Teach Eat Love

California Bento

One of my favorite things about packing bento box lunches is that I’m able to repurpose leftovers in a really fun way. This bento has a kind of California theme: avocado, seafood, citrus, pan-fried risotto cakes with marinara sauce, and a wedge of sunny cheese. This isn’t a lunch I would make if I didn’t have leftovers to use up, but if you have some extra risotto, give this a shot.

bento box ideas

Prep Time: About 10 minutes

California Bento

Healthy, fresh, and fun!



  • bento box with compartments (like this Planetbox)
  • animal bento picks (like this cute otter sea creature set)
  • bento eye picks
  • flower cookie cutter
  • small sauce container


  • avocado half with lime or lemon juice and seasoning salt
  • clementine (or other citrus)
  • leftover seafood (I used grouper cheek and shrimp) or other protein
  • about 1/2 c. leftover risotto, panko bread crumbs, and olive oil
  • wedge of cheese
  • a couple of tablespoons of tomato sauce with a sprinkling of Italian herb seasoning


  1. Warm a splash of olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Grab your chilled risotto, pat it into small, flattened balls and dredge in panko. Sauté the risotto cakes in warm olive oil until toasty and brown on both sides. Allow to cool before packing. (I put them in the freezer to help speed that along).
  2. Rub lime juice all over the avocado to help keep it from browning. Sprinkle liberally with seasoning salt. You can include the pit to help prevent browning as well, or you can wrap it tightly with saran wrap.
  3. Toss the leftover seafood in a compartment with the picks.
  4. Use the cookie cutter to cut a shape into the wax of the cheese. Put the cheese in its own compartment.
  5. Add the clementine, too.
  6. Put the risotto in the biggest compartment with the dipping sauce in its own container.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.