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.
Make no mistake, meaty grilled tofu, sweet flame-licked salsa, and chunks of crispy sweet potato make for a meal prepared in the great outdoors that puts the yum in plant-based eating. A master’s touch Perfect spuds: Crispy potatoes on the grill are a revelation. But it’s best to give them a head start on the stovetop, so the potatoes heat through before the exteriors grill to a burnt crisp. Flavourful tofu: Giving tofu a 90-degree turn on the grill halfway through cooking each side will produce a nice crosshatch pattern that makes you look like a grill master. Plus, those overlapping grill marks give tofu even better flavour.
Combine pizza and taco night by firing up the grill. Sweet flame-licked onions, melty cheese, fiery salsa, hearty beans, and crispy flatbread crust all marry well in a no-fuss pizza that comes together fast enough to work within the confines of the weekday time crunch. Set up a work area near the grill so you have all your toppings within easy reach and ready to go. You can also use large Middle Eastern-style pitas for your base. Using store-bought pizza dough? If you want to go more traditional and use pizza dough, you can certainly stick with the grill. Stretch or roll pizza dough (about 1 lb/450 g) to roughly 1/2 in (1.25 cm) thick. It need not be perfectly round or square; it just has to be even thickness. Preheat grill to medium using indirect heat (for a gas grill, leave one burner off; for a charcoal grill, shovel coals onto one side of the grill) and lightly oil grill grates. Brush one side of dough with oil, then place on grill in an area not directly over the heat, oil side down. Once dough is lightly charred and just barely set, about 1 to 2 minutes, use pizza peel or big, flat spatula to transfer it to a work surface, grilled side up. Apply toppings and return pizza to indirect heat. Close grill lid, and heat until edges of crust are crispy and cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes.
If a falafel and burger had a love child, this would be it. The result of this hybrid is a vibrantly coloured, complex-flavoured veggie burger you’ll flip over. You can also serve them between toasted hamburger buns with toppings such as sliced cucumber, sliced tomato, and arugula. Holding it together Many plant-based burgers are crumbly and weak, risking a patty that ends up between the grill grates instead of intact on your plate. Keep your burgers together by forming patties no larger than 1 in (2.5 cm) thick, which ensures a nice, even crust on the outside and a thoroughly warmed-through centre, then chilling the patties before grilling. You can also consider using a burger mould, which gives you denser, equally sized patties that cook evenly. Be sure your grill grates are well greased. Deep freeze You can freeze uncooked falafel burgers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or plate and then transfer frozen patties to an airtight container. When ready, just thaw and cook as instructed. Falafel cooking options To bake: Arrange falafel on parchment-lined baking sheet and brush lightly with oil; bake at 375 F (190 C) for 25 minutes, or until crispy on the outside and heated through. To pan fry: Heat large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp oil (15 mL) for each 2 burgers in the pan, swirl to coat pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until underside is browned. Then flip carefully and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.
Bet you’ve never considered making breakfast or Sunday brunch on the grill. Consider cooking your egg-soaked bread over flames as a way to coax even more flavour out of brag-worthy French toast. You can also use slices of brioche bread and whatever fruit happens to be in season. Of course, nobody could fault you for topping it all off with a drizzle of maple syrup. If you want it dairy free, you can use dairy alternatives such as oat milk and coconut yogurt. Not so fresh Somewhat stale bread is key to great French toast. You want it to be 2 to 3 days old. What if your bread isn’t aged enough? You can speed up the process by slicing bread and then placing it on a pan in 350 F (180 C) oven for about 10 minutes, or until it firms up. Make sure it’s sliced nice and thick to prevent the egg mixture-to-bread ratio being too heavy in favour of egg, resulting in soggy French toast.