What is a “Buddha bowl?” To be honest, in my research, I haven’t found one concrete definition on what it is, but basically it’s a bowl of leftover vegetables and grains packed into a bowl. The appearance is full and meant to resemble a Buddha belly (you’d probably have one too, if you ate a huge bowl of meats, but this is vegetarian/vegan, and the food here is meant to sustain you, energy-wise – not weigh you down). A lot of the recipes out there have some sort of sauce that accompanies the Buddha bowl, but I just found that a few dashes of soy sauce in the rice were enough, because I made sure to flavor each vegetable before putting it into my bowl.
Surprise, surprise – I don’t have a recipe for this, because you just season each component as you go, and throw it together in the end. I would have one grain, one protein, and a couple vegetables in my Buddha bowl to promote satiety and fullness. Vary up the components whenever you make this – you can have broccoli, butternut squash, bok choy, roasted bell peppers, and whatever else you have on hand! I would say the rule of thumb would be not to add too many ingredients – you don’t want the meal to become muddled with too many flavors. With vegetarian food, in my opinion, the last thing you want to do is throw a bowl together with all steamed veggies. At least, that’s a “dislike” for me. I like to heighten the nautral sweetness of some vegetables by braising or roasting, so if you have a little time, do that! This was such a hit – my little one asked for seconds of green beans and sweet potato!
My Buddha bowl: white rice, roasted sweet potato cubes (olive oil, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of brown sugar), sauteed haricot verts (olive oil, veggie broth, salt, pepper, garlic), and fried tofu cubes (tossed with a bottled peanut satay sauce that I doctored up with sesame oil, soy sauce, and brown sugar). I topped off the bowl with fried shallots and seasoned the rice with a few dashes of soy sauce.
Variations of Buddha bowls:
Broccoli (sauteed or roasted)
Haricot verts or green beans
Braised endive or cabbage
Roasted bell peppers
Sauteed carrot slices
Roasted asparagus spears
Roasted sweet potato or butternut squash
Braised parsnips (excellent when braised in a bit of olive oil, honey, and balsamic vinegar)
Roasted acorn squash or pumpkin
Tofu cubes (in whatever sauce you like)
Sauteed seitan in soy sauce and sesame oil
Broiled tempeh (I don’t like tempeh, but this is an option if you do)
Lentils or braised beans
Happy Buddha bowl-making!