Very Merry Bento
Today we’re continuing our Christmas-themed bento series with this fun lunch box, complete with a miniature snowman – and the snowman comes together in a snap with the help of prepackaged mozzarella pearls that are perfect for school lunches. This bento box proves that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. I mean, bell pepper Christmas lights? Yes, please.
But if you’re in a hurry, you can sub a sandwich for the pasta salad and throw in some red and green bell pepper slices instead of cutting the light shapes. Then you can have this box assembled in about 5 minutes.
This lunchbox doesn’t require special bento tools, but having a few things ready will make it lots easier.
Frosty the Snowman: You’ll need two toothpicks, one cut in half, for Frosty as well as some nori seaweed and a nori punch (I used the mouth from this CuteZCute Seaweed Nori Punch set and a scrapbooking punch for the eyes and buttons).
Bell pepper lights: scissors and baking twine
Pasta: small star cookie cutter and wintry shapes pasta (I found some at Homegoods with vegetable based colorants).
Veggies and Dip: a green (or red) silicone muffin liner and a Christmas themed toothpick (I found mine on sale at Michael’s). Alternatively, you can use a plain regular toothpick or wrap the top with a bit of red or green washi tape to make a super quick little flag.
It also helps to have a divided lunch box since they’re so easy to pack. I love this PlanetBox Lunchbox ; we have several lunch boxes, but this one remains my go-to.
Very Merry Bento Box
3 mozzarella balls*
a tiny bit of nori seaweed
3 cherry tomatoes
hummus (I used storebought edamame hummus with roasted red peppers)
2 small slices each of red, green, yellow, and orange bell pepper
wintry pasta shapes
a spoonful of your favorite dressing**
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the bag. Drain when it's ready and rinse in cool water.
- While the pasta cooks, assemble your snowman. Skewer the three mozzarella balls on one toothpick, and poke the remaining halved toothpick through the middle mozzarella ball for his arms. You may need to trim the arms so they're not too long.
- With your nori punch, cut out the seaweed mouth, eyes, and buttons. They'll stick right on to the mozzarella.
- With your scissors, cut a tiny triangle off of the orange bell pepper slice and push it in for his nose.
- Skewer the cherry tomatoes on to the toothpick and scoop some hummus in to the muffin tin.
- Toss the raspberries in a little compartment.
- For the "lights," I used scissors to free-form cut light shapes, but obviously a light shaped cookie cutter would be preferable to save time. If you have a cookie cutter, be sure to use a vegetable peeler to peel the outer skin off the peppers - it'll make cutting lots easier. Quickly loop baker's twine around the tops of the lights.
- Dice the leftover pepper bits up and toss with the cooked pasta and a spoonful of dressing. If you want to add a bell pepper star, peel the skin off the slice of yellow or orange bell pepper and press with a small cookie cutter.
*I buy a bag of Bel Gioioso mozzarella already divided up into small individual packages (that come 3 cheese balls to a bag) that are perfect for bento lunches - and especially snowmen.
**I use a simple mix of 2/3 Greek yogurt and 1/3 vegenaise with some Penzeys Greek seasoning.
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