Somethings raw, something cooked, something soft, something crunchy, a little sweet, and a little spicy — this vegan quinoa buddha bowl is a potpourri of textures and tastes!
Normally when I am home alone for dinner, 8 out of 10 times I would cook myself a simple khichdi or a one-pot pilaf. But last Monday when Sikander was in Paris, was the other 2 out those 10 times! I made or rather I treated myself to this beautiful, healthy, and hearty quinoa buddha bowl!
What is a buddha bowl?
The term buddha bowl has become very popular as a healthy food recipe all in one bowl. Ideally it is one bowl that is a complete meal in itself with all the nutrients. So you have carbs, you have proteins, you have some heathy fat, fiber, and minerals and vitamins.
The idea of a buddha bowl meal originates from Buddhist monks’ alms bowl which they hold out for people to offer them food. Normally their meal is what was offered to them in that one bowl so people would try to offer a meal that was complete and could be served all together in one bowl.
The beauty of the idea of a buddha bowl meal is its flexibility. For a plant-based, vegan buddha bowl, you need:
- 1 Grain (rice, quinoa, millet)
- 1 Protein (Beans, tofu, or tempeh)
- Cooked Vegetables
- Fresh Salad Greens (+ optional fresh salad vegetables like tomatoes)
- 1 fat (can come from dressing or add Avocado, Olives, or nuts & seeds)
That is kind of the formula I follow for making buddha bowls. You can mix and match between the ingredients to get so many Buddha bowl ideas and recipes! Also, each of the ingredients can be cooked in bulk and kept in the refrigerator and then at the time of eating, you can simply assemble the bowl.
What does this Vegan B
uddha bowl have?
This nourishing quinoa bowl is a complete meal with carbs, proteins, healthy fats, lots of fiber, and vitamins and minerals. In this bowl there is:
- Quinoa: We start with a base of mixed tricolor quinoa. I like to use all three types — red, black, and white quinoa — together like in this quinoa pilaf recipe. The white cooks soft, the red and black hold their shape better and also add a bit earthy and sweet flavor to the mix.
- Roasted Vegetables: I’ve used a mix of carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and zucchini roasted with a little olive oil and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Fresh Salad Greens: A mix of different salad greens — spinach, arugula, and mustard. I added some cherry tomatoes for a pop of red and also because I just love them 🙂
- Lemony Avocado Dressing: Made with blending together avocado, fresh coriander, and lemon juice. This is an absolutely delicious dressing. You can use it over salads or toss your pasta in it. You would love it.
Quinoa is a protein-rich grain making it a perfect base with salad greens and roasted vegetables. It is a whole-grain carbohydrate and a complete protein with all the 9 amino acids. Read more about the health benefits of quinoa in this Quinoa stir fry recipe. An extra protein like chickpeas, or any other beans, or tofu can also be added to the bowl to amp up the protein.
Cooked quinoa stays well for up to 2 days in the fridge and since I was going to be alone for 3 days, I made a slightly bigger batch of quinoa. I also roasted more vegetables than just one meal to see me through two more meals during those 3 days. Call me lazy or smart :-).
Quinoa Buddha Bowl – Vegan and Gluten Free
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 1 cup mixed quinoa (~150g) use mixed or a single variety
- 1 Sweet potato
- 2 carrots
- 1 zucchini
- 1 red onion
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 cups mixed salad greens
- 4-5 cherry tomatoes halved or quartered depending on size
FOR THE AVOCADO DRESSING
- 1 Avocado
- ½ cup fresh coriander (cilantro)
- ½ lemon (juice)
PREPARE ROASTED VEGETABLES:
- Preheat oven to 180ºC [350ºF | Gas Mark 4]
- Wash, scrub, and chop the vegetables into bit size chunks or fingers.
- In the pot that you will make quinoa, mix together Olive oil with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables in the pot and then spread on a baking tray. Switch on the grill of the oven and roast for 10 mins.
- Wash the quinoa under running water in a fine mesh colander. Quinoa seeds have a naturally occurring bitter coating called saponins which gives it a bitter flavor. Rinsing helps remove that.
- Add the rinsed quinoa to the pot used to make the Olive oil dressing for roasted vegetables. Top with double the amount of water and a little salt.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed. About 10-15 mins. *
- Blend together avocado, cilantro, and lemon juice until smooth. Add some water to thin down if it is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.**
ASSEMBLE THE QUINOA BOWL
- In a bowl, add a little cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables, and fresh salad. Drizzle over avocado dressing and serve.
- To eat, mix it all up and enjoy!
- *You will know that the quinoa is cooked when it is puffed up and you will see a curly little “tail” come out of each quinoa seed which is, in fact, the seed’s germ or bran. This tail that sprouts out when quinoa is perfectly cooked is super nutritious.
- **You can make more dressing and freeze extra. It will stay well in the freezer for up to a couple of months.
- Nutrition Information is the approximate information for 1 of 4 servings of the vegan quinoa Buddha bowl.
More quinoa recipes
If you like quinoa as a base for your vegetarian and vegan bowls, you might like these recipes:
- Vegetable Quinoa stir fry
- Quinoa Salad with Sweet potato (with the same avocado dressing as this recipe!)
- Vegan Quinoa Salad– Lunchbox ready
- Quinoa and Chickpea salad
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