It’s a crazy time to be alive, isn’t it? So much is happening that I can hardly wrap my head around. Sometimes I worry that I’m being negligent by not mentioning major world events here, let alone personal events. At the same time, I’ve always wanted this website to be a safe refuge and a mostly-happy place. I want it to be a destination and a healthy escape. Cookie and Kate is where food is delicious and approachable and good for you, too.
Plus, we always have to eat. To that end, I’m sharing a colorful recipe that has been slowly taking shape in my kitchen over the past few months. I’ve seen “Buddha bowls” all over the internet and menus lately, so I set out to make one. What are they, though? How did ambiguous-whole-grain-and-veggie-bowls-with-tasty-sauce all become abbreviated as “Buddha bowls”?
I found some guidance in Katherine’s article on Epicurious. Buddha carried a bowl with him on his journeys and accepted food as donations, which he would eat at the end of the day. Katherine also mentioned that Buddha bowls are similar to macrobiotic (macro) bowls with whole grains and steamed or raw veggies.
I created this versatile bowl with those factors in mind. The base of the meal is brown rice with steamed edamame and vegetables, which all cook together in one pot (this would actually be a super easy meal in itself). For the vegetables, you can choose from snap peas, snow peas or broccoli. If you have another favorite vegetable that steams well, I bet it will work, too.
Then, add some of your favorite chopped raw veggies to the mix (I can vouch for cabbage, romaine, spinach, and kale). Top with a generous drizzle of my carrot-ginger dressing, which has also made an appearance in this chopped salad. That dressing is absolutely worth the effort to make. You’ll end up with extra for future salads, and you can make it in advance if you’d like.
The Buddha bowl isn’t quite complete without ripe avocado, which I dressed up with toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and flaky sea salt. I roughly stole that idea from a delicious vegetarian platter that I ordered in Morocco this spring. It’s a great snack on its own, and I’m sure you’ll see that component again soon.
This bowl isn’t the quickest option around, but it’s brimming with nutrients and fiber, and it makes for great leftovers. Feel free to play around with the vegetables and mix-and-match the various components. Let me know how you like it, please!
If you’re craving more light and refreshing meals like this one, be sure to check out my sushi bowls, veggie lettuce wraps, coconut rice with Brussels sprouts and vegetable fried rice.
Build-Your-Own Buddha Bowl
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 bowls 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Asian
This buddha bowl recipe is super fresh, delicious and versatile! The rice and veggies and dressing can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Recipe yields 4 meal-sized bowls.
Rice and veggies
- 1 ¼ cups short-grain brown rice or long-grain brown rice, rinsed
- 1 ½ cups frozen shelled edamame, preferably organic
- 1 ½ cups trimmed and roughly chopped snap peas or snow peas, or thinly sliced broccoli florets
- 1 to 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce, to taste
- 4 cups chopped red cabbage or spinach or romaine lettuce or kale (ribs removed)
- 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and thinly sliced into long strips (wait to slice just before serving, see details in step 5)
- 1 small cucumber, very thinly sliced
- Carrot ginger dressing*
- Thinly sliced green onion (about ½ small bunch)
- Lime wedges
- Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling
- Sesame seeds
- Flaky sea salt
- Bring a large pot of water to boil (ideally about 4 quarts water). Once the water is boiling, add the rice and continue boiling for 25 minutes. Add the edamame and cook for 3 more minutes (it’s ok if the water doesn’t reach a rapid boil again). Then add the snap peas and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Drain well, and return the rice and veggies to the pot. Season to taste with 1 to 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce, and stir to combine.
- Divide the rice/veggie mixture and raw veggies into 4 bowls. Arrange cucumber slices along the edge of the bowl (see photos). Drizzle lightly with carrot ginger dressing and top with sliced green onion. Place a lime wedge or 2 in each bowl.
- When you’re ready to serve, divide the avocado into the bowls. Lightly drizzle sesame oil over the avocado, followed by a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds and flaky sea salt. Serve promptly.
- If you intend to have leftovers, wait to complete step 4 just before serving (otherwise the avocado will brown too soon). Leftover bowls keep well (avocado excluded) for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
*Carrot ginger dressing note: You’re probably only going to need ½ batch of the dressing for 4 bowls. I recommend making the full batch since blenders require a decent volume of liquid to blend. Just use the leftover dressing on salads within 1 to 2 weeks of making.
*Make it quick: If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the dressing and drizzle tamari and toasted sesame oil lightly over the bowls instead.
Make it vegan: Be sure to follow the vegan option while making the carrot-ginger dressing.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free tamari, instead of soy sauce. Or, omit the soy sauce altogether and season the rice with salt, to taste.
Make it soy free: Omit the tamari/soy sauce and season the rice with salt, to taste.
Recommended equipment: I love my Vitamix blender for making the dressing and this colander for draining the rice and veggies (those are affiliate links).
▸ Nutrition Information
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.