To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lazy Girl's Bento

Another pair of weekday rehearsals; another pair of easily packed, carried, and munched meals on-the-go for rehearsal meal-break. This week, I flexed my 'what do I have laying around in my fridge/freezer' muscles and came up with this nourishing and tasty combination treat that takes about 20 minutes total to put together. I'm a little embarrassed by how simple this was, but - hey - maybe it'll give you time to work on that pie recipe I gave you. You know who you are.

Lazy Girl's Bento: Roasted Portobello Mushrooms and Baked Gardein Seven-Grain Crispy Tenders, Steamed Fava Beans, and a snack of dehydrated bananas, homemade raisins, dried goji berries, and raw almonds.

I was avoiding putting a picture in for this one, because it's simply not as pretty
as my other bento boxes have been, but it is quite tasty and very effective.

The dried goji berries and raw almonds were purchased at Sprouts Farmers' Market. The bananas and homemade raisins were dried in my favorite kitchen gadget of the year - my Nesco 500 Watt dehydrator. I use this thing continuously; it's wonderful! But I won't go on about it here. Not yet anyway. Here are the extra-simple directions to the remainder of the bento. Enjoy!

Roasted Portobello Mushrooms
(~ 2 servings)

2 portobello mushrooms, sliced into ~1/2 inch slices
olive oil

Are you ready for how supremely easy this is?
Pre-heat your oven to 420 F. Prepare a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, place a drying rack on top of the foil. Lay out the portobello slices. Brush with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes. And you're done.

I baked my Gardein Crispy Tenders on the same sheet, removed the mushrooms when they were done, and put the tenders back in for another 10 minutes to get crispy.

Steamed Fava Beans
(~4 servings)

3 lbs fava beans (in the pods)

Remove the pods from the fava beans. I put the beans in my incredibly handy Progressive Microwave Fish and Vegetable Steamer (seriously, this costs $6 and speeds up so very many dishes that it's silly) and steamed them until they were tender. It took about ten minutes for me. Just poke at them (careful of that hot steam) until the beans give a bit beneath a push. When this is done, rinse them under cool water, and peel the outer layer off before eating. I'm fairly anti-salt, so... I'd say if you don't have a tongue that is amenable to the simplicity of how things taste naturally, you can pour the steamed beans in a bowl and toss them in some sea salt and olive oil. That'd be tasty.

Answering your questions:

What are Gardein Seven-Grain Crispy Tenders? Gardein is a soy-based meat substitute brand. I'm quite fond of them. Another great meatless brand is Quorn. I highly recommend both. This particular product of Gardein's is one of my favorites, taste-wise. You can click here to learn more.

What could one substitute for goji berries? Goji berries are filled with antioxidants, which help to boost the immune system and lower cholesterol. These berries are also rich in vitamin A and some research has suggested that goji berry extracts may boost brain health and protect against age-related diseases.
 As far as replacements go, the closest I can find as far as health benefits would be something like acai berries, cranberries, or dark cherries. Personally, I like the taste of the goji berries much more.

What can one substitute for fava beans/what do they look like?
Fava beans out of the pod, and steamed.
Fava beans in the pod.
I get my fava beans at the local farmer's market, but you can purchase them at markets like Whole Foods, Sprouts, and many other what I like to call 'off the beaten track grocery store substitutes'. You can also find ready-to-eat fava beans that have already been steamed and shelled from many of these markets. The brand I just found in a quick online search is called Melissa's. What I love about these beans is that they are filling and have a very specific, creamy texture that is both surprising and pleasant.


  1. Hi, what are Baked Gardein Seven-Grain Crispy Tenders? What could one substitute for goji berries?

  2. I had the same questions. What can be used for fava beans, I've never seen them at my store.

  3. Could you include photos of these (and all) recipes? They all sound good but it would help to see the ingredients or the end. Like you did for the PIE, which I MUST TRY~! YUMYUM

  4. I added photos and answered questions. Let me know if I missed anything! And enjoy. :)

  5. Thank you for the photos and added explanations. So helpful. :)

  6. I like this. Also like the haiku.

  7. I am following this on twitter now. Your actor site tw****y popped up on twitter so I try to follow that too, but it will not let me follow that.

  8. Assume real carnivores can use real chicken instead of soy, correct? (I'm going to follow twitter too. Want to hear more about the acting as well as the cooking)

  9. Absolutely. Carnivores are welcome to use real chicken. You can grill chicken tenders, or you can use my awesome garlic-sunflower chicken recipe ( or do whatever else you like. Chicken is remarkably versatile, as I'm sure you've noticed.