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. Presenting the crunchy tofu and miso lunchbox!
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 salad – 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. 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 with a mango avocado salad lunchbox 😀
- Mango, avocado, sweet potato, lime, red chilli, coriander, red onion, pomegranate, red kidney beans
- Strawberries, oranges, grapefruit
- Couscous, pepitas
As vegetarians and vegans, we’ve got to stay on top of our vitamin intake. There’s the old way to do this, which was to painstakingly track which micronutrients and plan accordingly. Alternatively, you could just eat a whole bunch of really great things every day? This, you see, is the beauty of the vegetable cruskit lunchbox! 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! Mmm, delicious vegetable cruskit. 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! If you have any suggestions for more bright, fresh, colourful toppings, let us know in the comments below!
- Corn Cruskits, vegan cream cheese, avocado, coriander, carrot, orange and yellow capsicum, corn, tomato, red kidney beans, chilli flakes, kale
- Red cabbage
Vegetable dippers! Unlike my last lunchbox, the pumpkin soup, which was wholly unsuitable for kids due to fundamental ‘oh my gosh it’s spilling everywhere!’ issues, here we have the opposite end of the spectrum – kids love dipping stuff! Heck, who doesn’t right? Amy isn’t a kid, and she sure loved it ha ha. The idea here is, you’ve got a whole bunch of crunchy, yummy bits and pieces that you can combo with sauces or wrap in leaves and crunch with capsicum until your heart is content. Healthy and fun, what’s not to love!
So let’s take a look at the lineup! From left to right, we have teriyaki tofu. Just chop up some tofu and press the moisture out, then soak it overnight in teriyaki sauce. A quick trip to the oven (it can piggyback off the roast potatoes when you put them in, doesn’t need long) and it will be beautiful and sticky and just yummy. Cover it with sesame seeds and you’re all set on the tofu front. NEXT, roast potatoes! Really, no introduction necessary here. Crunchy, golden, awesome. Carrots are here to bring a fresh crunch to the whole thing, and the capsicum on the end, even more so. It sort of goes from heavier to lighter, so mix it up.
Sauces are kewpie mayo (they do a vegan mayo too, use that one!), peanut butter (you can mix it with a little sesame to give it a more liquid, dippable consistency, and spicy sriracha + chilli for some kick. And that’s it! What a lunch!
PS: After I was done photographing, I loaded a whole bunch more dippers in there – a girl has got to eat! She ended up with about double the pictured amount in total 😂
- Teriyaki tofu, sesame seeds, roast potatoes, carrot, rep mini capsicum, spinach, lime
- Sriracha, red chilli, peanut butter, peanuts, vegan kewpie mayo, cucumber