What Are Buddha Bowls?

Photo by Charlotte Karlsen on Unsplash

Legend has it… the original Buddha would travel the countryside with the barest minimum of possessions. One of those was a bowl for his meals. He would rely on the graciousness of the villagers he met on his journey to fill up his bowl.

The modern incarnation of the Buddha bowl is said to resemble the belly of the Buddha, but that feels like a reach. Simply put, a Buddha bowl is a single meal grouped together in a single bowl. You could just call is a salad but where is the fun in that?

How do you build a Buddha bowl?

It depends on your own tastes. The majority of Buddha bowls leans towards the vegetarian side of things. It also consists of food that can be served cold.

There are no strict rules of building your Buddha bowl but many follow this basic formula:

15% lean protein
25% whole grains
35% veggies
10% sauce
30% extras like nuts, seeds or sprouts.

If you were to order a Buddha bowl in a restaurant, then the presentation would be key. Expect to have an Instagram worthy bowl placed in front of you bursting with vibrant colors.

At home, you don’t have to be as neat with your placement. Here’s how you can build your bowl:

Start with Grains

The grains are the foundation upon which you’ll build your Buddha bowl. These can be brown rice, quinoa, barley or bulgur. As mentioned, Buddha bowls are often served cold. You can whip up a big batch of your grains and have plenty for your bowls throughout the week. You want to focus on whole grains to fill you up more and provide more health benefits.

Add the Veggies

Next comes the veggies. A Buddha bowl is actually a great way to “repurpose” those veggie side dishes from the night before. It really comes down to “dealer’s choice.” You want to pick veggies that you like and taste good together.

Toss in the Protein

If you want to keep your Buddha bowl vegetarian, then chickpeas or tofu can be your protein of choice. You could also add in pieces of cooked fish or chicken.

Drizzle the Dressing

The dressing you add to your Buddha bowl will tie all the components together and provide that final “kick” of flavor. You should avoid store-bought salad dressings. Instead, whisk up your own vinaigrette made from the condiments you probably already have in your kitchen. Very fresh and tasty.

Sprinkle with Seeds

The final toppings would be things like sprouts, sesame seeds, pepitas or chia seeds. All flavorful and good for you. If you want, then you can also top off your bowl with sliced avocado or a soft-boiled egg.

When it comes to Buddha bowls, there are no wrong answers!