a quick lunch tomorrow (in my new bento & co. “origami bento,” bought on karaimame’s brilliant suggestion), made up of leftovers from batch dinner cooking i did earlier this week, plus a pantry item. recipes and calorie count below.
roasted eggplant soba (makes 2 servings)
- one bundle of buckwheat soba noodles (about 3.1 oz; packages of soba usually come in three bundles)
- half of a regular-sized (e.g. approx. 1 lb.) eggplant
- 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. miso paste
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 scallions, plus chopped scallions for garnish
- preheat your oven to 375. spray your eggplant with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet, cut side down. bake the eggplant for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the eggplant has shrunk in volume by about 1/3 and the skin is wrinkly. allow to cool.
- in a pot of salted, boiling water, cook your soba until al dente. drain but don’t rinse.
- into a blender or food processor, scoop the soft interior of the eggplant (the flesh should separate easily from the skin if it’s fully roasted). add the other ingredients (reserving the chopped scallions for garnish) and puree.
- in a bowl, mix the still-warm soba noodles and the eggplant puree. the warm noodles are better for soaking up the sauce.
- serve warm, or refrigerate the mixture and serve chilled.
japanese cucumber salad (adapted from this eating well recipe; makes 4 servings)
- 1 1/2 english seedless cucumbers
- 4 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 4 tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- 3 packets of splenda (or other artificial sweetener of your choice — but be careful, not all of these are equally sweet, so adjust as necessary)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sesame seeds (toasted, if you like)
- cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, and using a teaspoon, scoop the interior seeded portion out and discard. cut into thin, C-shaped slices.
- in a large bowl, mix the vinegar, salt, and splenda.
- add the cucumbers and toss to coat with the vinegar mixture.
- sprinkle the sesame seeds on top and serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator before serving. keeps well in a plastic container for several days.
curried kabocha soup (makes 4 servings of approx. 1 1/2 cups each; inspired by this vegetarian times recipe)
- 1 small/medium kabocha squash (when roasted, makes about 3 cups)
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 5 cloves roasted garlic
- 2 tsp. raw, grated ginger
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (i use trader joe’s)
- 2 to 3 cups water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 oz. 0% fat greek yogurt
- 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar (optional; for garnish)
- preheat your oven to 375. cut the kabocha in half, and spray the cut edges with cooking spray.
- taking a whole head of garlic, slice the top off, so that the tip of each clove has a cut, exposed edge. drizzle in 1 tsp. olive oil and wrap the whole head in foil.
- place the wrapped-garlic package on a foil-covered baking sheet. cover the package with one kabocha half (cut side down), and place the other kabocha half (also cut side down) next to it. place the tray in the oven and roast for 45 min. to one hour, or until a fork can easily and cleanly be inserted into the kabocha flesh. (if you are making the roasted eggplant soba, why not get double duty out of your oven, and roast all these veggies at once?)
- when the kabocha is fully roasted, take it out of the oven and allow to cool. allow the garlic to cool as well, and once cooled, individual cloves can be easily squeezed out of their papery skin. extra cloves can be saved in a plastic container for several days.
- while the squash is cooling, spray a large saucepan or wok with cooking spray and bring up to high heat. add the chopped onion and once translucent, add the grated ginger and dry spices, mixing until they are fragrant.
- using a soup spoon, separate the cooled kabocha flesh from its skin and scoop into a food processor or blender. squeeze five of the roasted garlic cloves into the blender, and scoop the cooked onions/spice mixture into the blender as well. add the vegetable broth and puree until smooth. add between 2 and 3 cups of water (a half-cup at a time), until soup has thinned out to your liking.
- pour the blended mixture back into your sautee pan/wok and bring up to a simmer. add the salt and pepper to taste.
- at this point you may either add the yogurt and stir until blended throughout, or you may serve with a dollop of yogurt on each bowl as a garnish. you may also garnish with a drizzle of balsamic.
— ♥ —
i think this is a really nice, hearty meal… i had it for dinner one night this week already and loved the combination of asian-inspired flavors. the origami box folds and unfolds quite easily once you get the hang of it, and i love that you can just rinse the whole thing off and throw it in your tote bag without worrying about the bulk of a regular container. the container the soup is stored in, on the other hand, is quite substantial — it’s more of a corningware type, with a locking plastic lid (not shown) that has a vent for letting out steam when you heat food in the microwave. it’s supposed to be healthier to use than regular plastic (no BPAs), but because of the weight i’ll have to see if it’s actually practical… it may just end up hanging out at work as a paperclip bowl.
anyway, this was easy to throw together since all the food was already pre-made and pre-portioned (and the soup was already stored in several of these containers). with just one disposable baran, i saved time on decoration. and the photo was quick, too; i didn’t even bother to add text. here’s the calorie count:
- roasted eggplant soba, 230 calories (2.3 g. fat [0.2 g. saturated], 1111.2 mg. sodium, 379.6 mg. potassium, 40.6 g. carbs [6.3 g. dietary fiber, 6.3 g. sugar], 10.5 g. protein, 5.2% daily value of vitamin A, 12.5% daily value of vitamin C, 5.5% daily value of calcium, 6.5% daily value of iron)
- japanese cucumber salad, 54 calories (1.3 g. fat [0.2 g. saturated], 827.1 mg. sodium, 145.8 mg. potassium, 11.4 g. carbs [0.8 g. dietary fiber, 9.1 g. sugar], 1.0 g. protein)
- curried kabocha soup, 92 calories (0.9 g. fat [0 g. saturated], 85.2 mg. sodium, 123.6 mg. potassium, 16.8 g. carbs [2.8 g. dietary fiber, 7.9 g. sugar], 4.5 g. protein, 71% daily valueof vitamin A, 22.6% daily value of vitamin C, 6.4% daily value of calcium, 5.1% daily value of iron)
- pickled myoga ginger (1 piece = approx. 20 g.), 9 calories (0 g. fat, 300 mg. sodium, 1.5 g. carbs)
TOTAL: 385 calories — really not bad for this volume of food. as you can see from the stats above, kabocha is really the nutritional powerhouse of this meal; it’s vitamin-packed and super low-cal, especially considering what it brings to the table in terms of flavor.