Monthly Archives: April 2011

Bento staples: mini burgers

One of the most convenient things to put in a bento are frozen mini burgers, so I try every now and again to make a batch to have on hand. I don’t really have a recipe, so much, but they usually turn out well. I find that when I use chicken I don’t need to add a binder, but for veggie ones that can be a good idea.

Chicken burgers

You start with a pound of lean ground chicken. Then, you can add any flavors, really. I make them fairly small, about 12-15 per pound of meat. You can fry them or bake them in the oven (8-10 mins per side at 200C)

Some ideas:

a) Asian-style (vaguely bulgogi flavored)

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 chopped green onions
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • chili
  • (perhaps 1 tbsp brown sugar)

b) Indian-style

  • 4 chopped green onions
  • some minced ginger
  • some minced garlic
  • 1-2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1-2 tsp curry powder
  • perhaps some turmeric or other spices you have on hand

c) herbed

  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh herbs, or dry if you don’t have fresh, such as thyme, basil or italian herb mix or herbes de provence
  • garlic
  • perhaps some chopped onion

Veggie burgers

The easiest route is to take a can of beans.

a) Hummus burger

  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seeds, 3 tbsp water, leave to form a goop)
  • can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp of tahini
  • garlic
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Use an immersion blender to make it into all a paste. If it is not sticking together well enough, add some rice flour or flour of your choice. Best fried. Careful, they are a bit fragile.

b) Black bean burgers

  • can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • a small chopped onion
  • some yellow and red bell pepper, diced finely
  • cumin
  • garlic
  • probably some rice flour

Use the immersion blender on about 3/4 of the beans and the garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a fork. Fry with care.

b) tofu red lentil burgers

Recipe here!

c) green pea burgers

Recipe here!

All of the burgers can be frozen, and then when you need them you just pick one out and put it frozen in the bento box. It will be thawed by lunchtime!


Finally, a bento.

The light was a bit weird, so struggled to get a good picture, but anyway. The main compartment has a gluten-free muffin (teff with coconut and apricot, OK but not quite successful enough to blog about), carrot sticks and a flower-shaped rice ball (onigiri). The smaller compartment has strawberries, some comt√© cheese and a black bean burger I made (can of black beans, red and yellow bell pepper, onion, cumin). Wasn’t bad.

Corn muffins with tahini

I have been terrible at updating the blog lately, and terrible at making bentos. But I should really get better at making bento ready foods, especially given that I won’t be making that much money for the next few months being sort of between jobs. There is really no need for any of us to spend money on lunch when I could just get my act together and make some…

So today I made a big batch of onigiri – some big triangles for husband dearest and little flower shaped ones for me. And then I tried to make corn muffins, which I have never done before.

I have made a gluten-free vegan cornbread a couple of times based on this recipe, but using rice flour instead of wheat, so I started from there. I wanted something a little healthier – less sweet, perhaps using less oil. I didn’t have any good milk substitute, so that’s where the tahini came in. I figured that whizzing tahini and water I would get both a sort of “sesame milk” and eliminate the need for extra oil. I think next time I might add a little bit of honey – the corn kernels didn’t add as much sweetness as I expected.

Gluten-free, vegan corn muffins with tahini

  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels (from a can)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp No-Egg Egg Replacer plus 6 tbsp water

Mix all the dry ingredients well, add corn kernels. Mix the egg replacer with water. Add that together with the tahini, water and vinegar, to a blender and whizz until it is all combined and the tahini is dissolved. Mix wet into dry, add a little more water if it is too thick and not coming together properly.

Spoon into  muffin tins. Bake at 200C for 20-25 mins? Check for doneness. They will stay quite light in color.