For this lunchbox I set myself a very simple task, make a lunchbox as sweet as Amy herself! My first thought was to just dump in a 1kg bag of sugar and call it a day, certain to elicit plenty of ‘awws’ – what a gesture! I mean it’s a great idea, I admit, but I feel that, returning home from work having had to endure a day with just a plain box of sugar for her lunch – she might actually be feeling a bit more sour than sweet towards me that day. Gestures man! They always seem like such a good idea at the time. No, Amy is discerning, and needed something a little more subtle. A sweet lunch box sure, but a balanced one that brings all the fresh flavors out and leaves you full all day. Can such a lunch box be made..?
And so we have the flowery coconut yoghurt bowl! I am certain there is a catchier name for this, but it remains delicious so there’s no point trying to think of something better. It’s really a tour de force of berries, mango, figs, muesli and flowers. And yes, you read that right, the flowers actually contribute to the flavour! If you’ve got access to edible marigolds (double check, not all types are edible or necessarily palatable), in they go. They give it an interesting peppery tang which should elevate this up from standard breakfast to dream bowl – tear the leaves up and sprinkle them over it to get the flavour going throughout the whole lunch box).
By pairing it up with a hearty and fresh chickpea salad and some brown rice you should have a very filling, nutritious lunch box on your hands. Give it a try and let me know what you think!
- Coconut yoghurt, muesli, mango, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, fig, toasted coconut, pomegranate, rose petals, edible marigold
- Chickpeas, red capsicum, mixed leaves
- Brown rice, cucumber
We love making Japanese inspired lunch boxes here, as you can probably tell from the fun little panda bento box and the mochi sushi box we did a couple of weeks before this one! They usually have a couple of things in common, too. Simple and minimalist in design, of course. Look at this one – it’s only got like, three – four main elements. The crunchy tofu, the sauce, the miso and the backing salad. Compared this to something like the rainbow skewers which had every single vegetable known to man, and all the sauces you could ever ask for. That was an amazing box, don’t get me wrong! It tasted so good, but that was about mixing it all up and experimenting with flavours and textures. This is the opposite – minimalist, but everything has it’s place. Tofu, miso, sauce, greens // crunchy, salty, creamy, fresh. Everything has a place.
And what a place that is! Sometimes keeping it simple is best, and you’ve got all the main flavours covered here. The tofu gives that perfect golden crunch and is undoubtedly the star of the lunch box. Now take one of those crispy little corners, dip it in some vegan kewpie, wrap it in the silverbeet and go to town, then have a little sip of miso after to balance it all out. YUM! If you feel like being fancy, garnishing it with some cute little flowers for decoration can really turn it into an adorable little Japanese garden.
- Crumbed tofu, spring onion, nori, sesame seeds, radish, cucumber, silverbeet
- Miso soup, enoki mushroom, thyme
- Vegan kewpie mayo, red chilli
Sprouts are always fun, but man do they go off quickly, right? At the supermarket or fruit shop you see a bright, fresh looking packet of sprouts and think ‘looks healthy, i’m in’. You happily bring them home, but before you even get a chance to sit down you hear the distant, ominous tick-tocking of a purely metaphorical clock counting down rapidly. It begins! Run, don’t walk, to your sprouts, and consume them all immediately. This is the only true way to be sure they don’t end up as brown mush in the bottom of your crisper. Sprouts always seem like such a good idea – but if that’s true, what do you end up throwing out most of the packet every time? And that’s just alfalfa sprouts, like the ones pictures. You’re going to need a time machine to get bean sprouts home in an edible condition.
Too dramatic? Alright, maybe! You do need to act fast though, and commit yourself to eating them in 2 – 3 days, absolute max. To do this, I figured i’d look into making a lunch box that would use up all our spare sprouts and give them a chance to shine.
By using them as a base, we can build a fresh, zesty spring salad that will really make the sprouts sing. Sprouts are, of course, very light, and need a creamy element to balance that out. We think ashed goat’s cheese is the perfect accompaniment here. Peas and cucumbers provide some much needed greenery, while the shaved fennel (those nearly transparent slivers) give it a slight anise kick to keep things interesting. When you’re just about to eat it, top with the lemon and go to town. Mix in some black rice from the side compartment and you have a solid dish that will give you healthy energy to burn all afternoon.
- Alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, corn, beans, goat’s cheese, dill, shaved fennel, lemon
- Black rice, enoki mushrooms, greek yoghurt, red chilli
- Watermelon, blueberries
Mango, avocado and sweet potato – what’s not to love! It’s usually a real gamble adding fruit to a savoury salad, but in this lunch box, it’s a very safe bet. All it takes is a fresh squeeze of lime and the elements all come together beautifully, reminiscent of a Mexican mango salsa kind of vibe. With backup from red kidney beans, red onion, chilli, and coriander, it really does take you on a journey! Come to think of it, f you diced everything up it would pretty much be a great little topping for tacos or tostadas – despite the popularity of the recent ‘deconstructed food’ trend, this is kind of the opposite – it’s more like a reconstructed Mexican mango salsa extravaganza!
The important thing to remember, though, is combinations. You have so many great elements coming into play here – the kick of the chilli, the creamy heaviness that the avocado gives, the fresh, sweet mango. What the main compartment does lack, though, is body! There’s only so much the sweet potato can do to help. Sometimes even superstars like avocado and mango need backup, and this is where the couscous comes in. It provides a perfect, neutral foil to bulk up the rest of the dish and complements their flavours so incredibly well. You could easily substitute this for your favourite grain, but we love that subtle, light nuttiness that couscous provides. With pepitas on top, and a fresh palate cleanse in the form of citrus and strawberry, you really can’t go wrong 😀
- Mango, avocado, sweet potato, lime, red chilli, coriander, red onion, pomegranate, red kidney beans
- Strawberries, oranges, grapefruit
- Couscous, pepitas