Buddha Bowl | 4 Ways

reading time: 3 min


Buddha bowls have become super popular over the past few years, and I consider myself a true fan of those veggie bowls. To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure what exactly constitutes a Buddha bowl but it does sound fancier than "a bowl of random veggies and stuff". Basically, it's a hearty filling dish made of a base of whole grains, topped with various greens, vegetables, legumes and more.

A "Buddha Bowl", as defined by the urban dictionary, is a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded "belly" appearance on the top much like the belly of a buddha.

So the common explanation is that the bowl resembles Buddhas full belly – however, if you are familiar with Buddhism you'll know that only the Chinese Buddha has a chubby belly and is overall a little fat, whereas the Tibetan Buddha is rather skinny. There is another explanation for the concept "Buddha bowl" that is based on a concept of mindful eating practised by Zen Buddhist monks – ōryōki, meaning to eat "just enough" or an "appropriate" amount. The biggest bowl in their collection of dishes (called "the Buddha bowl") is supposed to be big enough to contain a nourishing meal but small enough to prevent gluttony. 

I have to admit, sometimes my own Buddha bowls are definitely more on the "gluttonous" side, but I mean, it's just veggies, right?! 


Here are four different variations, inspired by Asian, African, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine. Enjoy!



Rice (brown, basmati or jasmine)
Black Beans
Bok choy
Pickles (or pickled ginger)
Red onion 
Fried tofu
Soy sauce
Peanut sauce (PB2 or sugar-free peanut butter with water + 1 tsp of soy sauce)

Cook rice. Steam bok choy, peas and broccoli. Slice tofu and marinate in soy sauce, chili flakes and crushed ginger. Fry in a little bit of oil. Assemble bowl: When the rice, veggies and tofu are ready, place each component in a large shallow bowl and top with black sesame, pickles, red onion, lime, peanut sauce and some extra soy sauce.



Millet (or rice or couscous)
Sweet potato (or squash)
Roasted chickpeas
Okra (or eggplant)
Baby spinach (or lettuce)
Chutney (or hummus)

Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C. Place sweet potato chunks onto a parchment lined baking tray. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Likewise, toss canned chickpeas (that you drained and patted dry beforehand) with olive oil, curry powder and salt on the baking tray. Bake both for about 20 - 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, add chopped okra and sliced plantain (both tossed in oil and salt) to the baking tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, along with the rest of the veggies that are already in the oven. Meanwhile, cook millet in water and vegetable broth according to package instructions, about 10 minutes. Once everything is ready, assemble your bowl. Serve with chutney (I made my own with tomatoes, onion, cilantro and spices) or hummus.



Rice (or quinoa)
Black Beans
Kidney beans
Sweet corn
Bell pepper
Tomato (fresh or sun-dried)
Spring onions
Avocado / guacamole

Cook rice in water and vegetable broth. For the guacamole, mash the flesh of an avocado in a small bowl. Add lemon or lime juice, salt, pepper and one crushed garlic clove. Cut bell pepper into small cubes, chop spring onions and tomato. Drain and rinse beans and corn. Once the rice is ready, assembly all components in a big bowl. Serve with guacamole and herbs, e.g. fresh cilantro.



Couscous (or bulgur)
Baked falafel
Roasted cauliflower
White beans
Parsley (or cilantro)
Tahini sauce (tahini + lemon or lime juice + garlic) 

Cut cauliflower into florets and coat with 2-3 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp curry powder, red pepper flakes and 1 tsp finely chopped fresh cilantro. Roast in preheated oven at 425°C / 220°C until deeply golden on the edges, tossing halfway, about 25 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix couscous with enough boiling  water to barely cover it, and allow to swell. Cook beans if they aren't canned, drain and mix with parsley, salt and pepper. Warm up falafel or make your own. Arrange everything in a bowl and drizzle with tahini sauce and store-bought or homemade hummus.