happy matryoshka bento

25 04 2011

tonight for dinner i made an awesome pan-seared cod dish, served with shitake-miso-arugula-quinoa salad (recipe below) and a fat slice of oven-roasted beefsteak tomato.

for tomorrow’s lunch, which is my last passover lunch for the year (YAY!), i packed some of the cod beneath a layer of the quinoa salad, topped with a cheese-and-nori matryoshka.  the side portion has steamed broccoli, a fish sausage heart, steamed asparagus, sweet potato “doilies”, pea pods, and a lettuce border.

quinoa has been a controversial grain for those observing passover — because it was not a part of the diet of the jews who fled slavery in egypt, it was never placed on the list of forbidden passover foods, even though it expands like rice and other forbidden grains.  that’s good enough for me, and because quinoa is protein-packed, it’s a nice change from rice.

the basic recipe is simple, and the number of potential add-ins is infinite.  here’s the combo i came up with tonight:

shitake-miso-arugula-quinoa salad (if you can come up with a better name, let me know!)

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 8 medium shitake caps, julienned
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • olive oil to coat a medium skillet
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. shiro miso paste
  • 3 big handfuls of arugula
  • pepper to taste
  1. coat your skillet with olive oil and heat it up.  add the sliced garlic and julienned shitake caps, and sautee until golden.
  2. add the quinoa to the pan and stir until it’s evenly toasted but not burned.  (this is the same process you would use when making risotto and toasting the arborio rice prior to adding liquid.)
  3. in a separate pot, bring 2 cups of water to boil, and then whisk in the miso paste.
  4. add the quinoa-shitake-garlic mixture to the boiling miso broth, cover and reduce to a low simmer.  allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed and the individual quinoa grains are plumped.  turn off heat and leave lid on to steam for an additional 2 to 5 minutes.
  5. transfer the quinoa-shitake-garlic mixture to a mixing bowl, and fold in the arugula.  it will steam/wilt in this process; make sure fold until it’s evenly incorporated.

that’s it!  it’s good hot or cold, and very nutritious.



26 responses

26 04 2011

What a lovely and precise matryoshka! Another beautifully presented and nutritious bento from BZ. Love the medley of patterns & colors too; very cheerful — Happy Passover!

26 04 2011

thanks sheri! i kind of went crazy with the patterns here, it was late and i think i was a little punchy :oP

and you must mean happy END of passover… yes, i am so glad, and planning a big pasta/pizza/panini dinner tonight!!

26 04 2011
Lia Chen

Quinoa is interesting new food for me. Is not common here, so I never cooked it before. Looks yum though! I love the details on your matryoshka ❤ Another awesome bento from you (^.^)

26 04 2011

thanks lia. so cool that you haven’t tried quinoa yet, bet you would love it — it has a cool texture, almost like the grains are popping between your teeth (maybe like roe?). can you get the grain in your supermarket, or would have to import?

27 04 2011
Lia Chen

Only can get it from some supermarket, imported so is very expensive here 🙂

27 04 2011

hmm… well then i know what to send you next time i’m mailing out care packages 😉

26 04 2011
Ohayo Bento

This is stunning! The detail on the matryoshka doll is fantastic! I haven’t tried quinoa yet so I might have to use your recipe for my first try. Anything with miso makes me very happy, lol!

26 04 2011

thanks so much for your sweet comment heather! quinoa is great in so many ways, i loved this version too: https://bentozen.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/faux-strawberries-bento/

26 04 2011

nice and pretty doll! 😀

26 04 2011

thanks very much lyn! 😀

26 04 2011

mmmm, just my kind of recipe–so healthy and savory! love how the arugula is folded into the grains to wilt and add its lovely bitter nuance to the dish. (and pan seared cod…sounds super delish!) yay for light and energizing quinoa, you’ve reminded me to add it to the bento menu.

matryoshka looks happy indeed, beautifully clad in her nori cheese dress. have a great Tuesday megan :D!

26 04 2011

yes jenn, you are so right, the wilting process with the arugula *really* brought out its piquant bitterness, it was a nice surprise compared to my nightly salad, where the arugula showcases its more peppery side. thanks as always for your thoughtful comment, wishing you a wonderful tuesday as well!

26 04 2011

I love all the details here on your matryoshka doll! Also on the veggies. I also love the savoury way you made your quinoa. Yummy! I usually make mine as a cold sweet salad. I have to try this version!

26 04 2011

thanks so much chantale! the details were easy with the help of a nori punch and a coffee straw. i love quinoa cold and sweet too! i did a version with dried cranberries that was stellar — would love to try your recipe though, maybe post soon?

26 04 2011

The details you put into your bento are just amazing!

26 04 2011

thank you so much egg104 😀

27 04 2011

This is so adorable – what a sweet little matroyska doll. I’ve been wanting to try quinoa for some time – your recipe may just be the push I need. Sounds delish.

27 04 2011

thanks so much karina, nice to “see” you! hope all is well with you and hubby and lil’ K. you should definitely try one of the quinoa recipes i’ve posted — quinoa is SOOOO easy (like couscous), and so versatile.

27 04 2011

Salute you, so neatly done! I especially likes the sweet potato “doilies”!

27 04 2011

thanks KDW! just added the dots to the doily edges at the last minute, thought they needed a little pizazz. 😀

1 05 2011
Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

Your presentations are just too cool. I love this recipe.

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25 12 2011
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20 03 2012
Mrs. P

WOW! I’ve only been using quinoa on brown rice and on pasta, never thought to make it the way you did! I have this pinned, and will definitely make it! Can I substitute arugula with other greens, like…spinach?

20 03 2012

substitute to your heart’s content! spinach would be great 🙂

28 06 2012
“summer chill” quinoa salad bento « bento zen

[…] actually a seed, not a grain — is a superfood that i’ve used before (see exhibit A and exhibit B).  but since getting on the tone it up nutrition plan, which requires me to avoid starchy foods in […]

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