I am going to tell you a little secret: The key to my success with eating whole food plant based diet is to make it easy, accessible AND flavorful. If I have to work for hours in the kitchen every time I want to eat, I will get burned out.
At that point of exhaustion the thought of getting back on the saddle to work in the kitchen again the next day is not very motivating. If I am not motivated, I am more likely to fall back in to old bad eating habits. But for me, staying on track is as simple as 5 steps to create a beautiful Buddha bowl.
When I build a Buddha bowl for lunch it is not only quick but very satisfying. My bowls are rich with a variety of easy to find plant based ingredients that can be prepared ahead of time and assembled in a jiffy. Always they are very filling and stick with me for hours.
Some of you may not have heard the term “Buddha Bowl” until now. It is my understanding the name comes from the story that Buddha would travel with his bowl to receive gifts of food from his followers.
I am no “build a Buddha bowl” expert, but I have some great tips that should make this a simple way to feed yourself goodness. This is my go-to lunch on most week days. For variation, I change up the style cuisine (i.e. American, Asian, Indian) and sauce or dressing.
Steps to a Beautiful Buddha Bowl
The foundation to my success is to pick a day and prep all the grains, vegetables, protein, and sauce ahead of time. Then I am sure to store them separately in glass containers in the refrigerator. Cooking multi-tasking at its best:
- Grains: Pick a whole grain or two (i.e. brown rice, noodles, or quinoa) and while the grains are cooking, start to prep the veggies.
- Vegetables: Pick a variety of raw (i.e. carrots, radish, cucumber) and veggies to be lightly cooked (i.e. greens, mushrooms, onions). Chop the raw (and store) and lightly steamed or saute the others.
- Protein: Pick a protein source or two (i.e. beans, nuts, seeds ) and cook or lightly season them. Save the big flavor for the sauce.
- Sauce: Make a couple very flavorful sauces or dressings (i.e. peanut sauce, vinaigrette, curry) to drizzle on top of your bowl. This can be done while the protein is cooking or at a later time. Often, I make a big batch and freeze some for for later. The sauce is what really varies the flavors.
- Assemble and garnish: Assemble everything as listed above. Don’t forget to add a couple gems to garnish (i.e. nuts, green onions, fresh herbs).
Stir Fry Buddha Bowl
- 2 oz Brown Rice Noodles Whole Grain
- 1/2 cup Sugar Snap Peas – Chopped
- 1/4 cup Carrots – Shredded
- 1/4 cup Cucumbers – Chopped
- 1 TBS Radishes – Sliced
- 1/2 Cup Mushrooms – Sliced
- 1 Cup Spinach – Baby
- 1/2 Cup Broccoli – Chopped
- 2 TBSP Peanut Butter – Natural Creamy
- 1 TBSP Lime – Juiced
- 1 TBSP Maple Syrup
- 1/4 Cup Green Onions – Chopped
- 1 Clove Garlic – Minced
- 1 tsp Ginger – Grated
- 1/4 tsp Salt and Pepper – to taste
- 1/8 tsp Siracha sauce
- 1 tsp Cilantro – Fresh and Chopped
- 1 tsp Peanuts – Chopped
- 1 tsp Green Onion – Chopped
- 1 TBSP Sprouts
- 1 TBSP Edamame – dry roasted
- 1 tsp Toast Sesame Oil (optional)
- Make Noodles: Prepare brown rice noodles according to package instructions
- Cook Vegetables: Saute mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach with 2 Tbsp of water (or toasted seasame oil)
- Make Sauce: Wisk together all ingredients of sauce above until blended
- Assemble Bowl: Add noodles, top with vegetables, add raw vegetables, drizzle with sauce, then garnish with optional ingredients as desired.
Here is a link to one of my favorite Buddha Bowls with an Asian cuisine flare that I have tweaked a little. I like it spicy so I add a little sriracha to the peanut sauce. If fast and delicious is your thing, please give a bowl a try and let me know how it goes.