It sure is crazy times these days, with some grocery store shelves running low as people stock up and stay home due to the coronavirus. However, it’s never been a better time to eat whole food plant based! It’s actually EASIER than trying to find meat, eggs, & processed foods. One VERY flexible way to build healthy vegan, plant-powered meals are with a Buddha Bowl.
Basically a Buddha Bowl contains whole grains, plant proteins, like tofu, beans, or chickpeas, and vegetables. You then top it off with dressing or garnishes for flavor.
Why is it called a Buddha Bowl? Well according to Wikipedia, it may be called a Buddha Bowl because it represents a balanced meal that is similar to the Buddhist concept of balance. Or it could that that the overstuffed bowl resembled the belly of Budai, “a 10th-century Chinese monk often confused with Buddha.” Either way, it’s just a great mix & match meal idea!
4 Steps to Create Your own Buddha Bowl
- Build a base of whole grains or starchy vegetables, like brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potato
- Add plant-based protein like chickpeas, black beans, lentils, or baked tofu
- Super power your bowls with greens & veggies – Pile it high!
- Add some pizzazz with oil-free dressings, fresh fruit, fresh herbs, avocado, and/or nuts
1. Buddha Bowl Whole Grain Base Options
Start with a whole grain or starchy base. About 1/2 cup – 1 cup cooked depending on hungry you are.
- brown rice
- red rice
- black rice
- wild rice
- red quinoa
- sweet potato
- white potato
- red potato
- 100% whole grain pasta
2. Buddha Bowl Plant-Based Protein Options
Add some extra protein power with beans, lentils, or tofu. About 1/2 cup – 3/4 cups cooked.
- black beans
- chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- pinto beans
- kidney beans
- cannellini beans
- green peas
- butter beans
- navy beans
- black eyed peas
- purple hull peas
- baked tofu cubes
3. Super Power your Buddha Bowl with Greens & Veggies
You want to always try to have some greens on your bowl for the greatest nutrient density! Pile this category high and mighty with as many different choices as you like.
- red cabbage
- spring mix
- green onions
- swiss chard
- bok choy
- bell peppers – green, red, yellow, orange
- poblano peppers
- collard greens or mustard greens
- water chestnuts
- yellow squash
- roasted eggplant
- sautéed mushrooms
- grilled portobello mushroom strips
- grilled veggies
- bean sprouts
- sun-dried tomatoes
4. Give your Buddha Bowl Pizzazz
For some sparkle and pizzazz, this category is all about flavor. You might choose about 1-4 from this category. Make sure any dressing, sauce, or hummus you use is oil free. Oils only add 100% fat and cause inflammation (yes, even olive oil and even if it is cold-pressed) which is a major contributor to chronic disease.
- fresh herbs (like cilantro, parsley, rosemary)
- pico de gallo
- marinara or pasta sauce
- no-oil dressing
- lemon or lime juice
- low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- no-oil hummus
- flavored vinegars – balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, pomegranate vinegar, apple cider vinegar
- balsamic glaze
- ketchup (This Primal Kitchen Brand is no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, organic and lower sodium)
- barbecue sauce (This Primal Kitchen Brand is no refined sugar, organic and lower sodium)
- teriyaki sauce (This Primal Kitchen Brand is no refined sugar, organic, and lower sodium)
- roasted garlic
- roasted red peppers
- black olives, kalamata olives, green olives
- pepper sauce or tabasco sauce
- dried cranberries
- sliced almonds
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
- Healthy Vegan Nacho Cheese
- Garlic Cashew Cream Sauce
Buddha Bowls are Perfect for Weekly Meal Prep
So as you can see there is an INFINITE number of combinations of Buddha Bowls which makes them perfect, for a time when you need ultimate flexibility.
It’s so easy to create big batches of grains, beans, and veggies for the week to have ready to go for mix & match Buddha Bowls. Having pantry staples like canned beans, condiments, & nuts helps you keep from being bored.
Gluten free is so easy with Buddha Bowls
It’s also so easy to keep these gluten free. Brown rice and quinoa are perfect bases for a gluten free bowl. If you want Asian flavor, make sure to use Coconut Aminos to keep it gluten free.
My favorite Buddha Bowl Combinations
Southwestern Buddha Bowl – brown rice, black beans, corn, red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, romaine lettuce, salsa, avocado, cilantro, & jalapeños
Mediterranean Buddha Bowl – quinoa, chickpeas, spinach, cucumber, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, oil-free hummus, kalamata olives, balsamic vinegar
Even my Southwestern Potachos can be considered a type of Buddha Bowl!
What are your favorite Buddha Bowl combinations? Post below in the comments!
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