Anatomy of a Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls, macro bowls, hippie bowls, whatever you want to call them, I love them!  But what exactly are they?

Buddha bowls are dishes (yes, served in bowls) that are made up of grains, greens, veggies, protein and fats.  They may or may not have started out as a vegan dish, but it’s not uncommon to see eggs or even lean meats in Buddha bowls today.   I like that there’s more variety in a Buddha bowl than in a salad (which is like 70% lettuce).  There’s also a ton of flavour and texture, which can keep things exciting.

If you Google how the Buddha bowl got its name, you’ll get answers ranging from:

  • It actually has nothing to do with Buddha
  • The bowl is supposed to resemble Buddha’s belly (
  • When Buddha walked through villages, locals would put what food they could into the bowl he was carrying

Buddha bowls are my go-to lunch choice.  I bring them to the office, I make them at home, and I order them when I’m out for lunch or dinner.

Here’s how to build one:

  1. Base layer – this is typically a whole grain, but could also be some leafy greens for a lighter dish.  Try brown rice, millet or faro.  Quinoa and buckwheat are popular choices, but are not actually grains.  Shh 😛
  2. Add some veggies – use both raw and roasted veggies.  I love using raw cucumbers, tomatoes and bell peppers alongside roasted sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.  You can also add sautéed mushrooms with onions and garlic.  Layer that flavour!
  3. Plant-based protein – typical options are tofu or edamame, but I try to stay away from soy.  I use chickpeas (try them roasted!), lentils or falafels. // For a not so plant-based option, use hard-boiled eggs or even some organic meats.
  4. Don’t forget the fat – healthy fats are a must in Buddha bowls.  Try some avocado slices, or even a nice scoop of homemade guacamole.
  5. Dress it up – with a dollop of hummus, Tzatziki or baba ganoush.  You can use tahini, lemon juice and olive oil, pesto, or any of your favourite dressing or dip.
  6. Add some toppings – try sliced almonds or chopped peanuts or cashews.  Sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds add great flavour too.  Chilli flakes bring the heat and micro greens add great colour.

Get as much colour in there as possible and eat that rainbow.  The more colour, the more nutrients.

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