Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vegan Kyaraben Color Chart

Kyaraben/Charaben or “character bento” in Japan are often dependent on colored fish paste to imitate certain hues of popular cartoon/anime characters. During my recent Color Study post I concentrated on a color-themed bento each day.

Certain colors I found hard to
duplicate in a vegan bento without
using food coloring. While it is fun
once in a while to utilize the vibrant
effects of artificial coloring, I prefer
to stick with natural coloring where
I can. Often natural foods can be
used to color batters or rice with a
little extra effort.

So I have put together a list of vegan

foods by color to help when planning to recreate a particular character or scene. Please help add to this list if you have any other vegan food items you like to use to add color to your meals. Then I will post a chart in a pdf file form for easy printing. I hope it will inspire more vegan character bentos!

WHITE – barley, belgian endive, bread, bok choy stems, burdock root (peeled), cannellini beans, cashews, cauliflower, celeriac, coconut, cream cheeze, daikon radish, dumplings/potstickers, eggplant, fennel, frosting, garlic, iceberg lettuce, jicama, leeks, litchi, lotus root, mushrooms, onion, parsnip, popcorn, potato, pudding, rice, rice cakes, sour cream, soy cheese, soy wrappers (soy “paper”), sugar, sunchokes (jerusalem artichokes), taro, tofu, turnip, violets, water chestnuts, white chocolate, yogurt

PINK – applesauce, beets, cherries, cranberries/Craisins, grapefruit, guava, kidney beans, loganberries, Luna Sunrise strawberry bars, pink lady apples, potato, radish, raspberries, red corn tortilla chips, red wrap bread, rhubarb, rose petals, soy deli slices, soy hot dogs, strawberries, watermelon, yogurt

RED – beet chips, beets, bell pepper, blood orange, cherries, grapes, ketchup, kidney beans, loganberries, pear, pomegranate, raspberries/jam, red currants, red swiss chard/stems, salsa, strawberries/jam, tomato sauce, tomatoes/sun-dried tomato

ORANGE – apricots, bell pepper, bitter orange asian eggplant, cantaloupe/musk melon, carrot, kumquats, mango, orange beets, oranges, orange watermelon, papaya, peach/nectarine, persimmon, pickled burdock root, pumpkin/winter squash, rainbow chard stems, red lentils, soy cheese, sweet potatoes/yams, tomatoes, tomato wrap bread, turmeric

YELLOW – apples, banana, bell pepper, cheese sauce, chrysanthemum petals, corn/baby corn, exotic melons, kampyo, kiwano, kiwifruit, lemon, mango, mustard, nutritional yeast, onion, pear, pineapple, polenta, rainbow chard stems, soy wrappers, starfruit (carambola), summer squash, Tings, tofu quiche, tomatoes, turmeric, yellow watermelon, yellow wax beans, Yukon gold potatoes

GREEN – artichokes, asparagus, avocado, bell pepper, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, capers, celery, chard, chayote, collards, cucumber, edamame, fiddleheads, gooseberries, Granny Smith apples, grapes, green beans, green gage/kelsey plums, guacamole, herbs, honeydew melon, kale, kholrabi, kiwifruit, lettuce, lime, okra, olives, pea pods, pear, peas, pickles, pistachios, salsa verde, scallions, seaweed, spinach, spinach wrap bread, split peas, soy wrapper, sprouts, tat soi, tomatillos, Veggie Booty, watercress, winter squash (ie. acorn, kabocha), zucchini

AQUA - ??? beats me! The only thing that comes close in nature that I have seen are some edible flower petals. Even artificially aquamarine coloring isn’t common. But some I’ve noticed are fruit roll-ups, Gushers tropical fruit snacks, & candy sprinkles. Using just a small amount of food coloring you can create artificially colored aqua cream cheese, frosting, rice, yogurt/pudding. Edible ink markers are also available.

BLUE – blueberries, blue corn (taco shells, tortilla chips, tortillas), concord grapes, edible flower petals, hubbard squash, Luna Sunrise blueberry bars, plums

PURPLE – bell pepper, blackberries, blueberries, blueberry yogurt, blue corn (taco shells, tortilla chips, tortillas), cabbage, eggplant, grapes/jelly, kholrabi, plums, potato, purple broccoli/cauliflower, purple string beans (raw), radicchio, red leaf lettuce, red onion, red Russian kale, rice (some varieties of black rice cook up purple), taro (some varieties turn purple when cooked), okinawan sweet potato (cooked), violets

BLACK – black beans, blackberries, black grapes, black raspberries, currants, eggplant, figs, huckleberries, mushrooms, nori/seaweed, olives, prunes, pumpernickel bread, raisins, sesame, black rice, wild rice. Black edible ink markers can be handy for writing and stamping on food.

BROWN – abura-age (fried tofu pockets), asian pear, bamboo shoots, bosc pear, bread, brown rice, brown sugar, burdock root, chick peas (garbanzo beans), chocolate/cocoa/carob, chocolate pudding, crackers, dates, figs, French fries, fried onion, fried tofu, ginger, granola bars, hummus, lentils, maple syrup, miso, mushroom, mustard, natto, nut butters, nuts, pancakes, pinto beans, potato, pretzels, re-fried beans, sesame, soy deli slices, soy meatballs, soynuts, stuffing, sunchokes (jerusalem artichokes), tahini, tempeh, tvp, veggie burgers, waffles, wrap/lavash/pita, yeast extract (ie. Vegemite, Marmite)

GRAY - artichoke hearts, capers, longans, oatmeal, rye bread, soy deli slices, sunflower seeds, taro


River (Wing-It Vegan) said...

What a handy list! It's so thorough that I can't even think of anything to add to it!

Bou Shin said...

Thanks so much! Now I know a few more ways to add natural color to my bento. ^^