Italian Bento

Italian Bento. Sounds a bit odd, kind of like Mexican Sushi.

Perhaps we should call it a Benito Box instead?

Too soon?

Nah.

Watch the recipe on Zero Waste TV:

 

Italian food is delicious, hearty, and pretty easy to make once you get the hang of it. Better yet, it usually makes for awesome leftovers. These dishes you can make for dinner one night, then use the leftovers in a bento box later that week.

Here are the recipes shown for the second bento box in the Zero Waste Bento Box video, which you can watch here:

Roast Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or vegan butter)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 400F

Cut a spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and guts. You can roast and eat the seeds just like pumpkin seeds, and bake with the spaghetti guts!

Place the squash halves face up on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until fork tender.

Once cool enough to handle, take a fork and scrape out the spaghetti-like squash bits. Serve with your favorite sauce!

Vegan Meat Balls:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked lentils (I had a dried lentil soup mix which includes chickpeas and other legumes and it still worked out well with these proportions)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup of mushrooms, I used shiitake or a mix of whatever I can get package-free at the farmer’s market
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (home made!)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350F

-In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside. This mixture will thicken in about 5 minutes.

-Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil in a medium sized pan over medium-high heat.

-Chop onions, garlic and mushrooms and cook in pan for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

-Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

-In a food processor, combine cooked lentils (or cooked lentil mix) with the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Add the flax mixture, bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, and process until well-combined, scraping down the sides as needed.

Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls and place an inch apart on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes and serve with your favorite pasta and sauce.

Garlic Bread:

You can use just about any bread for this. Just drizzle a little of the garlic oil mixture listed below, toast, and serve up with your favorite dish.

Garlic Oil Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Mix ingredients together and drizzle on top of bread. I used a baguette cut in half, sandwich style.

Toast for 3-4 minutes until lightly golden brown, keeping a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn.