Images from a google image search for “buddha bowl”
Lately I’ve been eating Buddha Bowls basically for all of my lunches and dinners on repeat. “Buddha Bowl” is a trendy phrase that has come to mean a balanced, nutritious, colorful bowl of plant-based food. There are no rules when it comes to Buddha Bowls.
The great thing about the Buddha Bowl concept is that it provides a general template with very versatile components, most of which are easy to batch prep ahead. The only rule in my mind is that it must involve the supreme ruler of all things saucy: lemon garlic tahini sauce. 😉
There are a million variations on warm veggie bowls, but my personal favorite formula is this:
Greens + Cooked Veggies + Protein + Grain + Tahini = <3
I also affectionately call these “rainbow bowls” because they are so colorful and gorgeous. Colorful food also happens to be the most nutrient dense. I feel so grateful, satisfied, and nourished after these kinds of meals, like I’ve done such a service to my body.
Batch prepping ahead makes the assembly of a Buddha Bowl a 5-10 minute process from start to finish. It’s the best of both worlds. It lends itself to automaticity without sacrificing variety. Tweaking the components can add so much variation. On a tired weeknight, by the time I’ve started up the debate in my head about whether I should bother to cook and just go out for dinner, my motor cortex and habit forming brain has already put together my delicious and nutritious bowl.
Here’s what I batch prep ahead so that my Buddha Bowl-ing goes off without a hitch:
- Dark greens are such a nutritional powerhouse, not to mention all that fabulous fiber!
- I rotate between various types of kale and chard.
- Occasionally I will swap in raw grated cabbage, spinach, or fresh salad greens.
Prep Tip: I don’t chop my greens ahead of time because I find that they stay fresh longer in their large leaf form. This is the only chopping and prep that I do at mealtime. I chop a big handful and throw it into a large lightly oiled cast iron pan for a few minutes to soften and wilt them and remove the bitterness.
- I cook most of these up ahead of time and store them in containers in the fridge. At meal time I weigh them out along with the greens for my veggie serving. Sometimes I heat them up in the microwave, sometimes I eat them cold.
- Brussels sprouts
- Butternut squash (roasted)
- Onions or leeks (roasted)
- Peppers (roasted, although sometimes I like to use jarred peppers)
- Kale sprouts
- Peas or green beans
- Carrots (roasted or raw)
- Cucumbers (raw)
- Cooked ahead and stored in separate containers in my fridge next to my prepped veggies, you will often find:
- Tempeh, cubed and possibly marinated. (I steam or sauté it or a few minutes before eating)
- Other cooked beans
- Edamame (frozen, thawed at mealtime)
- Cooked quinoa
Lemon Garlic Tahini Sauce
- Recipe HERE. This sauce is amazing on everything.
- I make a big jar of this for the week. I count a serving of it as half of a protein or sometimes I use it as my fat.
- Occasionally I make a hummus dressing instead by watering down hummus until it is pourable, which has a similar creamy satisfaction factor. This can be counted as either a protein or a fat.
- If I am counting my tahini or dressing as protein, then I use avocado or nuts for my fat.
- Cooked quinoa
- Cooked sweet potato
- Potatoes, roasted
- Brown rice
- Other interesting whole grains (wheat berries, farro, barley, etc)
- Sauerkraut or kimchi
- Microgreens or sprouts (I grow my own microgreens from this awesome idiot-proof home growing kit and I love them SO much.)
- Nutritional yeast
- Soy sauce or Braggs aminos
- Lots of salt and pepper!
- Green onions
- Parsley or cilantro
By the way, the Instant Pot makes a breeze of batch cooking large ready-to-go quantities of things like beets, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, and grains. I know I’ve made a bunch of yummy recipes for the Instant Pot, but I find that besides quick hands-off weeknight recipes, the real benefit of my pressure cooker is it’s ability to whip up large batches of simple, whole ingredients really quickly with almost no effort.
Now, go forth and eat the rainbow!