Buddha Bowl – Ahead of Thyme

This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutrients. Roasted veggies, warm quinoa, and fresh vegetables are coated in a homemade dijon vinaigrette and topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds for the perfect balance between flavors and textures.

Buddha Bowls are the perfect way to enjoy a healthy and hearty meal in one bowl — packed with a variety of nutritious ingredients like whole grains, fresh vegetables, and protein, and is customizable. Plus, it’s also really easy to make this vibrant and colorful vegan quinoa bowl. Just prepare the ingredients, assemble, and top with dressing.

What is a Buddha Bowl?

A Buddha Bowl is a well-rounded vegetarian meal that typically includes grains, veggies, and sometimes plant-based protein like tofu, tempeh, or chickpeas. It is named after the Buddha for the balanced and abundant nature of the bowl. A Buddha Bowl is also often referred to as a “nourish bowl,” “glow bowl,” or “macro bowl.”

Buddha bowls are not only delicious but also incredibly versatile. Whether you’re looking for a quick and easy lunch or a filling dinner, Buddha Bowls are the perfect choice. Plus, you can customize them with your favorite ingredients and dressings to create a meal that’s tailored to your taste preferences.

Why You’ll Love this Buddha Bowl

  • 100% vegan. This nourishing Buddha bowl is made with zero animal-based ingredients whatsoever — you’ll find no dairy, eggs, or meat here, making it perfect for Meatless Mondays or dinner for plant-based guests.
  • Bursting with wholesome ingredients. These Buddha bowls are filled to the brim with real, whole foods, including root vegetables, grains, greens, vegetables, and seeds, for a well-balanced bowl that is flavorful and delicious.
  • Incredibly versatile. Buddha bowls are a one-size-fits-all type of dish! Serve them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, for casual or formal affairs, and as a complete meal or as a side to compliment an entree. Plus, customize this vegan quinoa bowl with whatever ingredients you have on hand.
  • Easy to make. There is a little prep work when it comes to making a vegan grain bowl — you have to cook the grains and roast some veggies. Other than that, the assemble is really easy. Just prep the ingredients, assemble into a serving bowl, add dressing, and serve.
This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com

Ingredient Notes

To make this delicious vegan Buddha Bowl, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in recipe card below):

  • quinoa – we provide instructions for cooking the quinoa from scratch, but you can make things faster if you have 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa on hand. You can also try this recipe with couscous, barley, or rice — just adjust the cooking time to make sure whichever grain you choose is cooked properly.
  • sweet potatoes – you can use regular orange sweet potatoes, purple sweet potatoes, or Japanese sweet potatoes in this recipe. You can also substitute it with other root vegetables like potatoes or beets. You will also need olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper for seasoning and roasting the sweet potatoes.
  • arugula – feel free to substitute with other greens such as baby spinach or baby kale.
  • red bell pepper – yellow or orange bell pepper will produce a similar flavor.
  • English cucumber – if you can’t find english cucumbers, use whatever kind of cucumber you have on hand.
  • purple cabbage – you can use green cabbage or radicchio in place of the purple cabbage.
  • avocado – for a perfectly ripe avocado, look for one with a little bit of give when pressed — not too soft, not too hard.
  • pumpkin seeds – use unshelled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas), or swap them with sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, or chopped pecans.
  • vinaigrette dressing – quick and easy to make using balsamic vinegar (or substitute for red wine vinegar), dijon mustard (or substitute with a brown or stone ground mustard), maple syrup (to keep it vegan, or substitute with honey), salt, and pepper.

You will also need measuring cups and spoons, a sheet pan, a medium cooking pot, small mixing bowl, and a serving bowl.

This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com

How to Make the Best Buddha Bowl

First, roast the sweet potatoes.

  1. Season. Add the chopped sweet potatoes to a large half sheet baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
  1. Roast. Spread out the sweet potatoes evenly in a single layer and roast in a 400F preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until tender and golden brown, giving it a quick stir halfway through baking. For extra crispy sweet potatoes, broil on high for 2-3 minutes at the end. Set aside.
This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com

Next, cook the quinoa.

  1. Rinse. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold running water in a large fine-mesh colander for 1 minute and drain well. (This helps remove the bitter taste in quinoa).
  2. Cook. Transfer the rinsed and drained quinoa to a medium cooking pot and add water and olive oil. Bring it to boil over medium heat, about 5 minutes. Close the lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes until tender and the water is absorbed.
  3. Rest. Remove from heat and let the cooked quinoa rest for another 5 minutes. You will notice the grains have popped open. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Assemble the buddha bowl.

Arrange the cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, arugula, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage, avocado, and pumpkin seeds in a large serving bowl.

Finally, add dressing.

  1. Make the vinaigrette. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey (or maple syrup), salt, and pepper until smooth.
This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com
  1. Drizzle. Drizzle the buddha bowl with the vinaigrette dressing and serve immediately.

Recipe Variations

  • Add more protein. Our main source of protein in these vegan buddha bowls are the quinoa and pumpkin seeds. You can take it up a notch by adding in another protein of your choice. Keep things vegan by topping them with tofu, tempeh, or edamame, or if you don’t care to stick to plant based ingredients, you can use your favorite animal protein instead such as grilled chicken, beef, or salmon.
  • Spice it up. Add a spicy kick to your Buddha Bowl by adding sliced jalapeños or a drizzle of hot sauce or spicy mayo.
  • Change the grains. Buddha bowls are traditionally served with rice or noodles. But for a grain-free option, use cauliflower rice or quinoa instead.
  • Add a crunchy element. Adding something crunchy like roasted nuts or seeds, crispy tofu, or crunchy veggies will give your bowl a complimentary texture.
  • Change the dressing. We used a basic lemon vinaigrette. Try switching things up with a creamy tahini dressing, peanut sauce, or sesame dressing to add extra flavor.
  • Mediterranean style. Give your Buddha Bowl a Mediterranean twist by adding chickpeas, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and a dollop of homemade tzatziki sauce or hummus.
  • Asian style. Make an Asian-inspired Buddha Bowl by adding edamame, sliced avocado, carrots, cabbage, and a homemade peanut sauce.

How to Serve

This Buddha Bowl is a well-rounded meal containing grains, veggies, and protein. So, you can serve it on its own, or pair it with some complimentary side dishes including:

This recipe also doubles as a delicious side salad instead of individual entree grain bowls. Just toss all the ingredients in your favorite salad serving dish and serve with tongs.

This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Batch prep the ingredients. Want to get ahead? Batch prep ingredients ahead of time to make assembly easy when you’re ready to eat. You can make the dressing and prepare the vegetables a few days ahead of time and refrigerate. You can also roast the sweet potatoes ahead of time and reheat before serving, or add them in cold.
  • Use leftover ingredients. This recipe is a great one to use up any leftovers. If you have cooked quinoa on hand or leftover roasted sweet potatoes, use them instead of making from scratch!
  • Experiment with different flavors. Don’t be afraid to mix and match ingredients and flavors to find your perfect Buddha Bowl combination. Just try to choose a balance of ingredients — a mix of protein, grains, veggies, and healthy fats. This will give your bowl a variety of flavors, textures, and nutrients.
  • Don’t overcrowd your bowl. Be mindful of how much you’re putting into your buddha bowl. Overcrowding can make it difficult to mix and enjoy all of the flavors and textures together.

Storing and Freezing Instructions

How to Store

Transfer Buddha Bowl leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Eat cold as a salad or reheat the sweet potato and quinoa separately in the microwave for 15-30 seconds before adding them to the other ingredients.

How to Freeze

It’s not recommended to freeze the entire buddha bowl because some of the ingredients will lose structural integrity in the process, but you can freeze some of the ingredients separately (like the cooked sweet potato, the quinoa, and the dressing) for up to 3 months in individual airtight containers.

This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com

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Recipe

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This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutritious ingredients like grains, vegetables, and protein. | aheadofthyme.com

Buddha Bowl



  • Author:
    Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme

  • Total Time:
    1 hour 10 minutes

  • Yield:
    4 servings

  • Diet:
    Vegetarian

Description

This vegan Buddha Bowl is the perfect hybrid of a salad and grain bowl that is packed with nutrients. Roasted veggies, warm quinoa, and fresh vegetables are coated in a homemade dijon vinaigrette and topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds for the perfect balance between flavors and textures.


Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes:

For the quinoa:

For the buddha bowl:

For the dressing:


Instructions

Roast the sweet potatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Add the chopped sweet potatoes to a large half sheet baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
  3. Spread out the sweet potatoes evenly in a single layer and roast for 35-40 minutes until tender and golden brown, giving it a quick stir halfway through baking. For extra crispy sweet potatoes, broil on high for 2-3 minutes at the end. Set aside.

Cook the quinoa:

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold running water in a large fine-mesh colander for 1 minute and drain well. (This helps remove the bitter taste in quinoa).
  2. Transfer the rinsed and drained quinoa to a medium cooking pot and add water and olive oil. Bring it to boil over medium heat, about 5 minutes.
  3. Close the lid and reduce the heat to low. Let the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes until tender and the water is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and let the cooked quinoa rest for another 5 minutes. You will notice the grains have popped open. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Assemble the buddha bowl:

  1. Arrange the cooked quinoa, sweet potatoes, arugula, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage, avocado, and pumpkin seeds in a large serving bowl.

Make the vinaigrette dressing:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, honey (or maple syrup), salt, and pepper until smooth.
  2. Drizzle the buddha bowl with the vinaigrette dressing and serve immediately.

Notes

How to store: Transfer Buddha Bowl leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Eat cold as a salad or reheat the sweet potato and quinoa separately in the microwave for 15-30 seconds before adding them to the other ingredients.

How to freeze: It’s not recommended to freeze the entire buddha bowl because some of the ingredients will lose structural integrity in the process, but you can freeze some of the ingredients separately (like the cooked sweet potato, the quinoa, and the dressing) for up to 3 months in individual airtight containers.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Tossed
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: buddha bowl, vegan buddha bowl

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