Review: Bento Power by Sara Kiyo Popowa

My bento-making career stalled slightly when I started working in a vegan cafe. I don’t have many opportunities to pack a lunch any more but the opportunities I do have I like to make the most of. That’s why I got myself a copy of Bento Power by Sara Kiyo Popowa. Apart from a couple of egg recipes it’s all plant-based so it’s perfect for vegan bento makers.

As it’s whole foods focused there are lots of great ideas for getting more nutrients in your box. One that I was keen to try, and one that I’m going to keep using again and again, is the idea of throwing whole grains in your sushi rice. It brings nutrients, it brings taste, it brings texture. So good in the Onigirazu.

When it comes to books about bento I’m often reading them in a panic at the last minute. I imagine most people are too. So the most useful part of the book for me are the guides and the little tips. Honestly the tip on how to reheat rice in a steamer is probably the most useful thing I’ve ever read. That might make me sound a bit sad but I’m sticking with it. I used the Onigiri guide to make these cute rice balls out of leftovers.

There are also, of course, recipes for boxes full of food. I thought I’d delve into 15-Minute Bento section for my lunch today. I went for the Pasta Surprise Bento with kale, pine nuts, chickpeas and a really delicious dressing. This book has everything you need to pack amazing lunches and I 100% recommend it. If you’ve never packed a bento box before it will walk you through it, and if you have you’ll find plenty of cool new tricks in here.

Original Vegan: Vegan Mofo Day 7

Today is all about food that is naturally vegan, that is food that does not imitate products that come from animals. I’m out on a trip today so I’m doing that through the medium of bento boxes. This is what I’ve got packed for lunch today.

Top layer: Mixed grapes. Onigri with peas. 

Bottom Layer: A couple of these itsu Vegetable Fusion Gyoza. Carrots, peppers and kale stir fried with a little soy and mirin. 

Those gyoza are amazing. They come with a little dipping sauce and cook in three minutes. You could be snacking on them within five minutes of realising you are hungry. They make a perfect addition to the bento stash. 

Bentos are a great way to show off naturally vegan food because you can have lots of little servings of different veggies. I’m a little out of practice, looking at it now I can see where I could have squeezed some edememe or veggies on a bento pick. But I have to get up at 3:45 so we’ll leave it at that.