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.
In this enchilada riff, we stuff everything into a roasted poblano pepper shell, rather than tortillas, to pack an extra veggie serving into your meal and trim the starchy calories. If you can’t find poblanos, which are mild, dark green Mexican peppers, you can substitute green bell peppers. Flour power Made from nixtamalized corn (corn soaked in limewater), masa harina flour adds a touch of corny flavour to enchilada stuffing or a pot of chili.
These crab-stuffed portobello mushrooms can do double duty as a fancy starter for a casual dinner party or a light main course on any given night. Meaty and umami-rich portobellos serve as a holder for a light-tasting seafood salad. Gills begone Even though the gills of mushrooms are edible, they will darken and discolour everything they touch. Besides, after you scrape out the gills, you’ll have more room for stuffing. And don’t discard the stems; they can be saved and used when making veggie stock.
Serving saucy lentils in squash halves is a sure-fire way to elevate your plant-based menu. And, yes, the whole bowl is edible, skin and all. If desired, you can add dollops of Greek yogurt or sour cream. Spice of life Garam masala, a blend of spices traditionally used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin, and coriander. It’s great on roasted meats and vegetables.
“Germans do potatoes in general very well,” says Canadian expat Chris Gilles, who now lives in Munich and has celebrated many an Oktoberfest there. “Knödel seem kind of rubbery. You don’t really think it’s potato when you first see it, but it’s tasty.” But he might be surprised to find that this alive -inspired version of Bavarian potato dumplings is made with a combination of potato and cauliflower, because as anyone who’s eaten cauliflower gnocchi knows, the low-carb vegetable is a great way to lighten up starch-heavy foods (and Biergarten menus). Happy Knödelfest! The original version of these snacks are so popular that it even gets its own food fest: Knödelfest, which happens in September in Austria, about a 1 1/2-hour drive from Munich. If alive threw a Knödelfest, these dumplings would definitely be on the menu, served simply as snacks with sliced radishes and fresh parsley or dill, or topped with butter, beer gravy, or mushroom sauce. The dumpling test You can test one dumpling by shaping it and then boiling it before shaping the rest. If the water is lower than a boil and it still falls apart, add more starch to the batter before shaping another ball and testing again.