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.
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.
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.