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How to Make the Ultimate Buddha Bowl

These healthy, hearty bowls are a delicious way to eat more veg—and they look great, too!

Someone, somewhere at some point labeled their bowl of healthy, colourful veggies and grains a “Buddha bowl,” and the name stuck. Some say Martha Stewart was the first to make the reference, but regardless of its origin the Buddha bowl has picked up steam in recent years as food trends sway toward whole grains and plant-based diets (get our top veggie-forward recipes here)—and the convenience of an all-in-one meal. Designed to accommodate an interesting variety of flavours, textures and colours, Buddha bowls make perfect top-down Instagram fodder, particularly among wellness bloggers and people who love to show off their lunch.

So, what is it? Really, it can be made with any number of ingredients, piled into a bowl (although if it’s labeled a Buddha bowl, it should probably be vegetarian). There are no hard and fast rules, but here’s a rough guide on how to make one at home—just start with an empty bowl.

1. Lay the Foundations

Grains make a great base. Try quinoa, farro, wheat berries, barley or brown rice, cooked just until tender. You can cook them in advance and stash them in the fridge for last-minute Buddha bowl assembly.

2. Use Your Leftovers

Those steamed or roasted veggies from the night before are perfect fodder for a Buddha bowl. Try adding a chopped up baked potato or roasted squash rings.

Don’t be afraid to get creative—Buddha bowls are entirely customizable. (Photo: Mariana Medvedeva, Unsplash.)

3. Try Alllll the Veg

Go for variety with your veggies. In their raw form, add as many colours and textures as you can: torn kale, chard or spinach; grated carrots, kohlrabi and beets; thinly sliced Brussels sprouts or cabbage; radishes, edamame, zucchini ribbons, chopped green onions, torn fresh herbs or microgreens. Anything goes, in any combination.

4. Add Some Protein

Try cold cooked lentils, kidney beans or chickpeas (canned are fine, rinsed and drained)—the combination of beans and grains makes a complete protein.

5. Put an Egg On It

It’s always satisfying to top bowls of things with a poached, fried or even soft-boiled egg, but it’s up to you.

Roasted squash rings are a great addition to any Buddha bowl.

6. Sprinkle on Some Crunch

Pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), chopped almonds, walnuts, pistachios or cashews add crunch, and some salt (if they’re salted).

7. Dress It Up

A Buddha bowl can be pretty dry without some sort of dressing; drizzle any vinaigrette you love overtop, add a blop of tzatziki or whip up a quick, garlicky tahini sauce.

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