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Looking to get more veggies in? One of my favorite ways to increase veggie intake, as well as variety, is by creating Buddha Bowls! I wanted to share some ideas to get you inspired and excited to eat your veggies!

Ok, first, if you don’t know what a Buddha Bowl is, it’s simply a bowl so full of food it’s like the rounded belly of a buddha on top. The cool part is there are limitless options to the variety of things you can put into a buddha bowl. Typically you want to have a colorful variety of vegetables, some protein, and perhaps a sauce or puree. Nice thing is you can do these vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, paleo, keto, gluten-free, Mediterranean, you name it.

You can prep things in advance as well such as roasted veggies and combine them with raw or warm, cooked veggies – prepping your food is the best way to ensure you are eating your veggies! Adding some pickled veggies can also give it a pop of flavor. Here is a list of things to choose from in veggie, protein, and sauce categories so you can look at mixing and matching things you love. 

Before diving in, I want to mention that I would recommend the following “formula”: 3-4 veggies, 1 protein, 1 sauce, and maybe 1 thing from the “other additions”. This is because the ingredients really add up and can be overkill pretty quickly. I know this from personal experience. Keep it simple and colorful!

 

Veggies

  • Greens 

Try things like thinly sliced kale or chard, spinach, arugula or if you want to get more adventurous you could try bitter greens such as dandelion greens (but you would want to add something on the sweet side to balance it).

  • Chopped/shredded raw veggies 

Some of my favorites are fresh sweet bell peppers, radishes, snow peas or young, tender pea pods, cucumber, carrot, celery, onion, cabbage, or these veggie-like fruits: cherry tomatoes and avocado.

  • Roasted or cooked veggies

Try beets, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, squash, or green beans

  • Pickled veggies

Not everyone loves pickles but those of us who do, LOVE pickles! Pretty much any veggies can be pickled, either made at home or purchased at a store or farmers market. Onions, baby carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, or capers/caper berries are some mouthwatering options. You could also use a small amount of sauerkraut or kimchi. 

  • Fresh herbs

Level the flavor profile up with fresh parsley, basil, mint, tarragon, cilantro or any kind of sprouts sprinkled on top.

 

Protein

  • Grain

Depending on whether you are doing low carb or not, grain is a great filler and of course is delicious. It also has a great profile of amino acids which make up proteins. Some good options include brown rice varieties, wild rice, quinoa, or couscous. 

  • Cooked beans

Soy beans (edamame), lentils, garbanzo beans, back beans, and kidney beans are the most common and very nutritious. I’ll also include tofu here as a bean-derived protein option which can be great as well.

  • Nuts and seeds

High in protein and very tasty, nuts add a lot to a Buddha Bowl! Any nuts either raw or roasted would be good. Probably the best choices are chopped, roasted almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans. Pistachios are also a favorite of mine, but pine nuts or cashews are great too. Some seeds kick up the savory notch as well, especially sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, or pumpkin seeds/papitas. 

  • Meat and poultry

Technically you can add any meat you want although I do tend to enjoy my Buddha Bowls as mostly vegetarian. If you want more pure protein in the form of meat, consider grilling chicken breast or steak or lamb and then slice it into half-inch slices and arrange a small amount in the bowl.

  • Seafood and shellfish

See how the options are endless? I’d say my favorite here would be prawns but you could do smoked fish or grilled tuna as an idea.

  • Eggs

This is a great protein option, especially organic, pasture raised eggs which are anti-inflammatory. Try boiled or fried for easy choices.

 

Sauces

  • Tahini

This is a delicious Mediterranean/Middle Eastern sauce made from sesame seeds. You can purchase it in a health food or specialty store store. Sometimes it can also be found in the international foods section of a regular grocery store.

  • Soy sauce

Soy-based sauces can be delicious! Use it either on its own or as a marinade or glaze lightly drizzled on top. You can also use soy-free liquid aminos/coconut aminos. Miso past is also made from soy and one of my favorite sauces would be a miso-soy “glaze”. There are many variations of this online, but you could make one simply by adding miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey to taste.

  • Curry

Curry is a blend of spices, usually Thai or Indian, in a paste or base such as coconut milk. I would recommend purchasing a curry based sauce to make it easy on yourself. You could buy a thai curry paste and add it to a little coconut milk in a saucepan to make it pourable. Store brands of Indian style curries that are easily found are Patak’s or Maya Kaimal and this Thai one. Sometimes they are spicy hot, so take caution. 

  • Salad dressings

I found a delicious recipe for carrot-ginger dressing as well as links to others such as Green Goddess or Creamy Tahini on the blog, Cookie & Kate, here is the link! But most any store-bought salad dressing could work as well!

Many sauces such as pesto and chimmichurri have tons of nutrients and are a great way to make sure you eat your veggies!

 

Other additions to make it easier to eat your veggies!

  • Drizzle of olive oil and a little flake salt
  • Olives 
  • Dried fruit such as dates, cranberries, apricot
  • Fresh fruit like strawberries or grapes
  • Squeeze of lemon or lime
  • Aged balsamic vinegar/reduction or pomegranate molasses 
  • Toasted seaweed such as nori
  • Fresh “spices” such as ginger, garlic, or hot chilies like or 
  • Dried spices such as paprika, cumin, or coriander

 

So you see how Buddha Bowls are very versatile, you could eat one everyday and never repeat. You can use them as a vehicle to eat your veggies or even a way to eat things in your fridge that may not otherwise go together.

 

If all of these options are overwhelming, here are some specific recipes you could follow that looked good to me. Enjoy and be healthy! And remember to eat your veggies!

20 vegan buddha bowls by Food and Living

Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl by Minimalist Baker

Build Your Own Buddha Bowl by Cookie & Kate

 

Read more of our blog posts about healthy eating:

Health Benefits of Eating a Regular Breakfast

Complexion-Friendly Dinner Ideas

 

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