Monday, July 23, 2012

Middle Eastern Inspired Bento with Lamb Meatballs

Long time no blog! I'm back with a great bento from the archives.

The main piece of this bento contains several (3, if I remember correctly) chopped up lamb meatballs, recipe courtesy of Sunset magazine. They made a great dinner, and an equally great lunch. I had to chop them up so they would fit in the box.

The rest of the box contains a checkered apple slice, green bell pepper, some sort of mixed whole grain rice blend, random basil leaves as a space filler, and homemade hummus.

Never heard of hummus? It's a Middle Eastern dip of sorts made from chickpeas/garbanzo beans and olive oil. My version of hummus is very easy, and can be made in your food processor.

Quick and Easy Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (fresh is preferred, but I've used garlic salt or garlic powder in a pinch)
1 tsp or so lemon juice
Sumac (Bitter dark red spice. It may be found in the ethnic isle of some larger supermarkets. I buy mine from the local Persian market.)
Cumin (Another spice. This one is a lot easier to find. Trader Joe's has this for a decent price)
Salt, to taste

This is very much a recipe that needs to be tasted quite a lot.
Put drained garbanzo beans in food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Combine, adding olive oil and tasting every so often until you get a consistency that is relatively smooth, no chunks of garbanzo beans. You can add more olive oil as you wish, but I usually make my hummus pretty thick, so it can hold up well in the bento.
Add the garlic, lemon juice, sumac, and cumin, and combine them. You could leave out any of these, the most important ingredients are the garbanzo beans and olive oil. Taste, and add more of these as needed.
Add a sprinkle of salt or two as needed.
To serve the hummus (not in a bento), scoop out some hummus and place in the desired container. Use a spoon to make a small well in the hummus. Drizzle olive oil on top. Add a pinch or two of the sumac, cumin, or salt if desired.

To pack the hummus in a bento, I use some of that Press N Seal stuff to cover the top, or at the very least, some wax paper on top. If you have any of that clear plastic baran, that would work just as well as the wax paper.


  1. You're back! Glad to see you again. Hummus is one of my favorite things!

  2. I'm so glad to be back! Hopefully in the next week I should have some more bentos and more, so I won't have to work entirely off the archives.