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
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
As a vegetarian, Amy has got to keep on top of her vitamins. There’s the old way to do this, which was to painstakingly track which micronutrients she was getting and plan accordingly. The modern alternative is to just eat a whole bunch of really great things every day, and this is where the beauty of the rainbow box comes in! It’s easy and it makes sure you’re getting a wide variety of different nutrients every day. If anything, you could even rainbow this up more! Radish in the purple section? Blueberries and blackberries? Peas plus avocado? Look, no lunchbox is perfect! They are all learning experiences. For now, this one looks cool and packs a whole variety of interesting colours and textures in, so it’s a great start.
Here we loaded up some Cruskits with a couple of different toppings. Cruskits are crunchy little rectangles of crispbread that you can get at the supermarket. Sort of like crackers but with more of a hard, grainy vibe to them. We like them a lot and they’re very versatile, so we figured they would be the perfect base for some rainbow vegetables! Add a little bit of vegan cream cheese to tie the flavours all together, then just pair them up with some spectrum appropriate sides and you should have a bright, healthy lunchbox all ready to go!
- Corn Cruskits, vegan cream cheese, avocado, coriander, carrot, orange and yellow capsicum, corn, tomato, red kidney beans, chilli flakes, kale
- Red cabbage