Best Buddha Bowl

The ultimate nutrient-packed vegan buddha bowl! Fresh veggies, beans, sauerkraut, and a vibrant turmeric tahini sauce make it hearty and flavorful.

Buddha bowl

Where did the name ‘Buddha Bowl’ come from, anyway? If you’ve been on Instagram in the last 5 years, chances are you’ve seen these colorful bowls, packed with plant-based goodness like grains, legumes, steamed and raw veggies, and flavorful sauces. According to a 2017 Epicurious article by Katherine Sacks, the name could come from how Buddha collected alms, using a large bowl to gather small bits of food that the residents of whatever village he was staying in could afford to share.

Before we started calling these colorful bowls “Buddha Bowls,” I knew them as macro bowls. When we lived in Austin, I headed to a macrobiotic restaurant called Casa de Luz whenever I needed a bit of a recharge. Instead of having a fixed menu, Casa de Luz offered one rotating meal per day. It would always be some type of buddha bowl, with a grain, a legume, blanched leafy greens, steamed vegetables, a pickled vegetable, and a delicious sauce. It may sound limiting, but I’ve honestly had some of the best sauce and vegetable pairings of my life there. Since I can’t visit Casa de Luz regularly now that we live in Chicago, I used their basic template to build my own buddha bowl recipe.

Buddha bowl recipe ingredients

My Buddha Bowl Recipe Ingredients

To make a homemade version of a Caza de Luz macro bowl, I used one item from each of these categories:

  • A delicious sauce – I made a vibrant turmeric tahini sauce. It’s my favorite type of creamy sauce in that it doesn’t require a blender, so you can stir it together in no time. And if you have leftovers, you’re in luck! This colorful sauce tastes great on everything.
  • Cooked vegetables – Roasted sweet potatoes were my pick.
  • Raw vegetables – Watermelon radish, rainbow carrots, and red cabbage give this buddha bowl recipe a huge pop of color!
  • Leafy greens – Bring on the kale.
  • A legume – I chose my go-to plant-based protein: chickpeas!
  • A grain – I used brown rice, but if you don’t have any on hand, feel free to substitute white rice.
  • A pickled vegetable – Sauerkraut! I love Bubbies.

These components all keep nicely in the fridge if you want to meal prep this recipe for lunch during the week. Find my best meal prep tips here and more of my favorite healthy lunch recipes here!

Vegan buddha bowl

Vegan Buddha Bowl Recipe Variations

I love this recipe as written, but feel free to customize your buddha bowl. Here are a few of my favorite variations:

Let me know what variations you try!

Buddha bowl recipe

More Favorite Plant-Based Recipes

If you love this buddha bowl recipe, find 85 more delicious vegan recipes here, or try one of these healthy bowls next:

Best Buddha Bowl

rate this recipe:
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Serves 4
Prep these simple components ahead of time to pack this healthy buddha bowl for lunch, or make it for an easy weeknight dinner! Vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread onto the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Thinly slice the radish into rounds (this is best done on a mandoline), and use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots into ribbons.
  • Toss the radish slices, carrots, and shredded cabbage with a squeeze of lemon. Set aside.
  • Place the kale leaves into a large bowl and toss with a squeeze of lemon and a few pinches of salt. Use your hands to massage the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half.
  • Assemble individual bowls with the brown rice, chickpeas, kale, carrots, radishes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, sesame seeds, and microgreens, if using. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the Turmeric Tahini Sauce.

 

43 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Shelby
    04.30.2021

    5 stars
    This was quite yummy. I made it to prep for lunch since I work long days the next two days, and since it serves four I prepped two lunches and then used the other two portions for myself and my partner for dinner. For extra protein I made a jammy egg to go with it. Very good!

  2. Harsha
    04.02.2021

    5 stars
    Very delicious and healthy

  3. Athena
    04.01.2021

    5 stars
    Made this incredible bowl last night for dinner and it was exactly what I needed! Such a perfect Springtime bowl, the whole family loved it. I used regular radishes instead of watermelon (cause my grocery store never has them… sad). Super easy to make and the turmeric tahini dressing was delicious! Highly recommend!

  4. Erin
    02.24.2021

    I loved this! I meal prepped it for lunches too. Do you or others here reheat the roast vegetables and quinoa or do you just eat the whole thing cold? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.24.2021

      Hi Erin, I’m so glad you loved it! I just eat the whole thing cold!

  5. Lisa H.
    08.20.2020

    Something like this is already on the menu once a week in my house (grain + bean + greens + assorted other sauteed vegetables), but I never really thought of adding raw or pickled vegetables to the mix. I don’t think I want sauerkraut on the chickpea/barley thing I’m eating now with a dollop of tzatziki, though, haha! – maybe pickled turnips like they put on shawarmas…

  6. Katie
    08.04.2020

    Hi! Love all of your beautiful recipes! Can you please share a link to a couple of your favorite bowls to serve in and/or could recommend a size? Thank you! I understand if you’re not able to share that.

  7. Lily
    01.13.2020

    Hi Jeanine,

    I loved the original sauce recipe you had here. Any chance you would share it? I know you have the link to a new version but I would prefer the old version.

    Thanks,
    Lily

  8. Emily
    08.15.2019

    Hey! Do you have any recommendations of what to add to this if it gets too watery? I want it to be more of a dip and less of a dressing,…I think the tahini I used may have been too liquidy. Thanks in advance!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.18.2019

      Hi Emily, this one is definitely more of a dressing than a dip. To thicken it, you could add chickpeas and blend it into a food processor so that it’s thicker, more like hummus. I hope that helps!

  9. Jeanine Donofrio
    06.07.2019

    Hi Sara, I’m so glad you loved the bowls!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.