The Buddha Bowl

Where did the name ‘Buddha Bowl’ come from, anyway? If you’ve been on Instagram in the last 5 years, chances are you’ve seen these colorful bowls, packed with plant-based goodness like grains, legumes, steamed and raw veggies, and flavorful sauces. According to a 2017 Epicurious article by Katherine Sacks, the name could come from how Buddha collected alms, using a large bowl to gather small bits of food that the residents of whatever village he was staying in could afford to share.

Prep these simple components ahead of time to pack this healthy buddha bowl for lunch, or make it for an easy weeknight dinner! Can be vegan and gluten-free.

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Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins | Total Time: 35 mins | Serves 4

Use one item from each of these categories, but feel free to change it up however you would like. These bowls are so versatile and you really can add anything.

A delicious sauce – I made a vibrant turmeric tahini sauce. It’s my favorite type of creamy sauce in that it doesn’t require a blender, so you can stir it together in no time. And if you have leftovers, you’re in luck! This colorful sauce tastes great on everything.
Cooked vegetables – Roasted sweet potatoes were my pick.
Raw vegetables – Watermelon radish, rainbow carrots, and red cabbage give this buddha bowl recipe a huge pop of color!
Leafy greens – Bring on the kale.
A legume – I chose my go-to plant-based protein: chickpeas!
A grain – I used brown rice, but if you don’t have any on hand, feel free to substitute white rice.
A pickled vegetable – I used sauerkraut, but pickled carrots, beets, or even cucumbers are great!
A meat – totally optional, but if you need a little more protein add some chicken, salmon, beef… whatever you think would be the tastiest!

These components all keep nicely in the fridge if you want to meal prep this recipe for lunch during the week.

1 large sweet potato, cubed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 watermelon radish or 2 red radishes
2 medium carrots
1 cup shredded red cabbage
Squeeze of lemon
8 kale leaves, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa (refer to detox breakfast recipe for instructions on how to cook)
1 cup cooked chickpeas or cooked lentils
¾ cup sauerkraut or other fermented veggie
2 tablespoons sesame seeds or hemp seeds
Turmeric Tahini Sauce, for serving
Chicken, salmon, or other meat (optional)
Microgreens (optional)
Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread onto the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Thinly slice the radish into rounds (this is best done on a mandoline), and use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots into ribbons.
  • Toss the radish slices, carrots, and shredded cabbage with a squeeze of lemon. Set aside.
  • Place the kale leaves into a large bowl and toss with a squeeze of lemon and a few pinches of salt. Use your hands to massage the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half.
  • Assemble individual bowls with the brown rice, chickpeas, kale, carrots, radishes, cabbage, sweet potatoes, sauerkraut, sesame seeds, and microgreens, if using. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the Turmeric Tahini Sauce.

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