Prep Cook Makes 30 min 20 min 1 bento
For the magenta mash 100g dried split red lentils
1 small to medium beetroot (about 100g), scrubbed
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
½ tsp salt
1 bay leaf or 1 clove 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 portion brown shortgrain rice, pre-cooked 1 tsp flaxseed oil
1 tsp tamari
1 handful rocket, watercress or flat-leaf parsley
1 portion magenta mash (about half the batch above)
½ avocado, flesh scooped out and sliced 1 hard-boiled egg (or as many as you want to make), halved
Pitted kalamata olives, chopped, to taste
A few salted capers Black pepper, to taste This mash is great as a dip for raw veg and crackers, spread on toast, or even rolled into a nori roll with brown rice, a lick of miso paste and fresh coriander
For the magenta mash, wash the lentils in cold water and drain. Put them in a pan and coarsely grate the beetroot on top. Add the onion, salt, bay leaf or clove, and 350ml water. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils look big and mushy. Remove the bay leaf/ clove, add the vinegar and vigorously stir to create a mash. Take off the heat and leave to cool. You can store any excess in an airtight container in the fridge.
Make a bed of rice in your bento box and drizzle with the flaxseed oil and tamari. Arrange the leaves, some mash, the avocado and egg on top. Finish with a scattering of olives and capers and a twist of black pepper. Prep
Cook Makes Overnight + 20 min
15 min 1 bento
For the midnight magic pumpkin 300g (about ½) small pumpkin or squash, peeled, deseeded, cut into 2cm slices
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and thickly sliced (5mm)
1 big pinch dried hijiki or 1 tsp instant dried wakame seaweed
1 tbsp tamari
85g dry soba noodles 1 handful watercress ½ kiwi, peeled, sliced Toasted sesame seeds Chilli, to taste The evening before you assemble your bento, put the pumpkin, ginger and seaweed in a frying pan and add water to about 3cm deep, ensuring the ginger and seaweed are covered. Drizzle with tamari, cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then simmer over a low heat for 10 minutes – if it looks like it‘s drying up, add more water. Turn off the heat, cover with a tea towel to keep warm and leave overnight.
In the morning, cut the pumpkin into bitesize chunks and thinly shred the ginger slices, but retain the cooking liquid for flavouring.
Cook the soba noodles according to the packet instructions, drain, cool under a cold tap and leave to dry.
Arrange the noodles on one side of your bento box and the watercress on the other. In the middle, scoop in as much pumpkin as you want and pour any remaining cooking liquid over the noodles to season.
Arrange the kiwi on top of the watercress, add a generous pile of toasted sesame seeds on the noodles and finish with a sprinkle of chilli.
All recipes adapted from Bento Power by Sara Kiyo Popowa of Shiso Delicious (Kyle Books)