I got my friend Megan to start making bentos to take to work! I went and bought her a bento box at World Market and schlepped down to her house so she could make it that day. Her bento consists of homemade sweet potato fries, roasted red cabbage, haricots verts (French green beans), and turkey meatloaf with some ketchup.
You will also see my variation of the meatloaf soon because that will be in my bento this afternoon!
Below is the recipe for it.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons ketchup, divided
1 3/4 pounds ground turkey, 97% lean
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth, and 1 tablespoon ketchup; transfer mixture to a large bowl, and cool.
2. Add turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, egg white, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to mixture in bowl, and mix well. (Mixture will be very moist.)
3. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and coat lightly with cooking spray. Form the turkey mixture into a loaf, and place on the pan. Brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer inserted into center registers 170°. Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.
Today’s bento was pretty much the same as yesterday, save for the addition of some broccoli slaw and the French baguette that I used instead of the croissant. Unlike the croissant, the baguette is vegan, therefore making this bento completely vegan!
Today’s bento was nearly identical to yesterday’s. Same delicious tempeh bacon sandwich with avocado and strawberry salad, sweet potatoes with a bit of maple almond butter for a change of pace. And now, thanks to my friend Hannah, I have a new vegetable side! We were talking about cooking last night over dinner and she said she likes collard greens chiffonaded and sauteed with olive oil and garlic. “You just sauté them for five minutes,” she said, “You don’t even cook them, you just scare them!” So I bought some organic collard greens this morning before going to work and quickly made some scared collards for my bento. They were absolutely delicious and I look forward to eating some more of them tomorrow!
I bought tempeh the other day because it’s two bucks and a cheap source of fiber and protein. However, I historically endeavor to use it and it sits in my fridge until way after the expo date. By the way, tempeh is good for roughly 4-5 months after purchase. I’m pretty bad about it.
I decided to resurrect the only tempeh recipe I had in my arsenal: tempeh bacon. I’ve looked at a couple of recipes in the past and sometimes they have so many ingredients that I don’t feel like spending all my money on spices and seasonings for the recipe I typically make once a year. I sort of modified this one.
1 pack of tempeh (the original recipe calls for 5 ounces but I just use the whole thing because what am I going to do with 3 ounces of tempeh?)
1-2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
a dash of cayenne
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp thick black pepper
Now, the original recipe says to cut the tempeh into strips, as thin as you can get them. I just cut mine into triangles because I was using it for sandwiches. Do whatever you want to. It also instructs you to soak it in the marinade for 1-2 minutes. I decided to wait longer because the last time I made tempeh bacon, I let it marinade for 3 whole days because I forgot about it. This time I stuck to my guns and let it marinate for only a day and a half to cook the night before I would eat it. I think that if you make a marinade, you should let the food actually marinate. It does make it more labor intensive by forcing you to plan to cook it eventually but planning is kind of part of consistently making lunch.
Once you’ve marinated the tempeh for however long you choose, grill as many pieces as you can fit in the pan for a few minutes over medium-high heat, enough so they crisp up on that side. Flip and repeat process until it’s all done.
I ate it in a mini croissant with avocado (and it tastes great with avocado!) and an avocado-strawberry-balsamic salad. The other half of the bento is the familiar sweet potatoes, edamame, and a cheese stick.
I ate this same bento for two days last week. To the right is half a pink lady apple with a mini Brie wedge, sweet potatoes, and a bit of edamame. The salad has cucumber, baby lettuce, broccoli slaw, clementines, balsamic glaze, and half a cut up Trader Joe’s roasted chicken patty. It was good for protein, but honestly when it’s cut up like that, it kind of looks like Spam. Which does not seem appetizing to me at all. It was good, though! I might shoot for salmon next time if I can get my act together.