What is a Buddha bowl?
A Buddha bowl is a large deep bowl or high rimmed plate that consists of a grain, vegetables, a protein and a dressing. It is considered popular among Vegetarians and Vegans. It incorporates the principles of clean and healthy eating from the Chinese and Japanese lifestyle. The goodness of a Buddha bowl contains the nutrients for a healthier life with medicinal principles to help lower disease.
There are many explanations for why the name refers to Buddha. It may originate from presenting a balanced meal, where balance is a key Buddhist concept. It comes from stories of Buddha carrying his food bowl to fill it with whatever bits of vegetarian food villagers would offer him or from the overstuffed bowl resembling the belly of Budai, a 10th century Chinese monk often confused with Buddha. (1)
What do they consist of?
Grains: Brown rice, quinoa, barley, bulgur (cracked wheat), oatmeal , buckwheat, millet. White grains are alright but consider those mentioned.
Protein: Hard boiled eggs, tofu, lentils, black eyed peas, tempeh, chickpeas, beans. (I roast my chickpeas and beans in a sprinkle of olive oil and spices).
Vegetables: Any vegetable you like, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, pea’s, steamed broccoli, kale, spinach, tomato, sweet potato, spring onions.
Dressing: Opt for a healthy natural dressing. Make one yourself. There are plenty available on the internet. Here’s some of my favourite’s.
3 tbl Tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, Dijon mustard and sometimes fresh or crushed garlic if having at lunch or dinner rather than breakfast.
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbl balsamic or wine vinegar, twist of salt and pepper.
3 tbl Natural Greek yoghurt, 1/2 tsp lime juice, English or seeded mustard (to your liking), touch of milk to think out.
3 tbl natural Greek yoghurt, 1 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 tsp garlic, salt and pepper if desired. (You can also use Olive oil instead of Greek yoghurt)
Note: You can design any dressing you prefer. Just remember 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. Example; 3 tbl (part) olive oil to 1 tbl (part) lemon juice. Herbs, spices, garlic, honey etc can be added for extra flavour in preferred amounts.
How to build your Buddha bowl.
- Grains: Choose your grain. If having for breakfast you can prepare it the night before if your wanting it cold. Remember to use whole grains as they are more filling and help cleanse the gut. They give you many more health benefits than processed grains.
- Protein: Choose your protein. (If your not vegetarian or Vegan, you can add meat if you like although a true Buddha bowl is Vegetarian, however be sure its not processed style meat). If roasting beans or cooking tofu etc, again you can cook this the night before or eat warm upon serving).
- Vegetables: Choose your vegetables: Decide how your preparing them, steaming, roasting, fresh, raw. try and choose a variety of colours. The more colours the more variety of minerals and nutrients.
- Dressing: Research a healthy natural dressing or use my example above. Make your own dressing or vinaigrette and avoid supermarket packet style dressings. All home made! Less fat, no sugar and much healthier!
- BONUS ADD: You can add salad vegetables or fruit. There is no rule what decides your tastes buds. Just use clean eating, eat whole grains, use extra virgin olive oil and feel free to top with what you like! Avocado is another favourite of mine, just be mindful of the amount of good fats you have. And if your someone that has to have meat, feel free to add it or replace the beans with it.