{meal plan routine} The Buddha Bowl

With red & black beans & Buddha Bowl sauce.

It’s Monday. You have a whole week of lunches and dinners to plan. Well here’s an idea that is super easy to slip into your weekly rotation: The Buddha Bowl! Make it for dinner and save the leftovers for a lunch that you can eat on the go. I’ve been experimenting with different rice bowl combinations that I can prepare ahead of time and easily pack up for lunch. You can eat them hot or cold and they require little brainpower to pull together. Just how I like it. I’ve seen the term “Buddha Bowl” thrown around a lot on different websites and in books and magazines and now we end up calling every rice bowl we make a Buddha Bowl. Buddha Bowls just sounds fun, right? They are endlessly adaptable based on your own preferences, food allergies and the ingredients you happen to have on hand that day.

The basic formula for my Buddha Bowl is a grain, lots of veggies, a protein and a delicious sauce. When I’m feeling  indulgent, I add a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt and sprinkle cheese on top. You can’t go wrong. Lately we’ve been topping our bowls with a healthy amount of this lemony-garlicky sauce, which is my attempt at ripping off the secret “Tali” sauce from Portland’s famous Whole Bowl food cart. For this recipe, I did a lot of research on lemon sauces, garlic sauces and tahini-based sauces and then blended all of those ideas together until it tasted delicious.

With tofu, peppers & tamari.

Basic Buddha Bowl

  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Buddha Bowl sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Cook the rice according to directions (generally 1 cup of uncooked brown rice to 2 1/2 cups water). In a medium pan, quickly sautee the mushrooms, onion and pepper for only a 3-5 minutes until barely softened. Add in the beans and heat through. Top a serving of rice with the sauteed veggies, sliced avocado and shredded cheese.

Serves 2-3.

Buddha Bowl Sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  •  1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch of salt


Add all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. This stores really well in the refrigerator for weeks, maybe even months, if you don’t eat it all first.

This recipe is a starting point– I make my Buddha Bowls differently every time. Sometimes I skip the sauce entirely and use a favorite salad dressing, barbeque sauce or a splash of tamari.  I’ve added broccoli, carrots, zucchini and spinach to our bowls with great success. Black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas are all awesome protein additions, as are bite-sized pieces of tofu or scrambled egg. Swap out the brown rice for quinoa. Make it your own! And then come back here and share your combos with us. This is the perfect lunch or light dinner and has become a staple in our kitchen.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: recipe


From nine-to-five, Christine works in the non-profit world of affordable housing and community development. After hours, you can find her cooking up a storm in her teeny tiny kitchen, curled up on the couch with a stack of good books, or hosting wild one-person dance parties. Christine lives in downtown Albany and likes to imagine a life filled with freshly baked bread, tea parties and 1970s kitchenware.

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8 Comments on “{meal plan routine} The Buddha Bowl”

  1. October 17, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    Oh my goodness—that looks delicious. Love the idea of a “Buddha Bowl”…thanks for the inspiration x

  2. Betsy
    October 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm #

    Yum! What a great idea!

  3. October 18, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Mmmm, gotta have that sauce! Yum! I’ve been looking for something like that!

  4. October 18, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    I absolutely love your posts. This will fit well into my new restricted budget. Thank you.

  5. October 24, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I have been eating this every day for lunch over a rice bowl. I often do a grain/veggie/protein but never with such a funky sauce to pull it together. In love, thank you.

  6. LeelaB
    February 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    I love this and was looking for a recipe just like it. I had a different version at a local restaurant and they called it a harvest bowl, with steamed butternut squash, shredded carrot and beets and baby spinach. Plus there were dried cranberries and walnuts on top and the dressing seemed like tamari with a bit of maple syrup and some Indian spices. I’m going to be making all kinds of these bowls! So tasty and easy throughout the week!


  1. {the new year} condiments & small dinner parties | FROM SCRATCH CLUB - January 9, 2012

    […] since my partner-in-crime often chows down his lunch on the go. I’m thinking about new Buddha Bowl recipes, better veggie wraps, more interesting sandwich combos and Bento-box style lunches. This is […]

  2. 8 of My Favorite Sauces and More | enspire balance - February 28, 2015

    […] This Buddha Bowl Sauce is great and the only change I made was to use some veggie broth in place of some of the oil. I also really like these two sauces from the “bowl” category – the sauce from this Roasted Buddha Bowl and the sauce from this Quinoa Cauliflower Bowl with Almond Sriracha Sauce (I use unsweetened hot sauce and leave out the syrup). […]

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