In my quest to add more plant-based meals to my diet, I often came across recipes for Buddha bowls. I scrolled past them for months. After finally deciding to learn about them from Jenné Claiborne of Sweet Potato Soul and So Buddhalicious, I prepared Buddha bowls for myself and a friend. In addition to being delicious, I found they were a great way to eat a variety of vegetables in one meal. My friend enjoyed hers so much that she prepared another bowl a day or two later.
What Exactly Is a Buddha Bowl?
Buddha bowls, also known as glory bowls or happy bowls, don’t get their name from Buddhist traditions. Instead, it comes from the resemblance of the bowl to Buddha’s rounded belly. By most accounts, Buddha bowls have their origins in macrobiotics. Most vegan versions contain many if not all of the following: whole grains, starchy vegetables, green vegetables, legumes, a condiment and a sauce.
Why Are They So Popular with Vegans?
To answer this question, I talked to Lauren Walls, a plant based vegan, of Vegan Radiance on Facebook and Instagram. “Buddha bowls are one complete nutritional meal in a bowl that’s appealing to the eye, stimulating to the senses and satisfying to the palate,” she noted. “They are so easy to make and the possibilities are endless!” Inspired by Joel Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live, Ms. Walls focuses on eating healthy and nutritious food: “I follow a mainly nutritarian way of vegan eating, which focused on consuming nutritionally dense foods that help heal the body.”
Buddha bowls are a smart addition to almost any eating plan. They are incredibly versatile and a great way to pull together vegetables and pantry items into a cohesive meal, especially when you are trying to use up leftover grains and legumes. Two recipes are listed below if you want to have more specific examples of the ingredients, but this is just an introduction. The possibilities are practically limitless!
Everyday Buddha Bowl by Jenné Claiborne of Sweet Potato Soul
Jenne’ shared, “The big key to making this Buddha bowl quickly is cooking your grains, legumes, and veggies ahead of time. I do this about twice a week, so that it only takes me 5 minutes tops to have this delicious bowl. The sauce is really great, so you may want to double my recipe ;)”
2 sweet potatoes, cubed & roasted
2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
2 heads broccoli, chopped and steamed or roasted
2-3 cups cooked black beans (or 1-2 14-oz cans)
1-2 cups kimchi or sauerkraut
fennel seeds, black sesame seeds, and chili flakes
Tahini Miso Sauce
1 tbsp light or yellow miso
¼ cup tahini
juice from ½ a lemon
3-5 tbsp water
dash of cayenne pepper
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl, and stir until smooth and creamy. Add more water to thin if you like.
- Place the sweet potatoes, rice, broccoli, lentils and kimchi in bowls.
- Top with tahini miso sauce, fennel seeds, black sesame seeds and chili flakes.
Radiant Buddha Bowl contributed by Lauren Walls of Vegan Radiance
Lauren’s tip: “I usually triple this recipe and store in an airtight container for a 23 days.”