Vegetarian Bento Box

This bento box has rice, roasted squash, marinated tofu, garlicky cucumbers, pickled radish and sauteed kale, but you can definitely omit parts as you please! #bentobox #lunchideas #vegetarian

this vegetarian bento box has all sorts of goodies: marinated tofu, sesame hazelnut furikake on rice and plenty of vegetables (pickled, marinated, sauteed and roasted!), with chocolate for dessert! 

past me is writing this earlier than i usually would because i’m busy eating ice cream and picking up a sanded trashcan in la this weekend. meaning i will definitely be needing a vegetarian bento box (or at the very least, more vegetables period) in my system.

this bento box was inspired by the autumn bento that laughing planet was featuring a few years ago, full of ginger-soy tofu, kale, pickled beets / daikon / pears / carrots, curry roasted squash, jasmine rice, orange-sesame miso sauce and sesame hazelnut gomasio. it’s a mouthful, so i tried to pare down the number of veggies + the amount of time it’d take to put together such a beast. in the end, here’s what’s up in this version:

  • marinated tofu
  • garlicky cucumbers
  • quick-pickled daikon
  • roasted butternut squash with thai curry paste
  • lemongrass sauteed kale
  • sesame hazelnut furikake on steamed rice
  • chocolate optional (but is it really?)

still too much for you? feel free to buy marinated tofu (think trader joe’s or ranch 99), pickled daikon and furikake (try mitsuwa), and your bento box will come together quicker.

This bento box with all the different kinds of veggies is downright Lemonade or sweetgreen (some of my favorite salad chains) worthy. #bentobox #lunchideas #vegetarian

1 year ago: butter mochi and custard mochi | garlicky yogurt dip with herb jam and toasted almonds
2 years ago: spicy pan-fried tofu rice bowl | banana cake with banana nutella swirl buttercream
3 years ago: squash carbonara with pancetta and sage | pecan chocolate espresso coffee cake
4 years ago: aunty m’s thai shrimp curry | procrastination thursday
5 years ago: banana granola | sakamoto namul (marinated bean sprouts)

5 from 3 votes
This bento box has rice, roasted squash, marinated tofu, garlicky cucumbers, pickled radish and sauteed kale, but you can definitely omit parts as you please! #bentobox #lunchideas #vegetarian
Vegetarian Bento Box
Prep Time
1 hr
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
This vegetarian bento box is a colorful lunch idea with plenty of veggies, and it's perfect for meal-prepping!
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: butternut squash, cucumbers, daikon, dairy-free, egg-free, furikake, garlic, ginger, green onions, hazelnuts, kale, pickles, quick pickles, radish, rice, scallions, seaweed, sesame seeds, squash, tofu, vegetables, vegetarian
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 725 kcal
Ingredients
Marinated Tofu
  • 1" knob ginger peeled and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 8 oz block tofu cubed
Garlicky Cucumbers
  • 1 cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1 T chili garlic sauce
Pickled Daikon
  • 1/2 medium daikon peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 T white vinegar
  • 1 T granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
Curried Butternut Squash
  • 1/2 butternut squash peeled and cubed
  • 1 T Thai curry paste
  • 1 T canola oil
Sauteed Kale
  • leaves from 1 bunch kale
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1" knob ginger peeled and minced
  • 1 T minced lemongrass
Sesame Hazelnut Furikake and Assembly
  • 1/2 T sesame seeds
  • 2 T shredded nori
  • 2 T toasted hazelnuts chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup cooked rice
Instructions
Marinated Tofu
  1. In a shallow container, combine everything. Mix the tofu occasionally while it marinates in the fridge (preferably overnight, though 30+ minutes works too).
Garlicky Cucumbers
  1. Mix everything in a medium bowl.
Pickled Daikon
  1. Mix everything in a medium covered container (I like using an old jam or pickle jar). Let marinate for 15-20 minutes, or preferably overnight. These are good for a month in the fridge.
Curried Butternut Squash
  1. Whisk the curry paste and oil until homogeneous (there should be no chunks of curry paste). Toss with the squash, then spread on an oiled sheet tray.
  2. Roast at 450F for 15-20 minutes, or until fork-tender.
Sauteed Kale
  1. Heat a bit of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add everything with a pinch of salt, then saute until the kale is wilted.
Sesame Hazelnut Furikake
  1. Mix the sesame seeds, nori, nuts and salt in a small bowl to combine.
Assembly
  1. Using a bento box (or whatever shallow and flat resealable container you want), divvy up the tofu, cucumbers, pickled daikon, squash, kale and rice. Drizzle the sesame oil over the rice and sprinkle with the furikake.
Recipe Notes

Don’t feel like cold tofu? Feel free to pan-fry it to get it crispy on all sides, then toss it in the sauce before packing it.

You can add turmeric to your daikon if you want- it adds a nice yellow color (and turmeric is supposedly super good for you). I’d suggest starting small (ie 1/4 tsp or 1/2 tsp) if you’re feeling wary.

Note that calorie information does not include chocolate.

You don't have to put this vegetarian bento box in a bento box; everything goes well together even if they get a little mixed up! (Well, except for the chocolate). #bentobox #lunchideas #vegetarian

other rice-rich lunches besides this vegetarian bento box

The flavorful rice and gingery sauce make this khao mun gai (Thai chicken and rice) from Rooster and Rice in San Francisco.

san francisco eats (featuring chicken and rice from rooster and rice!)

This coconut rice bowl with cumin broccoli slaw and quick pickles is the kind of lunch that makes you happy to have a bowl full of vegetables. #lunchideas #ricebowl #quickpickles #tofu #vegetables

coconut rice bowl with quick pickles and cumin broccoli slaw

This bento box (with 4 different kinds of vegetables, tofu, rice and chocolate) is perfect for the person who likes to nibble around their plate at lunch. #bentobox #lunchideas #vegetarian

17 Replies to “Vegetarian Bento Box”

  1. I want this for lunch today! Such variety and fun in this vegetarian bento box. #lunchgoals XOXO

    1. agreed – all the color makes this box feel a bit more fun (;

  2. This looks so yummy and so healthy. I love the addition of the non-traditional chocolate! Have fun in LA!!5 stars

    1. haha chocolate never hurts (;

  3. You know I’m all about meal prepping, so this is right up my alley. And, I love how beautiful it looks, so pretty!5 stars

    1. you are the meal prep queen! honestly need to get more on your level besides just the occasional, random meal prep that happens because i end up making a big batch of food for the blog lol

  4. I could definitely eat this for lunch today!! I used to get bento boxes all of the time when I worked downtown!

    1. yes! i don’t even want to imagine what this kind of bento box would go for at a downtown lunch shop haha

  5. I think the Curried Butternut Squash appeals to me the most 🙂

    1. yes, it’s super tasty! my mom’s pretty picky but even she liked this squash (:

  6. This vegetarian bento box looks like my dream dinner 🙂 I love tofu and the addition of those cute little chocolates for dessert. I wish I enjoyed ice cream as much as other people do, it just doesn’t float my boat, but give me cupcakes or cake pops, omg I would love my mind lol.

    1. la/orange county seems a lot more obsessed with the bay area; yes it’s warmer there but it goes beyond that lol. have you had the coffee crunch cake from yasukochi’s in japantown in sf? that’s a pretty addictive cake :3

  7. I LOVE bento boxes! You get a little bit of everything. I love that you put together one – everything looks super delicious. The work is totally worth the outcome. I really like how you put two pieces of chocolate in the middle. Thanks for sharing this recipe! Now you make me want to go back to meal prepping and make my own cool bento box, hehe.

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    1. yes the variety is so good! someday i’ll have to make those marinated beef wrapped green beans and put the recipe up here.

  8. Heather, this bento box looks just amazing! So many different flavors – what a treat!5 stars

    1. thanks kelly! (:

  9. I love the colours and textures you’ve got going on here, those garlicky cucumbers sound particularly good!

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