Gyudon Bento 牛丼弁当

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Gyudon Bento |

Today I want to talk about two bento items that I think are really helpful when I make bento for my son.  I usually pack my son’s lunch in the morning and it typically takes 15-20 minutes from start to finish.  In today’s post I’ll show you why and how these two items are my favorite when it comes to bento making.

The first one is rice seasonings that you sprinkle on top of rice and it’s called furikake (ふりかけ).  It usually contains a mixture of sesame seeds, nori/seaweed flakes, salt, sugar, and sometimes bonito or salmon flakes.  Furikake comes in a bottle or in a package and can be found at Japanese or Asian grocery stores.  If you are concerned about additives, there are many MSG-free furikake available.  If the package is imported from Japan (meaning you can’t find any English on the packaing), look for the word “mutenka” (無添加), which means additive free.

Furikake |

The other helpful item is frozen Mixed Vegetables.  I don’t normally use frozen or canned vegetables for my cooking, but I find keeping a bag of frozen mixed vegetables in freezer extremely convenient when you need just ONE more item to fill your bento box.  All you need to do is to place the veggies in microwave-safe silicone cup and defrost in microwave!  I sometimes saute vegetable with a little bit of butter and season with salt and pepper to give it a bit more flavor.

Frozen Vegetables

Let me show you how these two items can add colors and flavors to a bento box with before and after adding them.

Gyudon Color Trick

As you see, the white steamed rice received a nice furikake makeover and the big empty void is now filled with colorful vegetables!  It’s really a simple technique to bring color to your bento box.

Now let’s go over today’s bento recipe.

Previous Dinner was:

Gyudon!  My son loves Tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled egg omelette) in his bento box.  So when I was making Gyudon, I removed his lunch portion out of the pan for his bento first before I pour the egg at the last step of making Gyudon.

Gyudon | Just One CookbookLunch Next Day:

  • Gyudon Bento
  • Small box of fruits
  • Water bottle

Gyudon Bento Recipe |

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Gyudon Bento
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 Bento
  1. Fill up half of bento box with Japanese rice. Let it cool so that hot/warm rice will not warm up other cool food.
  2. Reheat leftover gyudon in a frying pan until it's warm thoroughly.
  3. Wash lettuce and pat dry. Place nicely in the bento box.
  4. Pack cooled gyudon on in a silicone cup and put in bento box.
  5. Put Tamagoyaki in the bento box.
  6. Put mixed vegetable in a silicone cup and microwave to defrost. Put it in bento box after cooled.
  7. Sprinkle furikake on top of rice.
  8. Cool down completely before closing the bento box.
[Please read FOOD SAFETY TIPS].

* This lunch is for my 6-year-old son.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.


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  1. Julia Yuko Lee

    Thanks for the bento tips. I especially learned from the food safety tips, which were very helpful! I don’t think I’ve read any information on bento food safety, esp. reheating to help prevent spread of bacteria. Thanks Nami!

    • Hi Julia! You’re welcome. :) If the weather in your area is usually humid and hot (like Japan’s summer), food safety for bento is VERY important! Especially school doesn’t have a proper storage for lunch box (fridge) and we must make sure to keep the lunch safe for our children. Thank you for your feedback!

  2. I have no problem with keeping frozen vegetables in my freezer. They are full of nutrition and very convenient however, like you, I don’t cook with them very often. A few years ago I was watching an episode of Jamie Oliver and he said, ‘Anyone who doesn’t have a bag of peas in the freezer is a snob’. I’ve remembered that! xx

  3. Another wonderful bento dish and the beef rice bowl that formed the base is great by itself. I wish I could get beef (and the pork in your last post) as thinly sliced as yours as my efforts at home are a great disappointment.

    Thanks for reminding me to start using my jar of furikake more often. I bought it and it is just sitting in my pantry.

  4. Mary Chaet

    No need to microwave those frozen veggies as your son won’t be eating his lunch for several hours and they will have defrosted in a much healthier way all by themselves.

    • Thank you for letting me know. The only problem for me is that when naturally defrosted, the water that melted from ice stays in the lunch box (silicon cup). So I usually defrost it in microwave and get rid of water before putting inside the box… Wish I can minimize this extra step!

  5. The bento is as cute and as perfect as usually. I enjoy so much reading your tips and explanations! The frozen vegetables trick is very practical. I wish I had the courage to make such elaborate, carefully arranged lunch boxes…. I should cross the ocean and take lessons from you 😉 Gyudon looks particularly appetising, but the bowl is so beautiful, I cannot take my eyes off it.

  6. I definitely love adding dry seaweed on top of my rice. You are absolutely right, those two items do change the appearance of the bento! And, yum! I absolutely adore gyudon.

  7. Some great tips in this post! And another lovely bento. It sounds as if I use frozen veggies a bit more than you do – I usually have frozen peas and corn in the freezer. The season for peas is so short and it’s hard to find prime specimens when they’re in season, I actually think the quality of the frozen is better than the fresh. Anyway, good stuff – thanks.

  8. Hello Nami-san, Where were you when I was living in Japan and had to learn on my own how to make these bento boxes every day for my son before school??? My life would have been so much easier. The standards in the Japanese primary schools for bento making is quite high and stressful. Of course making a trip to the hakuyen store is also obligatory to get your supplies to make it all fancy… I could never compete with the local moms but by the end at least my onigiri’s were not as lopsided as when I first started. Ja Mata, BAM

  9. Jayne

    I really love bentos! We bring packed lunch to work almost every day and although we do not specifically use bento boxes (we use tiffin carriers), it consists of rice, vegetables and meat. Similar components for a nutritious and filling lunch. I really like how you use silicon cups to separate the components. Very clever! I’d be happy with your 6-year-old son’s lunch box. :-)

  10. I just love when you do bento boxes! You are always so creative with them and they are packed full of amazing cute and delicious ingredients. Well done on this one. It looks so yummy!

    Oh and i love the tips you always share with us

  11. I think I’d love the furikake – if it weren’t for the bonito.
    Your son has one gorgeous lunch there. I love the balance of colors and flavors – beautiful and delicious.

  12. You’re like super mom. Your son is very lucky to gets eat not only delicious bento but great looking bento too. He definitely feels your love when he opens the lunch box.

  13. Nami, I really appreciate all the different tips and techniques that you provide for preparing lunches/bento boxes for children – it is true that to keep a bag of frozen mixed veggies can be extremly helpful when prepararing a colorful and healthy lunch or dinner, I always stock a few veggie bags in my freezer too. Besides, I have yet to master the technique of Tamagoyaki – I am learning slowly but surely and I love it!
    Have a good Tuesday!

  14. Hi Nami, thanks for explaining some Japanese terms to us too. Sometimes I go to some Japanese grocery stores, and they don’t have the English names on the product…. I get headache trying to figure out what it is.

  15. Hi Nami! I’m collecting bento recipes now…

    As my eldest girl needs to stay in school until afternoon almost everyday, I have been waking up early morning to cook and pack bento for her lunch.

    This adds to the list… Thanks.

  16. I am glad that you are sharing all of your Bento making process and tips. I’m sure there are many blogs out there that share bento but I would always refer to your site whenever I am in the mood of making it. Thank you and I hope you are having a wonderful week, Nami!

  17. Another masterpiece for your children Nami! I wish I can do the same-)) Thank you for posting this, maybe one day I will brave enough and cook something special in the morning for kids lunches.

  18. I really like your detailed explanation of the ingredients. It makes me want to go to the Japanese grocery stores more often and SHOP!

    To take just 20 mins to make this bento, you ARE a super mom!

  19. Nami, thanks for all the tips you mentioned in this post. I also like to keep a bag of frozen veges just for the rainy day. But I make sure to use up the frozen goods as soon as I can. The lunch box reminded me of my college days when I used to pack my own lunch to eat on campus (because the campus food absolutely sucked). Only I wish my lunch box was earlier as good and pretty as yours. Thanks for sharing the great tips.

  20. Your son is so lucky to receive a lunchbox like this each day! So delicious and healthy and prepared with so much love.

    I really do have to try a little harder for my children, they get sandwiches and homemade cakes but they don’t look nearly as good as your bento box :)

  21. Love it. Such great bento tips. I’ve heard about that rice flavoring before, and I need to pick some up. Such a great way to add a little extra kick to one of my favorite foods. Thank you for sharing…and as always, such beautiful pictures, my friend!

  22. O.K. – I just became quite jealous of your son! :) I want one of these! What a lovely bento and SO full of deliciousness. I guess I missed the Gyudon recipe. What a wonderful recipe. That one is going on my to be made soon (like next week!) list. Now that I’m getting such wonderful fresh eggs, I also need to FINALLY make the Japanese rolled omelet. I’ve been lusting after it for quite a while now. :)

  23. I can’t get enough of furikake each time we have Japanese rice. It’s great that you pointed out what to look out for when buying those addictive seasonings. It is so easy to slip off when browsing through the ingredients in Japanese. 無添加 – I’ll remember that!

    By the way, I spotted Doremon again. Too cute!:)

  24. You are amazing with the bentos. I cannot imagine myself making those in the morning, I know, it only takes 15 minutes, but I alway running to have everything done, to have my kids ready for school, and of course, I’m ready for the office.

  25. We always turn to gyudon for emergency week night meals! And you’ve taken it to another level with this bento box! It’s so cute! However, I do not know if I have energy to wake up extra early every day to prepare this for my kids. I know some bento box moms who wake up at 4 am to make them fresh! I bow to them! :)

  26. Jake

    I discovered your blog and love it. I lived in Japan for many years. Coming back I’ve missed a lot of the food. I knew how to make somethings, but I’m learning so much more from you. Everything is so helpful. I love the pics, and the explanations. Thank you very much.

    • Hi Jake! Thank you for writing! I’m really happy to hear you enjoyed eating Japanese food while you are in Japan. Hope my recipes encourage you to cook more Japanese food at home and they are close to the Japanese food you enjoyed in Japan. :) Thank you for following my blog!