Now here’s a fun trend that’s been emerging this past year among food aficionados of all kinds! These colorful, deep-rimmed dishes overflowing with vibrant vegetables, healthy grains, and wholesome protein are one of 2017’s top food trends. Also known as hippie bowls or marco bowls (for all those macronutrients they’re stuffed with), nourish bowls, rainbow bowls, hippie bowls or yoga bowls, whatever you call them, they’re really easy to make at home. The best part of it all is you really can’t mess up a Buddha bowl since pretty much everything goes, and trust me, there’s enough recipes around the Internet to inspire you each time! So, if you want to jump on this vegan-style meal prep bandwagon, get on it! Let’s begin fuelling those healthy habits.
They’re really so easy & simple…just think of them as giant bowls of food. According to urban dictionary, a Buddha bowl is a bowl packed so full that it has a rounded ‘belly’ appearance on the top much like the belly of a Buddha. I’m sure most of us had never heard the term until recently – or until right now – but these kind of bowls have been popular among the Yoga crowd for some time now. It’s only lately that they’ve made their way into mainstream media thanks to the recent rave of vegan (& hippie) cuisine…it’s also a favorite of yogis & health bloggers, great for those beautiful Instagram-able pictures all of us love. Truth be told, along with being bright & nutritious, they are incredibly satisfying!
After doing some research on the Internet to find out more on the teachings of great Buddha bowl pros, I ran into a great article on www.bonappetit.com, written by Rachel Tepper Paley as she embarked on her quest for the truth behind the so-called Buddha bowl. She cites various sources that explain many of the important elements of the dish, but what stood out most for me was this description: “…preferred elements include a restrained portion of grain or starch (rice, barley, millet, quinoa, sweet potatoes, or corn), a smattering of protein (tofu, chickpeas, or beans), and an assortment of various vegetables, both raw & cooked.” She also points out how the beauty of the dish comes from a colorful arrangement, in which the palette helps to ensure that your bowl is extra healthy – “the more varied the color in the food that you eat, the more nutrients you’re getting.”
In order to NOT be called a form of assembled salad, it usually lacks lettuce type greens and is more of a combination of grains, vegetable greens, & beans that makes up a bowl full of complete proteins – all the essential amino acids that your body can’t make alone will be provided. Although I won’t be giving you a particular recipe this time, I’ll go through the process of putting together a Buddha bowl in order to inspire you to make your own and reap the benefits of this amazing dish.
PART 1: Choose a grain and prepare it. Grains are high-fiber foods that come in various forms: rice, quinoa, oats, corn, barley, couscous, etcetera…there are really so many variations for each kind and so many different alternatives of grains, I’m sure you can create so many different bowls every day and never get bored! Along with fiber, they provide carbs, protein, and a wide range of vitamins & minerals, which is why they’re an excellent & essential addition.
PART 2: Pick your vegetables and prepare them. Time to get the ‘green’ ready. By green, of course, I mean any single vegetable you might want to put together. The key here is to create something tasty with a few simple ingredients: spinach, kale, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, onions, sprouts, avocado, and so on & on & on…sauteed, steamed, grilled, raw, roasted, you decide! You can also add seasonal fruit like mango, berries, grapes, or apples. The bigger the bulge, the merrier the Buddha!
PART 3: Choose a legume and have it the way you want it. The big protein punch that comes from legumes wraps up all the elements your body needs into the dish. Black beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, red lentils, brown lentils, peas, edamame are some of the great choices. You can also include tofu, seitan or tempeh, or falafels. This is where some of you might choose to openly resist and flout the vegans of the world, adding a lean meat to the mix, just for kicks – do as you will, but deal with the heat on your own! I advise against it.
PART 4: Make a magnificent dressing. I gotta say my busy Buddha bowl today was absolutely 100% satisfying and needed nothing but a drizzle of olive oil for enhancement, but there’s no denying how amazing ANYTHING tastes with dressing, so get creative! Definitely try to keep it simple, you don’t want to overwhelm your bowl with an unhealthy commercial bottle of toxicity. Sriracha, Greek yogurt, red wine vinegar, or a simple prepared vinaigrette are great…you can also venture into more elaborate kinds, like an Asian peanut dressing, prepared red pepper sauces, guacamole, hummus, tahini, or even a yummy vegan Caesar dressing can work wonders!
These might just be guidelines, granted all the crazy Buddha bowl recipes you’ll find on Pinterest…some of which don’t necessarily have grains, others that add some form or rice pasta, & I even saw some that included lean meat in the mix, kind of defying the whole vegan staple on the dish. Anywho, this only comes to show there are certainly no laws on how to prepared your own bulging bowl of goodness, and there’s certainly no explanation that they have much to do with Buddha at all, for that matter…just another spiritual element taken way out of context. I would like to add, based on the teachings of the great master, that the bottom line for many things in life is the importance of balance in our worlds, both the spiritual & the dietary; and I can guarantee that Buddha bowls are an awesome way to make your soul & your body feel happy!