Tofu, rice and vegetables are classic bento ingredients. Make extra rice for dinner and roll leftovers into balls for lunch. To keep green veggies vibrant and crisp, cook them briefly and immediately dunk them into a bowl of ice water. You can also use cubed store-bought baked tofu in place of the roasted tofu.

Stacy Fraser
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2009


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare tofu: Pat tofu dry and cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch cubes. Combine soy sauce, lime juice and oil in a medium shallow dish or large sealable plastic bag. Add the tofu; gently toss to combine. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 4 hours, gently stirring once or twice.

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  • Remove the tofu from the marinade with a slotted spoon (discard marinade). Spread out on a large baking sheet, making sure the pieces are not touching. Roast, gently turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine peanut sauce and coconut milk to make dipping sauce and fill a small container with it.

  • To prepare rice balls: Combine rice, vinegar and salt in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until the rice is a little sticky. With slightly wet hands, press and squeeze the rice into 4 balls. Sprinkle each ball with sesame seeds, if using.

  • Pack 1/2 cup of the tofu, the rice balls and snap peas in a medium container. (Cover and refrigerate the remaining 1 1/2 cups roasted tofu for up to 3 days.) Nestle the container of dipping sauce in the same container.

  • Pack strawberries and orange wedges in another medium container.


Make Ahead Tip: Marinate the tofu (Step 1) for up to 4 hours. Cover and refrigerate roasted tofu (Steps 2-3) for up to 3 days. Cover and refrigerate the rice balls (Step 5) for up to 2 days.

Tip: Refrigerate leftover coconut milk for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months. It will appear separated when thawed; simply mix until smooth.

Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition Facts

472 calories; protein 25.1g; carbohydrates 60.2g; dietary fiber 10.3g; sugars 16g; fat 15.8g; saturated fat 3.7g; vitamin a iu 1233.9IU; vitamin c 99.5mg; folate 80.6mcg; calcium 531.7mg; iron 5.9mg; magnesium 149.1mg; potassium 645.4mg; sodium 387.6mg; thiamin 0.3mg.

Reviews (2)

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4 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 3
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
OMG! This was SO good! I used Braggs Amino Acid instead of soy and it came out great not salty at all! My kids LOVE the rice balls. The really cool thing is you can make extra and freeze it. It has more of a meat texture that way makes it good for sandwiches. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Sounds Good I think I will try this with a vegetable to replace the edamame. With this much soy I may as well give them an Estroven. haha!! Pros: Lots of Soy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
its good but it wayyyyy tooo salty/sour. the oil doesnt quite cut the pungent flavors of the soy sauce and lime juice in the tofu. also i recommend using light firm tofu (less cals) and i added a little light coconut milk to the rice with a tiny bit of stevia so they are lightly sweet/coconutty. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Fantastic! Make sure to use reduced-sodium soy though; I didn't have any on hand and the tofu was 'way too salty. But otherwise the blend of flavors is delicious! Make up all of your rice into the balls as soon as it's done; I'd made just enough for one lunch then put the rest of the rice in a container in the fridge -- next day it wouldn't stick together. Great tasty lunch! Read More