Here's how to build your own buddha bowl using vegan, gluten-free ingredients that can mostly be cooked on a sheet pan. You'll love the tahini dressing!
How to build your own Buddha Bowl:
It only takes about 45 minutes to put it all together!
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then drizzle your vegetable options with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until fully cooked.
- Make the tahini dressing. Stir dressing ingredients together (you may need to use a blender or an immersion blender if the tahini is hard to stir).
- Prep the proteins. During this time, you can also prepare the rest of the ingredients, including cutting the tofu into cubes and marinating it.
- Cook the quinoa. While the veggies are baking, get your quinoa going with water and olive oil in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.
- Assemble the bowls. Place the veggies alongside your proteins and extras over the top of your quinoa.
- Dress it! Drizzle with the tahini dressing, then serve and enjoy!
Ingredients in Buddha Bowls
One of the great things about this recipe is all the options. It's basically a choose-your-own-adventure meal! Mix and match, or just choose a few from each category. Here's what you'll need:
Vegan Protein Options:
- Chickpeas — canned or cooked and drained
- Tofu — extra firm (check out my tasty marinade below!)
- Falafels — use store-bought to save time
- Edamame — shelled, not pods
- Sweet Potato — medium-sized, chopped into small cubes
- Mushrooms — white cremini/button mushrooms, sliced in half
- Broccoli Florets
- Cauliflower Florets
- Red Onion — sliced
- Quinoa – red is best because it holds its shape better after cooking, but white or black will work, too.
- Olive Oil
Ingredients for the dressings
The dressing is creamy, tangy, and complements the Buddha Bowl perfectly. Check out variation suggestions below!
- Lemon Juice
- Salt & Pepper
Customize the tahini dressing
- Herbs: Mix in some cilantro, parsley, or basil for a fresh taste
- Spice: Add some chili powder for a bit of heat
- Turmeric: Add some color and boost your health with turmeric
Ingredients for the tofu marinade:
- Extra Firm Tofu — drained and cut into 1″ cubes
- Tamari or Soy Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Olive Oil
Ingredient substitutions and add-ins
If you need to swap out some of the ingredients listed, go for it! Here are some delicious suggestions:
- Tofu — If you want to avoid processed tofu, try some tempeh! It'll even soak up the marinade like tofu. Just bake it with your veggies.
- Chickpeas — You can swap the chickpeas for any other bean. Just make sure they're firm and not mushy.
- Tahini — If you can't have tahini, trade it for smooth peanut butter or sunflower seed butter.
- Sweet Potato — Butternut squash makes an amazing substitute.
- Mushrooms — Not a mushroom person? Use sliced zucchini instead!
- Quinoa — Switch this out for rice, millet, or barley if you'd prefer.
Want something a little extra? Give these a whirl:
- Roasted red bell peppers
- Toasted seeds or nuts
- Shredded coconut
What makes it a buddha bowl?
A dish qualifies as a buddha bowl if it contains a plant-based combination of grains, proteins, and vegetables. The goal is to have small amounts of many ingredients, and to find balance between them.
Eating your meal this way helps to ensure it's nutritious and has varied vitamins and minerals. Being able to change it up prevents boredom, and makes it easier to eat healthy.
They're also beautiful to look at – and we eat with the eyes first!
Are buddha bowls healthy?
Because they're minimally processed and plant-based, yes. These meals are very healthy.
It's hard to go wrong when you have a bowl full of rainbow-colored vegetables!
Do buddha bowls have meat?
This dish doesn't have strict rules. While most people believe they should always be vegan, there are plenty of vegetarian versions. And yes, some people add meat to theirs.
If you decide to add meat, make sure to control the portion and maintain the balance between your ingredients.
Do you eat buddha bowls cold?
Yes and no.
It's whatever you prefer! If you want to eat them cold, that's okay! If you want them warm, that is also okay! Eat them at whatever temperature your heart desires. Depending on the ingredients you add in to your customized bowl may determine whether or not you choose to rehear the bowl or eat it cold.
Storing and reheating
These bowls work great for your weekly meal prep! Divide among 6 glass bowls, dividing the dressing and packing in separate containers. The bowls will stay fresh in the fridge for 4-5 days, and the dressing for up to seven.
Reheat them (if you want to) in the microwave to warm them up – they should be warm in 1-2 minutes.
More healthy vegetarian bowls
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning these bowls into your weekly lunches.
- Order some tahini here
Build Your Own Buddha Bowl
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can chickpeas
- 1 block extra-firm tofu see optional marinade below
- 1 cup store bought falafels
- 1 cup edamame
- 1 medium-sized sweet potato, chopped into small cubes
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced in half
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup red onion, sliced
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Nuts and seeds
- Shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pinch salt & pepper
- OPTIONAL ADD-INS TO DRESSING: cilantro, parsley, basil, turmeric or chili powder
BONUS: Marinated tofu
- 1 block extra-firm tofu
- 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Add parchment to a sheet pan, then drizzle sweet potato, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and red onion with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until fully cooked.
- Meanwhile, cook quinoa with water and olive oil in a rice cooker or on the stovetop, and stir dressing ingredients together (you may need to use a blender or an immersion blender if the tahini is hard to stir)
- During this time, you can also prepare the rest of the ingredients, including cutting tofu into cubes (if using tofu) and marinating in the ingredients listed above.
- Serve roasted vegetables over quinoa and alongside proteins and extras of choice. Drizzle with tahini dressing, then serve and enjoy!