Packed with delicious and authentic Japanese treats like salmon saikyo yaki and Japanese omelets, this autumn seasonal bento box is the perfect companion for a picnic out in the sunny yet crisp weather.

Contributed by Washocook

Fall is here, so let’s pack a bento box full of autumn colors and enjoy beautiful outdoors before it gets cold! Bento boxes have been popular in Japan for hundreds of years, but now they are spreading worldwide. A portable “lunch box,” the bento box is also the perfect way to pack a picnic! In this recipe, we teach you how to do an autumn bento box stuffed with items like chicken onigiri, asparagus rolled in beef, and miso-glazed salmon along with vegetables like tomatoes. Take this out to your favorite park or natural area and enjoy it!

What is Onigiri?

Onigiri is usually translated as “rice balls” in most Japanese restaurants in the west. But the truth is that these savory bite-sized treats can come in many different shapes and flavors. Because Japanese people utilize rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, onigiri is a much more important part of the daily diet than many people outside of the country realize. In this autumn bento box, we show you how to make Chicken Soboro (ground chicken) Onigiri. We also have recipes for everything from Scallion Chashu Pork Onigiri to Teriyaki Meat Onigiri, both of which go well in a bento box!

What is Saikyo-Yaki?

Salmon Saikyo Yaki is one of the most popular yet simple ways to prepare salmon in Japan. It uses a simple marinade of white miso, mirin, and sake. Marinating the salmon in this sauce gives it tons of umami flavor that comes out when you finally cook the fish. Full three-day marination is the best for a real Saikyo-Yaki, but you can also do it overnight if you are on a tight schedule!

What is the Japanese Omelet?

Also known as Tamagoyaki, this Japanese-style omelet is a rolled egg omelet. Some people make it sweet with sugar, while some make it savory with dashi broth, which gives it good umami flavor. Some mix chopped vegetables into the omelet, and some roll the egg with nori seaweed (this is what we do for this autumn bento recipe). In truth, the variation is endless. Tamagoyaki is one of the most typical items for Japanese breakfast and bento boxes. It might be hard to make a perfect roll at first, but practice makes it perfect!

Cooking Tips

  • When making salmon saikyo yaki, don’t use oil but cook the salmon on a parchment paper. Using oil will make the salmon too greasy.
  • Marinating vegetables with dashi stock is an easy way to add Japanese flair to any vegetables. Remember this recipe and apply it with other vegetables!

Meet Washocook

Washocook Logo

In 2014, Noriko Tominaga launched Washocook that introduces home-style Japanese cooking for foreigners. At the same time, UNESCO recognized Japanese cuisine as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. As the curiosity for Japanese cuisine increased, Washocook started offering cooking classes to visitors from all over the world. The concept of Washocook’s recipe is simple: a recipe that anyone can cook within 20 minutes per dish. When in Japan, check out classes from Washocook!

Autumn Bento Box


Chicken Soboro Onigiri

  • ¼ lb Ground Chicken
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ½ Tbsp Sake
  • 2 cup White Rice, cooked
  • 4 small piece Nori Seaweed

Rolled Beef and Asparagus

  • ½ lb Beef Sirloin, Ribeye, or Strip Loin, thinly sliced
  • 4 Asparagus
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cooking Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


Salmon Saikyo-Yaki (Miso glazed Salmon)

  • 2 portion Salmon Fillet
  • 2 Tbsp White Miso (Saikyo Miso)
  • ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • ½ Tbsp Sake
  • 1 tsp Mirin
  • A pinch of Salt

Marinated Tomatoes Japanese Style

  • 12 Cherry Tomatoes


  • ½ cup Dashi Stock
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ Tbsp Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Ginger, grated

Rolled Omelet with Nori Seaweed

  • 2 Egg
  • ¼ cup Dashi Stock
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Mirin
  • Oil, for cooking
  • 2 Nori Seaweed


Chicken Soboro Onigiri

  1. Place sugar, soy sauce, and sake into a frying pan and bring to boil over low heat.
  2. Once boiled, add ground chicken and cook until done. Stir frequently. Remove soboro from heat and cool down.
  3. Mix soboro and rice in a bowl.
  4. Make onigiri with your hands and wrap the bottom part with nori seaweed.

  5. Place onigiri in the bento box.

Rolled Beef and Asparagus

  1. Trim the bottom of the asparagus. Peel the hard skin with a peeler. Cut Asparagus into about 2-inch length.

  2. Boil water and salt in a pan or a pot and cook asparagus for two minutes. Drain.

  3. Spread beef on a cutting board. Place two asparagus on the beef and carefully make a roll. Tuck the end of the beef inside so the roll stays. Repeat. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Place cooking oil in the frying pan and preheat over medium heat.

  5. Place the rolls, wrapped end down. Cook until beef is browned, gently rolling to cook all sides.

  6. Mix seasoning in a small bowl and pour it into the pan. Simmer for a minute or two.

  7. Remove from heat and cut into half (or smaller than the depth of the bento box). Place several rolls alongside of the side of the bento box. Separate from other items using lettuce leaves.

Salmon Saikyo-Yaki (Miso glazed Salmon)

  1. Remove water from salmon fillet using paper towels. Cut salmon into half.

  2. Make a marinade by mixing white miso, sugar, sake, and mirin in a small bowl. Marinate salmon fillets for at least 30 minutes in a container, in the fridge.

  3. Place parchment paper on a frying pan and grill salmon fillet for 7 minutes over low-medium heat with a lid on.

  4. Flip the salmon and grill for additional 3 minutes with a lid on.

  5. Place one or two pieces of salmon inside of the bento box, right next to the rolled beef and asparagus, but on top of the lettuce leaves.

Marinated Tomatoes Japanese Style

  1. Remove the stems from the tomatoes and cut into half.

  2. In a small pot or pan, mix all of the ingredients for the seasoning.

  3. Bring it to boil over medium heat. Turn off the heat once boiled and cool it down.

  4. Place the seasoning sauce into a bowl and marinate tomatoes for at least 30 minutes.

  5. Place several tomatoes in the bento box. Use aluminum foil to separate from other items.

Rolled Omelet with Nori Seaweed

  1. Beat eggs in a small bowl using chopsticks. Add dashi stock, sugar, salt, and mirin and mix well.

  2. Heat frying pan over low heat and add cooking oil to the pan.

  3. Once the pan is hot, pour 1/3 portion of the egg mixture into the pan and spread evenly. When the egg mixture starts bubbling, break bubbles with chopsticks.

  4. Once the egg starts to set, place seaweed on top and roll it from the back to the front. Place the rolled egg on the upper side of the pan.

  5. Pour additional oil and pour another 1/3 portion of the egg mixture into the pan. Repeat the process but without placing the seaweed while rolling.

  6. Finally, pour the last 1/3 of the egg mixture into the pan. Repeat the process with seaweed.

  7. Take the egg roll out of the pan and let it cool. Cut the roll into bitable sizes.

  8. Place a few egg rolls into the bento box right next to the tomatoes.