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:

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Best Buddha Bowl

rate this recipe:
5 from 43 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
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.



  • 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.



5 from 43 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. phyllis

    Can’t wait to make all these salads. How long does the avocado/tahini dressing last in the refrig?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Phyllis – the avocado sauce will last 2-3 days (since avocados brown fast). The turmeric tahini sauce in this post will last about 5 days. I hope you enjoy!

  2. Billy from

    5 stars
    These bowls look so great! Definitely excited to make these at home the next time I hit the grocery store. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. mm

    Thank you! Your turmeric tahini sauce was delicious with beets!

  4. Sorrel

    5 stars
    So yummy. Just made with leftover quinoa, lentils, steamed broccoli, and added some steamed carrots, sauteed beet greens, the sauce as written, and sauerkraut. Incredible. Thanks!

  5. Geri

    5 stars
    This was yummy, thank you 🙂 Loved the dressing

  6. Aidan

    Hi Jeanine!

    Looking forward to trying this soon. 🙂 I haven’t seen any watermelon radishes pop up yet this year – it’s still a bit chilly here and I tend to see them later in the spring. Anyway, I was wondering if you have any ideas for substitutes – maybe a handful of thinly sliced red radishes?

    Thank you so much,


    • Jeanine Donofrio

      yep – thinly sliced red radishes would be just fine here!

      • Aidan

        5 stars
        I’m munching on this right now and wanted to check back in because it’s really amazing! The sauce is super delightful, and now I know that I like mung beans. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          Hi Aidan – I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    Yum! Boyfriend and I switched to being vegetarian 2 months ago, your blog is a life saver! You can only eat Tofu so many times. First recipe we’ve tried, can’t wait to try more! SPIRALIZED DAIKON “RICE NOODLE” BOWL and QUINOA APRICOT & ARUGULA SALAD next!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you both enjoyed this!!

  8. Maria from

    I need a restaurant like that in my life!!! Eliminate the choices – we have too many – and just feed me something clean, nutritious, and delicious! Tahini is the best. I can’t get over how beautiful this bowl you created is!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Thank you! Ha, yes, sometimes zero choices is best!

  9. Misbamia from

    I love this kind of bowls where you have everything you need on it!! They always make me feel very good.

  10. nora ibrahem saleh

    lovely blog its so healthy and i think tasty also

  11. Izzy from

    These look so pretty!
    Izzy | Pinch of delight

  12. Lindsay from

    This sounds so fresh and clean! I love tahini sauces and this sound delicious. I will definitely have to try this out!

  13. Will definitely try this – sounds tasty and healthy 💪

  14. This looks so delicious and healthy! Love eating colorful food too!

  15. All through this post I was saying Yes, Yes, Yes! I love that Ayurvedic proverb too – should put it up in my office. And a big yes to steaming veggies and adding mung beans to this bowl! Will definitely be making this soon. Thanks Jeanine!

    • 5 stars
      Made it. Loved it. Will repeat. Especially loved the sauce. Was pleasantly surprised it didn’t need sweetness from honey or maple. Thought the flavors would be slightly bitter without but I was wrong. Excellent!

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Katie, I’m so glad you loved it! xo

        • Marge Teilhaber

          The lack of sweetener is what attracts me to this dressing. Can’t wait to try it. Will be back to comment! (I despise sugar anything with savory!)

  16. This looks great!!! I’ve been searching for watermelon radish….can’t seen to find it anywhere!!!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’ve been seeing them at my Whole Foods lately – they seem to vary by region and season – hopefully you can find them later this spring! (although they’re not completely necessary for this recipe, they’re just pretty!)

      • Catherine

        5 stars
        I imagine different regions and stores/supplies dictate what we can buy and I’m pretty sure if you want the taste & texture of the original recipe subbing regular sweet smaller spring radishes would be more than okay!

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.