Like many of you, I'm starting off the new year on a healthy kick. Dry January (a pledge to not drink any alcohol for 31 days) in combination with a healthy diet and a continued commitment to regular exercise is the perfect way for me to reset and start 2022 off on the right foot. An easy healthy, yet filling meal I like to turn to during these times is a Buddha bowl.
Whether you call them Buddha bowls, grain bowls, meal prep bowls or just veggie bowls, these vegetarian dishes served in a single bowl or a high-rimmed plate, are the perfect way to pack a lot of goodness into one meal.
It’s not exactly clear where the term Buddha bowl originated, but they have taken over Pinterest and the rest of the internet since about 2017. This article from Epicurious by Katherine Sacks gives some insight into their history. To sum it up, Buddha carried a bowl with him on his journeys and accepted food as donations and at the end of each day, he would eat whatever he had been given. The idea that the Buddha bowl resembles the round belly of Buddha is likely untrue. Buddha was actually very thin, and according to the author's of Buddha's Diet, those chubby statues you see in Chinese restaurants are of a monk who lived a thousand years later. Balance is also a key Buddhist concept and a Buddha bowl is truly a balanced meal in one bowl.
There are no strict set of rules for how to make one, but a Budda bowl is roughly defined as a bowl with an assortment of small portions of different foods, mostly vegetables. The food is not mixed together, but arranged in an "artful" way. A Buddha bowl is a great way to use up vegetables almost past their prime or simply get creative. Here are the basic components:
2 cups Cauliflower Rice
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 can Black Beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons Green Chiles
1 Red Pepper, sliced
1/2 Red Onion, sliced
1 Zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 Portobello mushroom, sliced
1/4 cup Cilantro
2 Tablespoons Pepitas
Extra virgin olive oil
Lime wedges for garnish
Salt and Pepper
For the Sauce:
1/2 lime, juiced
1 Tablespoon canned chipotle sauce and chile chopped (add more if you like extra heat)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Mix all ingredients together.
For the Vegetables:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the pepper, onion, zucchini and mushrooms with olive oil, cumin, chili powder and salt.
Roast for about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and slightly caramelized.
For the Rice and Beans:
Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to a sauté pan and eat over medium-high heat. Add the frozen cauliflower rice and sauté for a few minutes. Add the garlic.
Add the black beans, heat through and season with salt and pepper.
Once the vegetables are done, assemble the Buddha bowl, using a mound of cauliflower rice and beans and surrounding it with the vegetables. Top the rice with the green chiles. Drizzle with the sauce and serve with fresh lime and cilantro.
Then when it's time to eat, mix it all up and dig in!
I will admit that I was so excited and hungry to eat this that I forgot to add the pepitas I had for it, but they would have added a nice crunchy element so I'll be sure to add them to tomorrow's leftover bowl!
Buddha bowls are this week's challenge for our private Facebook group. Join, make a Buddha bowl and share your creations with other home cooks for inspiration.
If you are interested in learning more about plant-based meals, don't miss our next virtual Instant Pot class with cookbook author Emily Paster coming up in February. You'll learn three vegetarian meals made in the multi-cooker:
- Tomato and Zucchini Pashtida (Israeli Crustless Quiche)
- Vegetable and Chickpea Tagine
- French Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Feta