Hopping onto the health food craze that has been circulating social media- Buddha bowls- has been a delicious adventure. Sadly, I could find no deep and meaningful philosophical influence behind these colourful creations. Instead the name “Buddha bowl” comes from the idea that these bowls are meant to be so jammed packed full of food that they start to curve over as the food piles up, to resemble to belly of the happy Buddha – a concept I’m sure we can all get on board with.
I first came across Buddha bowls on the health food scene of Instagram, dishes that are predominantly plant based and cater to the vegan community (but not exclusive to!). Aside from looking incredibly pretty with their colour packed ingredients, these jam-packed bowls are super nutritious and will leave you feeling satisfied all the way up until your next meal! They are really easy to make and perfect for an on-the-go lunch between lectures. Equally, they work as a quick dinner to revive you up after a long day of studying… (who are we kidding – after a long day of procrastinating). These bowls tend to have five basic components: a carb, greens, protein, extras and a dressing. However, there are really no set rules to what you put into them – feel free to freestyle! Here’s a simple recipe that you could use as a basis for your own culinary creations.
Start with the starch
Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Cut up your sweet potato into bite size chunks and drizzle them with olive oil. Add salt, pepper and chilli powder. (Feel free to substitute the chilli with other spices such as cumin, ground coriander, paprika or whatever else you fancy). Roast for about 20 minutes. Brown rice, butternut squash, quinoa, buck wheat and soba noodles are some other examples that you could use to fill up your carbohydrate portion.
Go get your greens
Personally, I like to use a handful of fresh spinach, kale or broccoli which you can eat either raw or cooked. You can roast the broccoli in the oven with your sweet potato to keep washing up to a minimum (always a bonus), chop it into small florets and keep if raw, or boil it in water for about 5 minutes. Other options could be mange tout or green beans (mixed in with pesto as a delicious extra).
Pack in that protein
Lentils, salmon, meat (such as chicken) and chickpeas are all good sources of protein to add flavour and depth to your Buddha’s belly. Make sure to throw in some herbs, spices or a squeeze of lemon with your protein to keep your taste buds tantalised.
For this part, you can literally add whatever you want. Beetroot, avocado, seeds, nuts, chopped cherry tomatoes, spring onion – go crazy and get creative. It’s your bowl so do what you want with it.
Dress it up
The typical Buddha bowl dressing of choice seems to be some sort of tahini dressing variation. Personally, I like to make mine with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and a tbsp. of maple syrup to combat the tanginess from the lemon. However, you could also add a small clove of finely chopped up garlic or do a simple balsamic vinaigrette dressing too.
[image: Atlanta Ets via Flickr]