With a funky name like “Buddha bowl”, you might have noticed this recipe idea popping up in social media feeds everywhere but felt slightly intimidated by it. But, you might actually be missing out on one the most balanced meals you can make without breaking a sweat, or the bank. You’ll get a boost of protein, carbs and healthy fats with just one meal. This one is also a great comfort dish, especially during colder days when a salad just won’t do.
The internet is full of recipes to make these bowls, but we want to help you get the basics right and then start experimenting. So, here’s how you make a healthy Buddha bowl.
1. Pick a grain base
Every hearty Buddha bowl needs a base that’s going to be filling and loaded with some carb-goodness. You can just pick your favourite grain, but we recommend choosing a wholegrain like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, barley or farro.
All these grains are complex carbohydrates, helping you feel energised after your meal, and they’re also high in fibre.
Cook the grain of your choice according to the instructions on the pack, and voilà! – the base for your bowl is ready.
2. Prep your veg
This is where you can really get creative to make your bowl come together. Aim to include various colours of veg and different textures in your bowl. Roast, steam, grate, shred, sauté: combining different textures is the key to a tasty bowl.
For example, carrots, sweet potatoes, courgettes, peppers or aubergines are great for roasting, and they offer a vibrant pop of colour to the bowl – so it’s best to layer them at the top. Roast the veg at the same time as you’re cooking the grain so everything is nice and warm. When roasting, don’t forget to add some condiments to the veg like chilli, ground cumin, ground coriander or paprika to really bring out that flavour.
Pack some crunch into the bowl by adding raw veg like cucumbers, radishes, slices of bell peppers, grated cabbage or carrots.
3. Pack some protein
Every balanced meal needs protein, an essential macronutrient for the structure of our body. Buddha bowls are traditionally meat-free, so the protein can come from vegetarian protein sources like:
- Pulses such as beans, lentils or chickpeas
- Edamame beans (also great for adding a pop of bright green into the mix)
- Hard boiled eggs
- Quinoa (this one is a star ingredient as it’s great as a source of protein and wholegrain)
- Green Cuisine meatballs, full of plant-protein goodness
If you do want to pack up a bit more protein and add some meat or fish to your bowl, lean white meat like chicken or turkey, or fish like tuna or salmon, would work best.
4. Dress it up
To ramp up the flavour of all these ingredients you need a dressing for your bowl. You can season it based on your own taste, but popular combinations include tahini sauce + sesame oil + lemon juice + a little salt, or mustard + olive oil + vinegar. And, if you’re in a rush or don’t have enough ingredients, you can always add a dollop of hummus on top of your bowl for some added creaminess.
5. The final touch
Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s time to assemble your bowl. Layer everything neatly, and then sprinkle some toppings on like:
- Nuts: peanuts, sliced almonds, pistachios
- Seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds – they’re great for adding a bit of flavour as well as extra nutrients
- Pomegranate seeds for an extra pop of colour
- Avocado slices for a boost of healthy fats
So there you have it! The fool proof formula for creating a delicious and colourful Buddha bowl. If you’re ever stuck in a meal rut you can get creative and make different bowl combinations as you’d like.
Discover what colours you can find on the average British plate and why we prefer certain food colours, from our campaign about eating in full colour!