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I am lunch challenged.

Because there are very few places close by my office to go out for lunch, I am in a position of having to take lunch most days. Sure there are many great restaurants around town, but one has to drive a bit to get to them from where we are located. And for an hour break it just seems like more hassle than it is worth.

I do look on this as a blessing in a way though. Brown-bagging is a great opportunity to save my pennies and eat more healthy. Right? I just get so tired of trying to think of something to pack each day (I am so over sandwiches!) And almost every morning I find myself bustling around the kitchen with 10 minutes to spare looking for items to toss in my lunch bag.

My challenge – how do I throw together a delicious, healthy lunch in 10 minutes?

The answer to my brown-bag dilemma? The bento!

I’m not talking about those fancy bentos that everyone is pinning on Pinterest. You know the ones, with the cute bunnies, and pandas and such – those are adorable, don’t get me wrong – but for everyday they are just not the most practical.

I felt like my lunch-time savior had arrived when I received a copy of the new book Ten Minute Bento, by Megumi Fujii.

Megumi Fujii is a trained nutritionist who is very well known in Japan for her culinary expertise and has compiled more than forty cookbooks on a broad range of subjects. Currently, she is a regular on Nippon TV’s cooking program “3 Minute Cooking”.

In her new book, Megumi shows us how anyone can achieve bento proficiency with just three basic rules, 1) You only need one or two toppings, 2) It’s easy to throw together and, 3) Rice is nice!

Anyone can pull together the bento recipes in Ten Minute Bento, and you don’t have to have special equipment (you can use any container available to you!) or artistic talent. This book is all about fun, fast, delicious, and healthy.

I wish I could share all of the recipes in this book! They are fantastic! But you will just have to order your own copy 🙂

In the meantime, here is the first recipe I intend to try!

French Toast Salad Bento

I. French Toast – Serves 1

  • 1 slice of bread

Soy Sesame Dressing (mixture A):

  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • Dash each salt, pepper
  • Butter, vegetable oil
  1. Combine soy sesame dressing (mixture A) in pan. Cut bread into bite-size pieces and soak thoroughly in mixture A.
  2. Heat 1 tsp each butter and oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add toast and cook until brown on both sides.

II. Green Salad – Serves 1

  • 1 oz (30g) arugula
  • 3 sprigs watercress
  • 6 cherry tomatoes

Onion Dressing:

  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp grated onion
  • Dash each salt, pepper
  1. Shred arugula and watercress into bite-size pieces. Remove stems from cherry tomatoes and slice in half.
  2. Combine Onion Dressing ingredients.

III. Arrange:

Add French toast to bento box. Add salad. Pour dressing into separate container to add to salad before eating.

From Ten-Minute Bento (c) 2007 Megumi Fuji. Photography by Shigeki Aoto (Kodansha Photography Department) Published by Vertical, Inc. New York.

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a review copy of Ten Minute Bento for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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