Per Serving: $1.46
It’s back to school season! Time to lace up (velcro up?) the brand-new kicks and start stressing about carpooling and bullies and all that other stuff I assume parents worry about when their kids go back to school. I don’t know about any of it because my parents were always ready for us to go back to school so we would stop terrorizing the house, lawn, and in some cases, the neighbors.
It’s been awhile since I’ve packed a lunch to take to school, but today is back-to-Japanese-school for Zac, and I generally pack both of our lunches each day. My lunches get refrigerated and microwave, but his have to be room-temperature friendly, which means they’re school-lunch-friendly and bento-box-friendly also. This week I’m sharing some of our favorite super cheap and easy real food lunch boxes!
And FYI: bento box is a Japanese packed lunch. It normally consists of 5 or more different little components, including things like vegetables, rice balls, meat or fish, and maybe some egg. These aren’t very Japanese though because we like our American comforts (hello avocado-chicken wraps).
So, first up: Sesame Soba Bento Box – so simple.
Sesame Soba & Green Beans Bento Box
Soy & Sesame Soba: On the left we’ve got soba, which is a traditional Japanese buckwheat noodle. (You can even find gluten-free soba, since buckwheat itself doesn’t contain gluten.) The soba is cooked for just 5 minutes in boiling water, then immediately rinsed. Toss it with a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil and add it to the bento/lunch box. Top it with sesame seeds, or if you’re in the mood, try sliced green onions, or sliced seaweed (nori). If you’re making this for kids, be sure to season it with whatever they like! Kids tend to like noodles, but if they’re not into buckwheat, you could replace it with regular pasta or brown rice.
Miso Meatballs: In the yellow cup are our famously delicious Miso Meatballs – made here with a mixture of pork and beef, of course. You’d be hard pressed to find a child or adult who doesn’t think they’re awesome. ($0.56)
Sesame Green Beans: And on the bottom you see Steamed Sesame Green Beans! To make even simpler sesame green beans than that link, you can steam or boil them for about 3 minutes, then just sprinkle a little salt and sesame oil on top. ($0.25)
Fruit and/or Dessert: Finally, be sure to add some fruit, more veggies, or a dessert treat! We eat a lot of carrots in our bentos, and often have a piece of dark chocolate (or dark chocolate Kit Kits – oops!). Fruit is expensive here, so we grab whatever is on sale or opt for more carrots. (about $0.50)
Here is an alternative with sesame spinach instead of green beans, plus carrot & apple slices. A bento box should be treated like a puzzle – just add whatever seems to fit. :) Happy Back To School! I’m going to use this as an excuse to go buy tons of pens and stationery. See ya!