How to Make a Buddha Bowl

This post is part of a series with Love Local Food, highlighting recipes and tips for some of the awesome ingredients in their weekly local food boxes! They are a new company here in the Comox Valley with a passion for supporting local businesses. They offer no contact order and delivery to connect you with some of the amazing food vendors we have in our area.

Buddha bowls seem to be everywhere these days – today we are going to talk about how to make one of these delicious and nourishing meals! First things first, what exactly is a Buddha bowl? It’s a one-dish meal that includes grains, protein, plenty of veggies, and sauce – you’ve got yourself a balanced meal in a bowl.

Where did the name come from? According to various sources around the internet, it might refer to the way Buddha would walk around with an empty bowl, gathering bits and pieces of food from local people that they could spare to give him. At the end of the day, he would eat this pile of assorted food. Other sources claim the bowl itself, filled with a pile of food, looks like a rounded Buddha belly.

How to Make a Buddha Bowl

First I’m going to go through the basic components of a Buddha bowl, so you can feel free to use your favourite foods or ingredients you might have on hand. I’ll also link to some recipes at the end, in case you’re looking for a bit more specific guidance!

Start with Some Grains

Buddha bowls usually involve some kind of whole grain. A common choice is brown rice. You could also try quinoa, farro, or any other type of grain you enjoy. Noodles also make a tasty base for a bowl – like soba (buckwheat) noodles or rice noodles.

Add Some Protein

Buddha bowls typically use plant-based sources of protein, but you can also make them with chicken, beef, fish, or whatever you prefer! There are tons of different options:

  • tofu (for a dish like this where I am going to be adding a flavourful sauce, I often keep it simple just by frying the tofu in some oil until crispy. You can also try different marinades to bump up the flavour of the tofu itself)
  • chickpeas (these are great roasted!)
  • beans or lentils
  • edamame

Add a Rainbow of Veggies

There are so many different options for flavour and texture combinations when you play around with adding different vegetables. I like adding a mix of cooked (e.g., roasted or steamed) vegetables with fresh, raw vegetables.

Examples of cooked vegetables you could include are: broccoli, cauliflower, beets, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, onions, bok choy, zucchini.

Vegetables that make a nice addition in their raw form include: greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.), microgreens, radishes, cucumber, tomato, avocado, green or red onions, cabbage.

Other Toppings & Sauce!

If you are making your Buddha bowl with the Downtown Courtenay Edition of the Love Local Food Box, you’re in luck because it already includes the delicious Buddha dressing (with ginger, miso & sesame) from Atlas Cafe. Drizzle some of this on top of your bowl and enjoy.

If you’re making your own sauce, here are a couple recipes to try:

Other toppings you can add include sesame seeds, kimchi, cilantro, lime wedges, hot sauce (like chili garlic sauce or Sriracha) – get creative and experiment with different flavours!


What are your favourite Buddha bowl combinations? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!