Healthy Bento Lunch Ideas

Ditch that shop-bought sandwich, these creative mixes are so good your office will probably try to steal them from the fridge. (Sorry!)

If you're struggling with lunch ideas, these healthy recipes are easy to make for work and are great and playful enough as lunch box ideas for kids!

MUSHROOM TAGLIATELLE

messylittlefoodie

Healthy Bento Recipes

Delicious, earthy, hearty mushrooms make this a great vegan dish. 
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 200g tagliatelle
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 400g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • Meridian free from creamy mushroom and white wine sauce
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or vegetable stock)
Method
1. Cook the tagliatelle according to the instructions on the packaging.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and cook the garlic, onions and mushrooms until soft. We like to leave the mushrooms in a little bit longer to let them turn a nice golden brown colour.
3. Once the mushrooms are cooked, pour in the white wine or stock and stir. Add the sauce to the pan and combine well with the mushrooms. Add the cooked and drained tagliatelle and combine. Keep the heat on low for another 2-3 minutes. Stir in some nutritional yeast to taste to give some extra cheesy flavour.
4. Season with salt and pepper
5. Serve with fresh basil and free from parmesan!

 

JAPANESE CABBAGE SALAD

LITTLEMISSLENG
Bento inspired lunches
Leng is the Queen of bento meals, inspiring us to get creative, we almost don't want to spoil our lunch!
1. Japanese cabbage salad using purple cabbage, carrots, spring onion tossed with sesame oil, sesame seeds and toasted almonds. Add in pickles and spicy teriyaki tempeh.
2. We love Musubi (essentially giant sushi), but this Totoro version is giving us serious Kawaii vibes! Paired with baby spinach, edamame, grilled sweet potatoes, takuan pickles and quail eggs.
3. Perfect for a summer lunch, this one is easy. Create meatless, interesting plant-based salads with a crunch: Rocket leaves, snap peas, poms, crushed nuts, carrots and cabbage.

 

BREAKFAST & LUNCH COMBO

shisodelicious
Bento Power
Sara Kiyo Popowa, author of Bento Power creates a vibrant and inspirational approach to lunch boxes. She concentrates on having five clear elements: complex carbs, protein, fruit and veg, and sprinkles the five colours used in authentic Japanese cooking: red, white, black, yellow and green.
1. Overnight oats with blueberry powder, banana and blueberries with grapefruit. This is also a good pre-workout! For lunch, smashed wakame beans, avocado, mango, sushi rice cooked with a spoon of black rice (which gives it the lilac colour), lots of toasted sesame seed, gochugaru (Korean pepper) and blue cornflower.
2. Rice vermicelli with ribboned daikon, panfried tofu and garlic, pan-pressed shimeji mushrooms, water chestnuts and toasted white sesame seed and coconut flakes.

 

FISH N' CHIPPIES

free_athlete
Healthy fish and chips recipe
Create crispy chippies with sweet potato, grilled salmon on a bed of slaw and mushy beetroot.

 

BUDDHA VEGGIE LUNCHBOX

SPRINGLANE

Buddha Veggie Lunchbox recipe

Ingredients
  • 50g wild rice
  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 100g of spinach
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 sprigs of coriander
  • 1 tsp of black sesame
  • 100ml of water
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tsp paprika
For the chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 pinch of chilli flakes
Method
1. For the sweet potato, preheat the oven to 200º C. Wash the sweet potato thoroughly, pat dry and cut both ends. Cut into thick cubes and mix the potato pieces with oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and season with salt again. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
2. Fill wild rice with water in a saucepan and cook until crispy according to the package instructions.
3. Peel the shallot, finely dice and steam with 1/3 of the oil. Wash the spinach, add and cook for 5 minutes until it collapses. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.
4. Cut red cabbage into very fine strips. Mix with half of the remaining oil and sugar. Season with salt and knead well with your hands for 2 minutes. Put the red cabbage aside.
5. Peel and grate the carrot. Mix with lemon juice and remaining oil. Cut the cucumber in quarters and cut into pens. Wash sprouts thoroughly, and serve with vegetables and rice. Garnish with coriander and sesame.
6. For the chilli sauce, mix all the ingredients and fill a small jar. 

 

PEANUT BUTTER NOODLES + GUAC BLACK BEAN SANDWICH

ELAGAN

Peanut butter gluten free noodle recipe

This recipe is enough for 3-days worth of lunches! Pair it along with a savoury sandwich (Top: guac filled with black bean and red cabbage, Middle: tofu, cucumber, tomato, spinach and red cabbage) or a sweet sandwich (Bottom: Bananas, Pip n Nut chocolate hazelnut butter).

The Peanut Butter noodles and broccoli is creamy, delicious and gluten-free.

Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked rice noodles (wide)
  • 2/3 cups coconut milk (divided)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup textured soy protein (or 1 1/2 cup of chickpeas)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 broccoli
  • 1/2 courgette
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (wheat free if GF)
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • coriander or parsley for decoration
Method
1. Cook rice noodles in salted water, according to packaging instructions.
2. Soak 1 cup of textured soy protein in a bowl with 1 cup of hot water (or veg broth) and set aside for 5-10 minutes (skip this step if you are going to use chickpeas). The soy protein will begin to fluff and absorb all the liquid.
3. Chop your veggies (carrot, green pepper, courgette, onion) into small cubes. the smaller you chop the veggies, the faster they will cook.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a skillet, add the chopped onion and minced garlic and fry for 4-5 minutes over medium heat.
5. Add the chopped carrot, green pepper, courgette, soy sauce, 1/2 cup vegetable broth and 1/3 cup coconut milk to the skillet and let it simmer with a lid for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat.
6. Add the textured soy protein, the remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk, the peanut butter, curry powder, smoked paprika, and salt/pepper to taste. Let it simmer for a further 4-5 minutes or until it reaches the desired creaminess.
7. Finally, add the noodles and stir to coat them with the sauce. You can now also add the peanuts and herbs (coriander or parsley) to taste.
8. Serve with steamed broccoli.

 

VEGAN PEANUT BUTTER PECAN BROWNIES

Vegan Pecan Brownie Recipe
For a sweet treat, these pecan brownies are crazy good, somewhere in between a cake and a blondie in texture, with a mild peanut butter flavour, a hint of cinnamon and loads of chocolate chips and crunchy pecans. They make a brilliant snack if you are in need of a sweet pick-me-up at any time of day - don't forget to take it up a notch, serve warm and pair with a nut-m•lk. Thank us later ;)

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed/linseed/chia
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 160 g vegan margarine (softened)
  • 120 g smooth nut butter
  • 180 g light brown soft sugar
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 260 g plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120 ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 200 g dairy free chocolate chips
  • 150 g pecans (roughly chopped)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 180º C. Grease a 23cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
2. Mix together the ground flax/linseed/chia and the 3 tbsp water in a small bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes until gloopy.
3. Place the vegan margarine, nut butter, light brown sugar and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the flax and the vanilla extract.
4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Fold half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture followed by half of the plant milk then the rest of the dry ingredients followed by the rest of the milk.
5. Reserve a handful of each of the chocolate chips and pecans then fold the rest into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and spread level then scatter over the reserved chocolate chips and pecans.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes until it is just firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with moist crumbs but no wet batter. Cover loosely with foil about halfway through baking if the top starts to brown too quickly.
7. Leave to cool in the tin then carefully lift out and slice into squares. You can store in an airtight container for up to a couple of days.

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Lunch Box Container
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