Buddha Bowls

A few months ago a friend of mine was telling me about her new favourite way to pack lunches, the ‘buddha bowl’. Being a dietitian and a food lover, this idea sounded too interesting to pass up!

So what the heck is a Buddha bowl anyways?

Similar to a salad, a Buddha bowl is made up of a combination of colourful, nutrient rich foods all in one bowl (or container). It can be served cold or hot, with raw or cooked ingredients (or a combination). It usually includes veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and a tasty sauce. 

How to Make a Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowls combine different types of ingredients to make a complete meal. They typically include one or more items from each of the following categories:

A Healthy Grain
brown rice

beans, chickpeas, or lentils (plain or roasted)
eggs, hardboiled
canned salmon or tuna
leftover taco meat

Vegetables Рgrilled, roasted, steamed, saut̩ed, or raw
sweet potato
roasted brocooli, cauliflower
sauteed mushrooms
roasted butternut squash
cabbage (braised or raw like coleslaw)

Healthy Fats/Flavourings
nuts – slivered almonds, cashews, peanuts,
pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
lemon juice
hot sauce
dressings – like tahini sauce, greek yogurt dressing, peanut sauce

What I Like About Buddha Bowls:

  • The combinations are endless, so you can use foods and flavours that you and your family like best
  • They can be prepped ahead by making large batches of the ingredients (e.g., grains, roast veggies)
  • A great way to use up leftovers from last night’s supper, and to use up what’s in your crisper to avoid wasting food
  • An easy way to incorporate more beans and other vegetarian protein sources
  • They are delicious and healthy!
Because there are SO many options when it comes to Buddha bowls, I decided to look up some recipes online for some help in deciding where to begin. I knew I wanted to incorporate the tofu I had in my fridge, and I had some leftover quinoa from a large batch I made over the weekend. I found some Buddha bowl recipes using tofu with a peanut sauce, so I decided to try it out. Here’s what I did:

For the Peanut sauce:
¼ cup Natural Peanut butter
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1/8 tsp grated gingerroot
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (optional)
1/3 cup warm water

Add all ingredients together and whisk until well blended

For the Buddha Bowl:
1 pkg Extra Firm Tofu, dried and cubed
Quinoa, cooked according to package directions
Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
Broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces
Beets, cooked and shredded*
Cucumber, diced

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cubes of butternut squash with a small amount of oil. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes until soft.
  2. While the squash is cooking, add a small amount of canola or vegetable oil to a fry pan or wok and heat over medium heat. Add the tofu cubes and broccoli and stir fry until tofu starts to brown and broccoli softens. Remove tofu and broccoli into a bowl and toss with a bit of the peanut sauce to coat.
  3. Assemble Buddha bowl by arranging the tofu, quinoa, squash, broccoli, beets, kale and cucumber is a bowl. Drizzle with a bit of the peanut sauce. Enjoy!
*Note: I used beets that were already cooked, but see our Roasted beets recipes for how to do this at home.

I had this for supper at home, and had enough left for lunches for the next two days (minus the quinoa).

 Shannon tried a Buddha bowl too with bean salad, roasted sweet potato and beets, tangy slaw and a mixture of whole grains.

Are you a Buddha Bowl Believer?

Natalee, RD