How to Make the Perfect Buddha, Grain, or Protein Bowl
Want to learn how to create a variety of delicious meals without a recipe? Cut down on your cooking time during a busy week? Have more variety in your meals with less cooking involved? Read on!
BOWLS are all the rage these days in the health food world. A quick look at Pinterest or Instagram and you'll see all kinds of healthy bowls packed with veggies, grains, legumes, fruits. Some of the plant based bowls may be called a "Buddha bowl" while the protein ones might get named a "Power bowl," but the idea is similar. A variety of delicious foods, all in one bowl, with a sauce drizzled on top to tie it altogether Sounds simple right? It absolutely is! I've found that making these bowls is a great way to keep variety in my diet without having to cook different meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every week. Simply change up the ratio, or use a different sauce to give each serving a whole new flavor.
- Step 1: Pick Your Protein: I like to keep a couple of different protein sources on hand for my bowls. A few of my favorites include a pound of ground chicken thighs, a pound of beef worth of meatballs, and 6-12 hard boiled eggs. For my ground chicken thighs, I like to cook them over medium heat with some soy sauce, our Penang Curry and a dash of fish sauce for a southeast Asian flare. My go to meatballs are simply beef, a little flour, some egg, and any Teeny Tiny Spice. And hard-boiled eggs can be made one day, peeled, and kept in the fridge all week long. I take about 30-40 minutes to make all three of these, then store in the fridge.
- Step 2: Eat More Veggies: This is where you can get a TON of variety in your bowls. Head to the store or farmers market, grab all of your favorite vegetables, then decide which ones you'll roast and which you'll keep raw. Go ahead and wash and cut the veggies that you'll keep raw, and store them in the fridge ready to go. Having them prepped this way will cut time during meal making. For my raw veggies, I like to keep bell pepper strips, shredded carrots, jicama, green onion, and arugula or some other leafy green on hand. Next take the veggies you'll roast, and pair them up with a spice blend. I like to roast sweet potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, riced cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, cabbage, and onions, all in different Teeny Tiny Spice blends at about 400 degrees until softened and beginning to brown. Pack them up and store with the rest of your bowl ingredients for later. You can do several different kinds on one large baking sheet to maximize space and save time by doing so.
- Step 3: Top THAT!: Time for some serious toppings. I like to make one or two sauces for my bowls each week. Two of my favorites are our Creamy Asian Cashew Sauce, and our Red Pepper Harissa. Alternatively, you can keep it extra simple and just combine some tahini (sesame seed butter) with lemon juice and drizzle on top before serving, or use your favorite salsa, salad dressing, or hot sauce. Another favorite topping of mine is avocado, and a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
- Put it All Together! Now that you have all of your elements prepped, you're ready to bowl! Grab a large bowl, and begin building with your leafy greens. Next add in your roasted veggies, your raw veggies, then your protein. Finally, drizzle with your sauce from Step 3, and add your favorite toppings. Play around to find what combinations your enjoy most! Try different ratios with each bowl, for example, one day you might want more roasted veggies and less crunch, while other days, the bowl might resemble more of a traditional salad. You can prep as few or as many elements for Steps 1, 2, and 3, as you like, but I typically think 5-12 will keep things interesting, yet not cost you too much time during your prep day.
Check out our bowls!
As you can see in the photo, we've got some arugula, roasted brussels sprouts, sautéed cauliflower rice covered in our British Curry, roasted broccoli dusted with our Perfection Spice, raw pepper slices, carrots, roasted asparagus, pickled onions, and a light tahini lemon sauce.
To assemble this plant packed bowl, I first layered the arugula and cauliflower rice, topped it with broccoli, sprouts, peppers, carrots, onions, and asparagus before topping it with avocado, a few almonds, a few raisins, a sprinkle of our Za'atar and some seeds. I poured a little bit of coconut aminos (similar to soy sauce) into the avocado for another little flavor boost.