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Easy Japanese Recipes

Gyudon Bento 牛丼弁当

Gyudon Bento | JustOneCookbook.com

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 | JustOneCookbook.com

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 Cookbook Lunch Next Day:

  • Gyudon Bento
  • Small box of fruits
  • Water bottle

Gyudon Bento Recipe | JustOneCookbook.com

Gyudon Bento Recipe
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.

Enjoy making bento!

Posted in: Bento

Leave a Comment

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  • Julia Yuko Lee February 25, 2013, 10:14 am

    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!

    • Nami February 25, 2013, 10:22 am

      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!

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking February 25, 2013, 11:38 am

    Always helpful and informative posts, I love that about your blog. This is great idea and perfect balance not just in flavor but in color too. Love it!!!

  • Choc Chip Uru February 25, 2013, 11:46 am

    Thank you for another delicious bento post I love them :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Terris | Free Eats February 25, 2013, 11:48 am

    You always make the most beautiful and delicious looking bento! I think it is such a great idea to use the colorful silicone baking cups too. It looks like it helps keep things separate and secure.

  • albertocook February 25, 2013, 11:49 am

    I love this!!!!

  • Rhonda February 25, 2013, 12:01 pm

    I know I have said it before but your son is so lucky! I always keep frozen veggies around just in case I need a quick side dish.

  • Hotly Spiced February 25, 2013, 12:08 pm

    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

  • Rosa February 25, 2013, 12:10 pm

    A pretty and scrumptious looking bento!



  • Dara February 25, 2013, 12:16 pm

    I love your bentos! I am so jealous of your son’s lunches. I love the organization and the color. You rule.

  • A_Boleyn February 25, 2013, 12:44 pm

    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.

  • Belinda @zomppa February 25, 2013, 1:12 pm

    He is SOOOOO lucky – so wish I could have this everyday for lunch.

  • Mary Chaet February 25, 2013, 1:51 pm

    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.

    • Nami February 28, 2013, 9:04 pm

      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!

  • Sissi February 25, 2013, 2:01 pm

    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.

  • Lynna February 25, 2013, 2:24 pm

    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.

  • Elizabeth @Mango_Queen February 25, 2013, 2:50 pm

    What a terrific bento idea. Wish my sons were still little and I could do this for them. But then again, I could make this for myself. Thanks for the inspiration. Your photos are great, Nami!

  • john@kitchenriffs February 25, 2013, 3:44 pm

    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.

  • marsha smith February 25, 2013, 4:21 pm

    I love all your reciepts. they are delicious.

    • Nami February 28, 2013, 9:02 pm

      Thank you very much Marsha! So happy to hear from you. :)

  • Balvinder February 25, 2013, 5:36 pm

    I love how healthy and balanced your son’s lunch is!

  • Bam's Kitchen February 25, 2013, 5:38 pm

    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

  • Mel February 25, 2013, 6:05 pm

    The bento set is so healthy and nutritious. You are a number ONE mummy!

  • Jayne February 25, 2013, 6:27 pm

    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. :-)

  • Mich Piece of Cake February 25, 2013, 6:41 pm

    Would love to make a bento for my kids sometime. Thanks for the tips, Nami.

  • Kitchen Belleicious February 25, 2013, 7:17 pm

    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

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 25, 2013, 9:27 pm

    What a colorful and healthy bento, I’d love this lunch!

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. February 25, 2013, 10:11 pm

    Gosh, I wish I had lunches like this when I was little! This is so pretty and wholesome!

  • Joyti February 25, 2013, 11:30 pm

    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.

  • nipponnin February 25, 2013, 11:56 pm

    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.

  • Fern @ To Food with Love February 26, 2013, 1:00 am

    Great post, Nami. You make it look so easy!

  • Katerina February 26, 2013, 1:04 am

    I am sure your son loved his bento! I wish i had one such thing in my work!

  • TheKitchenLioness February 26, 2013, 1:13 am

    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!

  • Sandra February 26, 2013, 4:57 am

    This was a fun tutorial Nami. Your son must be the envy of all the kids in his class.

  • Baby Sumo February 26, 2013, 5:17 am

    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.

  • Denise Browning@From Brazil To You February 26, 2013, 5:33 am

    So this is the bento box of joy! Besides lovely, it fits everything that is yummy. The gyudon is my favorite food item. xx

  • Chef and Sommelier February 26, 2013, 7:10 am

    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.

  • wok with ay February 26, 2013, 8:39 am

    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!

  • Cucina49 February 26, 2013, 9:41 am

    That is one gorgeous lunch–I never thought I’d envy someone school-aged what they were eating, but this is an exception!

  • Yelena February 26, 2013, 11:00 am

    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.

  • Nik@ABrownTable February 26, 2013, 11:24 am

    That is one pretty, colorful and delicious looking Bento!

  • claire @ the realistic nutritionist February 26, 2013, 12:34 pm

    OH i love me some bento boxes!

  • Pepy | Indonesia Eats February 26, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Were the Doraemon packages also furikake? Bento is becoming so popular in Indonesia. Some catering business offer to make bento boxes :)

  • tigerfish February 26, 2013, 2:27 pm

    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!

  • Minnie@thelady8home February 26, 2013, 3:26 pm

    You make a beautiful bento box Nami!! Love the flavors!!!

  • Evelyne@cheapethniceatz February 26, 2013, 6:34 pm

    Another fabulous bento box for lunch. Wow those little touches make such a big difference. I must get myself some Furikake asap!

  • yummychunklet February 26, 2013, 6:52 pm

    I’d be happy with just the gyudon!

  • Yi @ Yi Resevation February 26, 2013, 8:23 pm

    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.

  • GourmetGetaways February 26, 2013, 9:31 pm

    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 :)

  • Lail | With A Spin February 26, 2013, 10:44 pm

    Very informative and helpful tips.

  • Raymund February 27, 2013, 12:06 am

    Now I really want to make my lunch box look like this bento series of yours

  • Giulietta | Alterkitchen February 27, 2013, 12:34 am

    I love your bento, Nami!
    They’re so beautiful and, I’m sure, soooooo good! :)

  • Monet February 27, 2013, 7:19 am

    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!

  • mjskit February 27, 2013, 7:45 am

    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. :)

  • Ashley Bee (Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine) February 27, 2013, 9:04 am

    Your son must have the most enviable lunch box in school!

  • Reese@SeasonwithSpice February 27, 2013, 1:20 pm

    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!:)

  • Mi Vida en un Dulce February 27, 2013, 6:37 pm

    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.

  • Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings February 27, 2013, 8:24 pm

    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! :)

  • Jo February 28, 2013, 8:12 am

    My little cousin loves furikake!

  • Asmita February 28, 2013, 12:04 pm

    Delicious! looks so colorful and yum!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 28, 2013, 1:56 pm

    I love this bento tips! So useful! After all, we eat with our eyes first :)

  • Natasha @ The Cake Merchant February 28, 2013, 2:28 pm

    I just came across your blog, and I’m really enjoying going through the recipes. Japanese food is my favorite cuisine. These are great tips, and I love tamagoyaki. Can’t wait to try some recipes!

  • Sonia aka Nasi Lemak Lover February 28, 2013, 8:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing all useful bento tips!!

  • Jasmine (Smoky Wok) March 3, 2013, 5:45 am

    Looks great Nami! I am also just starting to get interested in making bentos hehe…thanks for the ideas!

  • Jake March 7, 2013, 8:01 pm

    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.

    • Nami March 8, 2013, 1:38 pm

      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!