Bento Box Black Bean Bowls

Among the many life lessons skiing taught me, two of the most important are the necessity of good nutrition for peak performance, and efficiency in movement (and time).  Law school has only reaffirmed these lessons.  I like to spend 2-3 hours on Sunday preparing food for the week, so that when the hanger strikes there are lots of good options close at hand.  I always pack my lunch the night before, and have loved my bento box for this purpose.

Bento boxes originate from Japan, and are essentially single serve boxes used for take out or home cooked meals on-the-go.  If you want a real time suck, google Bento Box and you will find fan groups, images, pintrest pages, and hilarious reviews.  People get REALLY into their bento boxes, and I think this is in part because when food is “pretty” you like eating it more.  While nutrition and taste are the most important, I tend to agree that I like opening up my lunchbox to an aesthetically pleasing dish.

With the addition of Thomas as my new roommate, we have been putting or noggins together to come up with meals we both like, and that we can make en masse.  As Tom Brady embarrassed the Chargers on Sunday, we had the instapot going full-force, first for cooking garbanzo beans to use in hummus, and then spiced black beans for lunch bowls all week.

These black beans were inspired by What’s Gaby Cooking, with nightshades removed and slight cooking time alterations.  Combined with the sweet potatoes from my take on Smitten Kitchen’s sweet potato tacos and a quick saute of cauliflower, kale, and some forgotten spinach, this will be the lunch of the week.  On top of being delicious and nutritious (a good combination of fiber, protein, carbs, and fat), this meal is perfect for anyone trying to cook on a budget.  Buying the black beans in the bulk aisle at Whole Foods was $1.29.  Three organic sweet potatoes were $4.00, and the cauliflower, kale, and onions were $6.00.  This adds up to $11.29 total, and should be enough to feed both Thomas and I for four days of lunches…which breaks down to $1.41 per lunch (plus a little bit for the olive oil, garlic, and spices we had on hand).

There is often a misconception that eating well and healthy has to break the budget.  I’m here to tell you that yes, sometimes “wellness” is crazy expensive.  But more often than not, with a little creativity and use of spices and methods to transform less expensive ingredients, health is completely accessible.  So give it a shot!  And let me know some of your favorite, healthy budget “wellness” meals.  I know they’re out there!

fullsizeoutput_d7eBlack Beans

Adapted from What’s Gaby Cooking

The Stuff

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 small yellow onions (or one medium), diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound dried black beans (no need to soak!)

7 cups water

The How

  1. Set your instant pot to “saute.”  Add oil, then onions and garlic.  Saute for 5 minutes, until onions are soft but not brown.
  2. Turn off heat, and stir in spices.
  3. Next add your black beans and 7 cups of water.  Make sure your pressure valve is turned to “seal,” and set to cook on high pressure for 35 minutes (allow 20 minutes for pot to reach pressure).  Let naturally release for 20 minutes, then manually release remaining steam.
  4. Drain excess liquid, and you have your protein for the week!  This quantity of beans should provide about 8 servings

Other things I ate recently

Not going to win any beauty contests, but this middle eastern lentil and white rice dish made AMAZING leftovers, especially with some roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli and a dollop of salted yogurt
I really go in waves with my cravings for yogurt.  After about six months without any yogurt, in the store the other day the craving struck.  One thing I love about yogurt is it’s versatility — from savory to sweet!
I’ve also recently been obsessed with rice cakes topped with sunflower butter and granola.  
And with school beginning again my caffeine consumption is UP. I have loved oat milk for quite some time, and it seems as if the world is finally catching on.  Oat milk latte to ease me into constitutional law!
…but most importantly I discovered blood orange olive oil cake.  There were no during pictures taken because it was so delicious there was not time to take my phone out and take a picture of it plated nicely with whipped cream.  

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