o-tsukimi bento

30 09 2012

my dear twitter friend lisa recently educated me about the japanese holiday o-tsukimi… as a fanatic for all things autumnal, i was eager to try my hand at a bento celebrating this lovely tradition.  but being a bit out of practice with kyaraben, i turned to the best for guidance on how to interpret the themes of this celebration (the harvest moon, bunny, mochi, and fall foods such as squash/pumpkin) into a bento.  hippomum is a bento-maker whose work i have admired ever since i started making my own bento boxes, and looking back through her archives, i found several o-tsukimi-themed bentos.  specifically, these examples from 2009 and 2010 were just the inspiration i needed.  i followed her model of a cheerful rabbit with a mochi pyramid atop a ceremonial stand, and a partially-clouded-over moon against a night sky, switching out only the ingredients.

my box uses a thin layer of black rice for the night sky, golden beet and radish for the moon and clouds, sweet potato (an appropriately “fall” vegetable from my CSA share) for the stand, egg white and golden beet for the mochi, and escarole and broccoli for the garden.  the bunny is made of a halved hard-boiled egg, with nori eyes/mouth and vegetarian “ham” ears and cheeks.

this box is fully TIU approved for lunch — the only carbs are about 1/2 cup of rice here (and the black rice is more nutritious than white) plus a few slices of sweet potato.  the hard-boiled egg plus the marinated tempeh i’ve arranged in the bento’s lower tier provide a protein punch; and the steamed broccoli, fresh escarole, farmer’s market baby tomatoes and purple radish add vitamins and other veggie-power nutrients.  rounding out the box is a paper cup of pickled japanese eggplant, which provides nice color and a nice brine-y flavor.

nutritional info below; i hope you all had a lovely fall weekend, celebrating this tradition or taking part in your own favorite start-of-fall activities!  i also had a fun apple-picking trip, so check back later this week for a yummy and easy low-sugar crockpot apple butter post.

nutritional info:

  • black & mahogany rice (i used lundberg brand), 1/4 cup dry – 150 calories (1.5 g. fat, 33 g. carbs [3 g. fiber], 4 g. protein, 4% iron)
  • homemade smoky marinated tofu (i used lightlife’s flax variety and marinated in chipotle, apple cider vinegar, grade B organic maple syrup, minced garlic and other seasoning) – 145 calories (4 g. fat [0.6 g. sat.], 204 mg. sodium, 220 mg. potassium, 17 g. carbs [6.4 g. fiber, 7.3 g. sugar], 10.3 g. protein, 6.1% vitamin A, 6.8% calcium, 11.5% iron)
  • hard-boiled egg – 70 calories (4.5 g. fat [1.5 g. sat.], 215 mg. cholesterol, 65 mg. sodium, 1 g. carbs, 6 g. protein, 6% vitamin A, 2% calcium, 4% iron)
  • 1/2 of a smallish-medium sweet potato, steamed – 50 calories (20 mg. sodium, 262 mg. potassium, 11.6 g. carbs [1.9 g. fiber, 3.4 g. sugar], 1 g. protein, 212% vitamin A, 18% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 2% iron)
  • approx. 1/3 slice yves meatless “canadian bacon” – 10 calories (0.1 g. fat, 61 mg. sodium, 13.2 mg. potassium, 2 g. protein, 3% iron)
  • veggie garnishes: about 1/4 cup steamed broccoli florets, 3 grape tomatoes, 30 g. raw escarole, 1/8 cup raw golden beet and 1/4 cup raw radish – collectively, 30 calories (27 mg. sodium, 162 mg. potassium, 7 g. carbs [4 g. fiber, 2 g. sugar], 3 g. protein, 28% vitamin A, 29% vitamin C, 2% calcium, 6% iron)
  • shibazuke (pickled eggplant): 10 calories (500 mg. sodium, 2 carbs [0.5 g. fiber])

total: 470 calories… a little more than i usually eat for lunch, but well-balanced and so seasonally appropriate that i am more than willing to plan for lighter morning and afternoon snack to accommodate.



10 responses

1 10 2012

so adorable and full of neat details. Love it 🙂

1 10 2012

thanks yenny! can’t take much credit for the design, but it was fun to make and tasty when i ate it!

1 10 2012

fantastic and rabbit-lunar-joyful o-tsukimi bento megan! we were sharing a bit of a bento frequency this weekend 🙂 have a magnificent autumn.

1 10 2012

thanks jenn! i love this season… hope it brings you lots of fun california adventures and delicious meals 🙂

1 10 2012


3 10 2012

This is simply darling! What a treat to see a new gamene decoben after so long! The black rice is a stunning backdrop to the cheerful bunny. I myself was enamored of this year’s beautiful bright moon. Almost makes me anticipate the upcoming autumn. Almost.

4 10 2012

Super duper cute egg bunny! i love it.

30 10 2012
Lisa db

Just saw this post 😀 Love, love, love your creations♥ Yesterday’s full moon was absolutely stunning too!

4 07 2013
cee elac

My goodness this is such you have give a good recipe idea on special occasions. I have bought several bento box here: https://bentozen.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/o-tsukimi-bento/#comments which I have very limited idea on what to do with them. Thanks for the post

24 05 2021
Cooking Lexicon: Bento - Food Daydreaming

[…] O-Tsukimi Bento by Bento Zen This is a beautiful example of oekakiben or ‘picture’ bento. The ingredients are listed so you can have some fun with making one yourself or even trying your hand at making your own picture! Check out this recipe […]

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