My first bento came out of necessity because I was so tired of paying $7 for a momentarily tasty sandwich that was never satisfying. At my school, you can purchase some sort of artisan sandwich on two pieces of refrigerated ciabatta that they can toast for you at the counter. They occasionally had a mozzarella sandwich with red onion, lettuce, tomato, and a balsamic glazey sauce of some sort but its guest appearances began to wane last year until it was really a cameo appearance of my favored sandwich. I began to assess just how much it would be to recreate that sandwich at home and how delicious I could make it without shoving unnecessary carbs down my gullet with a big block of bread.
So I made my first bento using stuff that I had lying around the kitchen. I had leftover homemade roasted chicken that I cooked in my cast iron dutch oven and the seven grain low-carb bread from Trader Joe’s; thus, the sandwich was created! I threw in some frozen edamame because I figured after a few hours in a lunch box with no insulation that they would be edible by the time I wanted to eat them and I wouldn’t have to microwave them. The frozen edamame also kept my cheese stick cold. Top left housed some dried pears and almonds and I finished with a good smattering of crudité in the middle of the sandwich with balsamic glaze to dip in.
I was quite proud of myself and when I cracked it open later, balsamic glaze trickled its way into all the food on the bottom compartment. It’s kind of difficult to keep lunch boxes upright all the time. It was nonetheless tasty and filling. It also didn’t cost 7 dollars.