Most people nowadays know what a Buddha bowl is, 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 off with a grain, add some vegetables, some form of protein, and a dressing of your choice. I typically add some seeds, fermented or pickled vegetables, and some sprouts if I have them in the fridge.
Essentially, it’s a colorful 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 Buddha bowl, what ingredients I generally use and three combinations of those that frequent our house the most.
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
- Cous cous – 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 normally do one of:
- Tofu – marinated
- Beans – any kind really
- Lentils – mainly brown
- Chickpeas – can be seasoned and baked as well as raw
- Falafel or lentil patties if I can be bothered to make
Then there’s some extras, which I normally 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 – mix of sunflower seeds and pepitas roasted (half, 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 and bean
And last but not least, a dressing. This is what really brings it altogether. I keep things simple and mainly use these dressings:
- Tahini – find recipe here
- Satay – recipe is the same as the Tahini one just swap the Tahini for Peanut Butter
- Mayonnaise – with a little bit of water, salt and oil with about 2 tablespoons 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 on what we use in our house and have most of the time to whip it together.
Most lunches will be some form of 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 a great 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 have made these recipes for two people, but you can easily half it for one or prep for much more and have it ready in the fridge.
Rainbow Quinoa Satay Bowl
- 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 as recipe mentioned earlier
The second recipe is this gorgeous earthy Roast vegetable, tofu and wild rice bowl.
Roast vegetable, tofu and wild rice bowl
- 1 ½ cups cooked wild rice
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil
- 2 cups of pumpkin, chopped into cubes
- 5-6 mushrooms cut into quarters
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 3-4 leaves of kale, leaf removed from spine, chopped and massages to soften
- 2 tbsp tamari
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce, this is the one I use
- 250 gr organic, non GM tofu, drained and chopped into bite sized cubes
- 2 tbsp fermented vegetables, I like this brand
- 2 tbsp tamari seeds, recipe mentioned above
The lucky last is our favourite one. Has a great balance of roasted vegetables with fresh produce, our favourite dressing and the beautiful pickled ginger. This is our Japanese Inspired Bowl.
Japanese Inspired Bowl
- 1 ½ cooked brown rice
- 2 tbsp rice bran oil
- 1 medium eggplant, chopped into cubes
- 1 small-medium sweet potato, chopped into cubes
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 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 as recipe mentioned earlier
The vegetables that are for roasting are done at 200C (390F) for around 20-25 minutes with the rice bran oil and salt. Also the tofu is marinated with the sweet chilli sauce and tamari sauce for at least half an hour then fried on a fry pan for around 10 minutes tossing occasionally. Everything else in the recipes should be just putting them together, sprinkle the seeds and dressing and it’s ready to go!
What’s your favourite buddha bowl style combination? Would love to hear in the comments below.