Most people nowadays know what a Buddha bowl is, and thus a vegan Buddha bowl. But for those of you that haven’t heard of it before, it’s a bowl of whatever you like!
Well, let me break that down for you. Typically you start with a grain, add some vegetables, some form of protein, and a dressing of your choice. I usually add some seeds, fermented or pickled vegetables, and some sprouts if I have them in the fridge.
Essentially, it’s a colourful bowl of goodness using whatever you have in the kitchen. It’s a great way to use up produce and to have a healthy meal.
We’ve been making some variation of Buddha bowls for years in our household and more so since becoming vegan. I wanted to share with you some basics around creating a vegan Buddha bowl, what ingredients I generally use and three combinations of those that frequent our house the most.
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As I mentioned above, I would start with a grain or something similar. That could be any of the following:
- Brown, black, red or wild rice
- Quinoa – tri-coloured, white or red
- Couscous – plain or pearled
At least two-three different types of vegetables. You can have these roasted, raw or steamed. Again, anything you have in the fridge but these are the ones I tend to use most:
- Sweet potato
- Cabbage – red or white
- Capsicum – any kind but I like red
- Baby spinach
- Kale – massaged
- Salad mix
- Bok choy – cut in half and steamed or lightly fried
- Cauliflower – typically marinated
Then there’s the protein part, which I’d generally do one of:
- Marinated tofu
- Marinated tempeh
- Beans – any kind
- Lentils – any kind
- Chickpeas – seasoned and baked or just plain from a can
- Falafel or lentil and veggie patties
Then there are some extras, which I usually keep in my fridge or pantry for that extra bit of flavour and nutrients, such as:
- Fermented vegetables
- Pickled ginger
- Pickled radish – how to make: half water, half tamari solution left in the fridge for a week with thin slices of radish in a jar
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Tamari seeds – a mix of sunflower seeds and pepitas roasted (half and half) in a frying pan and then tamari added at the end to coat them, let it completely cool and dry before putting in a jar
- Nigella seeds
- Sprouts – like mung bean, lentil, chickpea, alfalfa or bean
And last but not least, a dressing. This is what brings it all together. I keep things simple and mainly use these dressings:
- Tahini – in a jar, combine 1 tbsp unhulled tahini, juice of half a lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp of water, salt and pepper to taste. Shake well until you get a creamy, smooth consistency.
- Satay – in a jar, combine 1 tbsp peanut butter, juice of half a lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp of water, 1 tbsp tamari sauce and pepper to taste. Shake well until you get a creamy, smooth consistency.
- Mayonnaise – dilute with a 1 tbsp of water, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp oil with about 2 tbsp of mayo.
So that’s pretty much it! You may be thinking this is overwhelming, but honestly, you can do whatever you like with it. These are just some suggestions based on what we use in our house most of the time to whip it together.
Most lunches will be some form of a bowl with the above ingredients. I wanted to share with you some inspiration and some recipes that can be a start of this adventure for you if you haven’t dived into it before or want to try different combinations.
There are three super easy recipes that you can prepare well ahead of time and have in the fridge ready for work, school or lunch and dinner at home.
I want to mention again though that the reason I love these is because of how dynamic and waste-free they are. With so much produce ending up in landfill and money wasted, this is an excellent way for us all to use what we have and turn it into a delicious bowl pretty quickly.
First up is the Rainbow Quinoa Satay Bowl. Just a quick note, I’ve made these recipes for two people, but you can easily halve it for one or prep for much more and have it ready in the fridge.
This delicious Buddha bowl is filled with fresh vegetables with some great sources of protein and an irresistible satay sauce.
- 1 ½ cups tri-coloured quinoa cooked
- ½ a medium red capsicum, thinly sliced
- 200 gr chickpeas from a can, washed and drained
- 2 large handfuls of salad
- 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
- ½ avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp sprouts of your choice - I used chickpea and mung bean
- ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
- Satay dressing (recipe mentioned above)
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with the satay sauce.
A dynamic Buddha bowl that has great plant-based ingredients with a wonderful range of flavours.
- 2 tbsp tamari sauce
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 250 gr organic, non-GM firm tofu, drained and cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil
- 2 cups of raw pumpkin, chopped into cubes
- 5-6 mushrooms cut into quarters
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 3-4 leaves of kale, leaves removed from spine, chopped and massages to soften
- 1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
- 2 tbsp fermented vegetables
- 2 tbsp tamari seeds (recipe mentioned above)
- Marinate the tofu with the sweet chilli sauce and tamari sauce for at least half an hour then fry it in a frying pan for around 10 minutes tossing occasionally. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200C (390F) and in a baking tray, combine the rice bran oil, pumpkin, mushrooms and salt. Toss well and bake for around 20-25 minutes.
- Once the vegetables have roasted and the tofu is done, add the cooked rice, kale, fermented veggies to a bowl and sprinkle the seeds on top.
This vegan Buddha bowl is Japanese inspired by the combination of vegetables and the beautiful pickled ginger.
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped into cubes
- 1 small-medium sweet potato, cut into cubes
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 1 ½ cooked brown rice
- 2 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 2 handfuls of finely chopped red cabbage
- ½ an avocado, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp of pickled ginger
- 1 tsp of nigella seeds
- Tahini dressing (recipe mentioned earlier)
- Preheat the oven to 200C (390F) and in a baking tray, combine the rice bran oil, sweet potato, eggplant and salt. Toss well and bake for around 20-25 minutes.
- Once the vegetables have roasted add the cooked rice, baby spinach, red cabbage, avocado, pickled ginger to a bowl and sprinkle the nigella seeds on top.
- Pour over the tahini dressing and serve.
Other wonderful recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Red Rice Salad With Tahini Dressing
- Vegan Falafel Wrap
- Mediterranean Pearled Couscous Salad
- Spiced Carrot & Millet Salad
- Vegan Vietnamese Salad
Interested in more recipes?
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