Pack a complete Mexican-themed lunch in minutes. This Mexican bento box features a combination of ingredients inspired by the fresh and fiery flavors south of the border. This no-cook assortment of vegan and vegetarian eats is a great way to spice up lunchtime!
I’m back with another bento box, and this time we’re packing in everything we love about the distinctly fresh and feisty flavors found in Mexican dishes. The best part? You do not need to cook a single thing!
To make a Mexican bento box, you’ll make citrus and cumin-spiced dressing to serve with a refreshing black bean and veggie-loaded Mexican Salad. The blend of vibrant flavors and textures is next-level delicious, but we’re not done yet.
A Mexican-inspired bento box wouldn’t be complete without the guac. Easy-to-follow instructions will show you how to make incredibly simple guacamole in seconds. Don’t forget the tortilla chips! This meal prep box is sure to be your new favorite lunch box meal for weekdays.
Ingredients You’ll Need
A few things to note about what you’ll need:
For the Dressing:
- Lime juice: Tart, citrusy lime juice, and extra virgin olive oil make a tasty and simple vinaigrette. For bolder lime flavor, add some of the zest along with the juice.
- Extra virgin olive oil: I like the robust-flavor EVOO brings to quick dressings. For a milder flavor, avocado oil is a good option.
- Cumin: Cumin adds subtle warm and peppery flavor. You can also use cayenne, chipotle chili powder, paprika, or a tiny bit of each.
- Salt: You’ll need a pinch to elevate the flavor.
For the Mexican Salad:
- Black beans: Drained and rinsed, of course. Feel free to use any type of canned bean you enjoy. Chickpeas are great here too (although less Mexican!).
- Corn: If sweet corn is in-season, you should use fresh. Otherwise, frozen sweet corn is just as yummy. Thaw it under cool running water and drain it before adding it to the salad.
- Bell pepper: I love red bell pepper, but feel free to use a combination of diced red, yellow, and orange bell pepper.
- Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are the perfect small and stackable size for tossed salads.
- Red onion: If the flavor of red onion isn’t your thing, you can use sliced green onions or chopped chives for a milder flavor.
- Romaine lettuce: Crisp, thick romaine lettuce leaves won’t turn soggy in storage like more delicate lettuce varieties.
- Cilantro: A non-negotiable herb used in Mexican cuisine.
For the Guacamole:
- Avocado: Be sure to use an avocado that you can gently press without smashing it – not too ripe and not too underripe.
- Lime Juice: The citric acid keeps the avocado from browning as quickly.
- Red Onion: Adds a pleasant crunch and savory taste.
- Jalapeno: This is where the heat comes in. To make it spicier, mix in a bit of the seed and spine.
- Cilantro: You’ll need cilantro here as well.
- Sweet corn: An extra side of steamed, boiled, or roasted corn for added fiber and flavor.
- Tortilla chips: The perfect vessel to scoop the salad and the guac. Use your favorite crunchy corn tortilla, baked tortilla, or grain-free tortillas.
How To Make the Mexican Salad
- Prepare the salad dressing: Add fresh lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, cumin, and salt to a small glass jar. Whisk or close the jar and shake to combine. Set aside.
- Prepare the Mexican salad: Mix all of the salad ingredients in a small bowl. If you’ll be enjoying your bento box within a few hours, go ahead and toss the salad and dressing together. Otherwise, store the salad and dressing separately and add the dressing before it’s time to eat.
How to Prepare a Quick and Easy Guacamole
- Mash the avocado: Add half of an avocado to a small bowl and mash with a fork.
- Mix in the remaining ingredients: Then, add the lime juice, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeno (all finely chopped) – and season with salt.
How to Assemble This Mexican Bento Box
- Assemble bento box: Portion each element of your bento box into its compartment, and enjoy at room temperature within a few hours (or store it in the fridge for three days).
How to Store
Fridge: The best part about bento-style meals is they’re packed with a medley of foods meant to be enjoyed at room temperature. This Mexican bento box is best enjoyed within a few hours while the guacamole is green and fresh.
If you’re meal prepping this bento box, I recommend holding off on the guacamole until you’re ready to serve.
Tips and Substitutions
Feel free to mix and match the different pieces of your bento box. This Mexican quinoa is a fantastic alternative to Mexican salad.
You can also include:
- Fresh Salsa
- Pico de Gallo
- Side of Black Beans
- Cooked Rice
- Crumbled Queso Dresco or Cotija Cheese (or a dairy-free alternative)
- Lime Wedges
- Sour Cream (or a non-dairy option)
- Grilled chicken for extra protein (if you are not vegan!)
My Favorite Bento Box Containers
- Stainless Steel Bento Box: I love stainless steel bento boxes. They are sturdy and reusable. This one has a removable silicone seal and leak-proof lock clips, so your food will stay cool and fresh. Needless to say, these are very easy to clean. But keep in mind that you cannot put a stainless steel lunch box in the microwave.
- Leak-proof Bento Box: If you prefer something lighter and less industrial, and non-toxic, check out these food-grade lunch boxes or a BPA-free plastic option with a cute bamboo lid. These are a great investment!
- Classic Glass Containers: Another safe and classic great option that won’t release any chemicals in your food!
Why I Love This Recipe
- Quick and easy: no cooking required!
- Naturally gluten-free and vegan!
- A perfect way to spice up lunchtime.
- Rich in fiber and protein from a blend of beans and fresh vegetables.
More Lunch Ideas You’ll Love
- One-Pan Mexican Quinoa
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Smoked Tofu Ciabatta Sandwich
- Mediterranean Lunch Box
- Vegetarian Bento Box
- Curry Bento Box
- Vegan Bento Box
- Japanese Inspired Bento Box
- Chicken Teriyaki Bento Box
If you try this Mexican Bento Box recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Mexican Bento Box
- ½ cup canned black beans - drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup fresh sweet corn - if not in season, substitute with frozen sweet corn
- ½ medium red bell pepper - diced
- 5 cherry tomatoes - diced
- 1 tablespoon red onion - chopped
- 1 cup romaine lettuce - finely sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon cilantro - chopped
- ½ avocado
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon red onion - chopped
- 1 slice jalapeno - chopped
- ½ tablespoon cilantro - chopped
- ½ fresh sweet corn - boiled or roasted
- tortilla chips
- Prepare the salad dressing: mix all the dressing ingredients in a small glass jar, and set aside.
- Prepare the Mexican salad: In a small bowl, mix all the salad ingredients. If eating the bento box after a few hours, add the dressing. If you plan to eat the bento box after a few days, keep the dressing separate and add it just before eating.
- Prepare the guacamole: In a small bowl, mash half avocado, add the lime juice, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, and chopped jalapeno, and season with salt.
- Assemble all ingredients into your bento box.
- Enjoy your bento box at room temperature.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!