Rice & Bean Lettuce Cups

Serves Prep Time Cook Time  Total Time
1 5 0 5


As our Facebook and Instagram feeds fill with back to school photos, it’s hard to believe summer is coming to a close. That also means it’s time to pack school lunches again. One thing I’ve always loved about this daily ritual is it provides a way to connect with my daughters when I’m not actually with them.

At ages 8 and 13, they take pride in packing their own lunches, but thankfully they still let me lend a hand the rest of the time. Bento boxes are all the rage, but don’t let rice shaped into cute little bears intimidate you from using them. A homemade lunch can be creative in what you pack without needing to sign up for master craft classes.

I love bento boxes because they rescue plastic and paper from the landfills. They also offer an actual dining experience—think of them as portable, self-contained plates. My daughters love the feeling of surprise as they open them to see what mom tucked into each compartment. So, it was a natural for us to partner with ECOlunchboxes on some back to school recipes. Sophia already uses them for her kids. They graciously sent me a few to test drive. We used them for a summer picnic, proving that these 3-in-1 nesting lunchboxes are useful year-round.

I decided to repurpose some leftovers for one lunch. Heating up last night’s dinner for the next day’s lunch isn’t a new idea. Turning it into something totally different, though, gives new life to leftovers. The resulting main course was Rice & Bean Lettuce Cups. They’re a spin on vegetarian tacos, sans the tortillas. Hope your kiddos love them as much as mine.

Here’s the recipe. 



Feel free to leave out the cheese if you want to keep this vegan.
¼ cup Leftover cooked rice
¼ cup Leftover cooked beans (pinto or black)
2 Small red leaf, green leaf, or romaine lettuce leaves (from the inner core)
(Optional) Grated cheddar cheese
2 Tsp
DRESS IT UP DRESSING Blackberry Vinaigrette


Add the rice, beans, and Blackberry Vinaigrette to a small bowl. Stir to combine.

Arrange the lettuce leaves in the bottom of the bento box compartment. Using a spoon, divide the filling between the lettuce leaves. Sprinkle the cheese on top, if using.

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