Serves 1 (slaw makes 3 to 4 portions)
I almost accidentally discovered how good cabbage is roasted. I’d been looking at broiled cabbage recipes online, but they were all for big wedges of cabbage (which seemed too time-consuming for an everyday recipe). Instead, I sliced my cabbage really thin, like a slaw, and roasted it spread thinly over a large baking sheet. Since that moment, it’s been on repeat in our house! The heat changes the cabbage into something much sweeter and full of umami, and the small pieces of lemon add a surprising, aromatic burst to every few bites. I started adding in cooked chickpeas or tofu to make it into a simple weekday meal (a combo that’s amazing wedged with avocado in a tortilla!). Since it’s so easy to make and tastes good cold, it’s great for bento too.
Make the roast cabbage slaw: Preheat oven to 425 F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Use big, open sheet rather than high-edged pan or casserole dish.
Pile all roast cabbage slaw ingredients in middle of sheet and combine with your hands, then spread thinly—you want ingredients to be minimally overlapping so they get a chance to dehydrate a little. Roast on highest shelf in oven for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until cabbage is slightly charred at edges and chickpeas have a little tan.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then use parchment paper from baking sheet to wrap around mixture so you have a neat package. This keeps moisture and flavor in and saves washing up an oily storage container later. Once cool, store package in refrigerator (in bowl) for up to 4 days.
Assemble your bento (1 or 2).
Bento 1: Cook soba according to package instructions. Drain in colander and cool completely under cold running water. Let drip-dry for a few minutes or instantly spin dry in sturdy salad spinner. Place soba in bento box. Push to one side and add lettuce and a portion of cabbage slaw in remaining space. Add avocado and spoon sesame seeds onto noodles. Finish with a scatter of blueberries. Close box and pack in bento bag or furoshiki with a fork or chopsticks. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Bento 2: Follow directions to make lilac rice. Follow instructions to make onigirazu, using nori sheets and topping rice with a portion of cabbage slaw and avocado and tofu. (Sliced avocado is easier to layer evenly in onigirazu.) Pack in bento box with handful of blueberries. Close box and pack in bento bag or furoshiki with napkin. Eat on the day you prep it.
This recipe is part of the These Bento Box Recipes Will Take Your Workday Lunches From “Meh” to Marvelous collection.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.