I added scrambled eggs, tuna, shiitake mushrooms and topped each bundle with a slice of avocado!

I tucked in some tomatoes, then realized that this needed something to represent the Purple and Gold…so I added purple figs!

Go Dawgs!


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

Back to School Bento and Contest 6

Posted on August 31, 2011 by Debra


UPDATE: Entry phase is now closed and the voting begins here on Facebook!

Woo hoo!  It’s Back-to-School Bento Contest time!  UPDATE:  See below for new dates!

But first… today’s Back-to-School bento is filled with yummy Lazy Tuna Sushi. The basic recipe is here.

And  as you can see the recipe can be modified to suit your tastes.  This time I left out the scrambled egg and bulked up on the tuna.

The very roomy bottom tier allows for a whole boiled egg which I molded into a fun fish-shape, zucchini, carrots and cherries!

Yes… my bento box collection has a new addition thanks to our friends at

Isn’t it adorable?  And very versatile too.  I can think of many ways to pack this cutie!  How about a sammy in the bottom tier with fruit on top.

More information on about this adorable Elpha 2-Tier Onigiri Case along with other cool bento items can be found on their site.

What?  You say you’d like to have this box for your very own?  Okay… here how you can win one:

Win this bento box with matching travel chopsticks!

Contest Rules:

  1. Contest is open to US mailing address only.
  2. Post a photo of  your bento creation on my hapa bento flickr group.  Add “hapa bento contest” in the description.
  3. If you are not a member of Flickr then email the photo to me or add to the comments below and I’ll post it for you.
  4. You can enter as many bentos as you like, but only one of them will be selected for the final voting.
  5. The bento entry must be a recent creation.
  6. Charaben or kyaraben is accepted but not required. Your bento entry does NOT need to be cute.
  7. Entries will be accepted from now until Sept. 2, 2011   Extending until Sept. 9, 2011
  8. All selected bentos will be accepted for final voting.
  9. Voting will take place Sept. 10, 2011 through Sept. 16, 2011.

I can’t wait to see your bento entries!

Good luck and have fun!
For more bento tips, information and recipes subscribe to hapa bento via your email or newsreader

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

Easy Tuna Squares 7

Posted on June 04, 2011 by Debra


Ah…another tuna recipe.  A special tuna recipe.  But before we get to it we have to take a trip… an actual trip and one down memory lane.

Read the rest of this entry →

Tuna Squares Bento 10

Posted on May 28, 2011 by Debra

Since Saba Man has stopped eating meat, his lunch bentos are frequently packed with “something tuna”!

Today is no exception.

Read the rest of this entry →

Another Lazy Tuna Sushi Bento 9

Posted on July 28, 2010 by Debra


Saba Man seems to like the Lazy Tuna Sushi so I packed a few for him.  But for fear of carbo-overload, I modified the recipe a bit.

Instead of using all white rice I mixed it half-n-half with brown rice which I proudly named “hapa rice” then shaped each piece with extra tuna. 

“Less rice more tuna” is his new mantra! :)

Also in the bento box are snap peas, tomatoes (again) and broccoli (again).  

It’s a strange combo with the vegan sausauge, but we gotta eat our way through the bento-stash to make room for newer, fresher fare!

Mini Potato and Tuna Burger 19

Posted on March 13, 2010 by Debra

I’m  starting a series of recipes for food items that can be cooked and stored in volume for packing future speedy bento boxes!   This  first one is for Mini Potato Tuna Burgers as featured in this bento lunch.

Read the rest of this entry →

Black Rice and Tuna Musubi Bento 12

Posted on January 23, 2010 by Debra

It’s the weekend and Saba Man volunteered to stop at the store  in-between running his own errands . (isn’t he sweet?) 

 ”What do you need?” …he had his pen poised and ready to add to his list.

“Oh… whatever you want for lunch and some tomato soup”  (The weather has chilled down so I was craving  soup)

“Easy-peasy” and he was out the door! Read the rest of this entry →

Shoyu Tuna Bento Box 11

Posted on January 22, 2010 by Debra

Is this little piece of sunshine a subliminal message?  Do you really believe that the sun is shining and it’s as  warm as a summer’s day?  Well… not quite a warm summer’s day but the temps these past days were high enough to resemble a cool spring evening.  It’s kinda freaky.

But not to worry…after all we are in Seattle and that means more dark and gray is on it’s way.

Read the rest of this entry →

Packing a Nutritionally Dense Bento Box 6

Posted on November 20, 2009 by Debra


This is my  guest article  written for and posted on JustBento.

The classic bento box with its proportioned rice, protein and vegetable combination is a balance of taste, harmony of flavors, and prepared to keep spoilage to a minimum. Another dimension of this classic lunch is nutrition. The rice provides carbohydrates, and carbs are arguably the most important source of energy. The protein keeps your muscles in repair, vegetables offer crucial vitamins that nourish your organs, and lastly but just as vital, some fats. More about the value of fats a little later. A bento box lunch is designed to offer sustenance.

But what if you need more? What if you are an active person and need to turn it up a notch? Well, a nutritionally dense bento box may be your answer.

Tweaking your bento box by packing nutritionally intense foods is an important enhancement for people who exercise or train on a regular basis. More “bang for your buck” as the saying goes.  Read the rest of this entry →

Quinoa-2 Ways for 2 Bento Box 16

Posted on November 10, 2009 by Debra

fried_chicken_quinoa_bentoHow do you pronounce “quinoa”?  “kee-NO-wah” or “KEEN-wah”?   Well, I wasn’t sure so it’s added to both boxes.  The ”kee-NO-wah” to the large bento box and  “KEEN-wah” to the snack box. ;)

The large bento box has fried chicken drumettes, roasted trio of peppers-zucchini-mushrooms, Turkish Apricot Garbanzo Bean Salad, and the quinoa.  This quinoa recipe starts off with cooked quinoa. Mix an egg with mirin, salt and pepper like you were about to cook scrambled.  Add that mixture to the quinoa and heat in a pan until the egg cooks and coats all the granules. 

I added another phase to the same quinoa/egg mixture for the large bento box.  Tuna.   Mix in canned tuna, a splash of shoyu and blend it all together until it looks like a lumpy mystery food.  At this stage, form patties and fry in hot skillet with oil until browned on each side.  I used olive oil, but the next time I may try sesame oil. Insalata caprese makes it’s second autumn appearance, (without the teeth this time).  Rosemary skewered, roasted baby potatoes with butter is the other treat and edamame fills out the rest of the box.

quinoa_patties_bentoThere’s a rather large bag of quinoa left in my pantry.  What else can I do with it?  If you have an favorite dish or recommendation, please share.  However you pronounce it, “kee-NO-wah” or “KEEN-wah”, I would love to give your recipe a try

Mini Tuna Burger Snack Bento Box Comments Off

Posted on November 06, 2009 by Debra

mini_bento_boxBento boxes can come in all sizes and this box or “side car”, as I usually call it when it’s filled with a side salad or fruit, is an example of how to transform any “onesy twosy” leftovers into a mini bento snack.  And this little guy contains a tuna burger… so it’s not for me, it’s for a hungry Saba Man.   Eating this bento box along with a musubi makes for a balanced midnight snack!

Tuna Mini Burgers Bento Box 5

Posted on November 01, 2009 by Debra

wildrice_tunaburgersI finally got around to roasting the kabocha I bought last week!  It was a larger one and I was able to freeze half of it for future use.  The process was very basic, just chop in small pieces then roast at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes without any seasonings.  I left off any flavors intentionally so that the cooked results can be seasoned as desired with each use.  Today’s kabocha is lightly brushed with low sodium soy sauce.  That’s it.   This squash has it’s own robust flavor and I wanted to keep it simple.  Also in the box are some mini tuna burgers, the rice is a combination of steamed wild rice and long grain brown rice.  After the rice cooled, I added a pinch of sea salt and a bit nutritional yeast flakes.  Tamagoyaki, tomatoes, roasted broccoli and peppers fill in the rest of the space.  I also packed a smaller  bento  with the same items for Saba Man’s snack box.  There’s so much roasted kabocha, he may also have the same for dinner tomorrow!

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