Recently I came across the term “Buddha Bowl” and was quite intrigued. After some quick searching I found out that a Buddha Bowl simply refers to a bowl of lightly seasoned brown rice or quinoa, a mix of finely chopped raw or steamed vegetables, a protein such as beans or meat, and an optional dressing. This type of meal is ideal for those trying to eat balanced meals that are easy to prepare. Buddha bowls are convenient due to the minimal cooking that is required. The best part is that you can eat this hot or cold, making it the perfect lunch to work. I love that you are able to get so much nutrition from something so simple and I will definitely be making Buddha Bowls for myself, since I tend to neglect my diet a lot since having had my kids.
Creating Your Own Buddha Bowl:
Step 1. Choose your grain, either quinoa or brown rice and prepare it accordingly. (2 cups)
Quinoa is a starchy seed (popularly referred to as a grain), that is rich in protein, iron, potassium and fibre. It is so versatile and can be easily substituted for rice. It is important to rinse the quinoa in cold water before cooking to remove any residue and bitter taste. To cook bring one part quinoa and two parts water to a boil, and then reduce heat and cook covered for 15 minutes or until quinoa is soft and translucent.
I prefer PC Organics Black and Golden Quinoa.
Step 2. Choose your greens. (half cup)
I recommend using raw leafy greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, watercress, and red leaf lettuce. These leaves are a good source of Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and folate. Take a look at this great info graphic from Greatist.
Step 3. Choose your vegetables. (1.5 cups)
Any vegetable, steamed or raw, can be used but choose different coloured vegetables to get the widest array of nutrients. My favourites include: broccoli, fresh tomatoes with the seeds removed, bell peppers, roasted cauliflower, roasted mushrooms, and grated carrots.
Step 4. Choose your protein. (half cup)
Traditionally Buddha bowls incorporate beans but if meat is preferred, opt for lean meats such as turkey and chicken breast. Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans and green lentils are delicious vegetarian options.
Step 5: Add flavour.
If you like it simple, season your Buddha bowl with salt, pepper, olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Your favourite olive oil based salad dressing, a little bit of soy sauce, peanut sauce, or tahini based dressings are all good choices. Other options include red chilli flakes, sliced green onions, and roasted garlic.
When choosing soy sauce look for naturally brewed soy sauce such as the Kikkoman brand which contains no chemicals. This brand is available at the Real Canadian Superstore, Whole Foods Market, health food stores, as well as online for discounted prices.
Optional: Add more nutrition!
Diced avocado, herbs such as parsley or basil, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, and flax seeds are all wonderful additions. Choose your favourite!
To make your Buddha bowl, combine your grain, finely chopped greens, finely chopped vegetables, and protein. Toss with your choice of dressing and serve at room temperature or cold. Although I have added measurements, this recipe can be easily adapted to suit your needs. Grains can be reduced if necessary and more vegetables and protein can be added.
Click here to read about the health benefits of eating avocado.
Feature Image: bakeaholic.ca