Healthy Buddha Bowls

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Have you ever wondered where the name ‘Buddha Bowl’ come from? If you’ve been on any social media in the last several years, chances are you have seen these colorful healthy buddha bowls, packed with plant-based goodness like grains, legumes, steamed and raw veggies, and flavorful sauces. According to a 2017 Epicurious article, the name seems to possibly 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.

Before I started calling these colorful bowls “Buddha Bowls,” I knew them simply as a bowl full of goodies!

Buddha Bowl_1
Buddha Bowl

My Healthy Buddha Bowl Recipe Ingredients

To make the delicious and Healthy Buddha Bowls, I used one item from each of these categories:

  • A delicious sauce – I made a great Marinara Sauce, two cheese sauces, and some Sour Cream. They are all my favorites in that they are simple and easy to make in no time. And if you have leftovers, you’re in luck! These taste great on anything you can think of.
  • Cooked vegetables – Steamed or roasted sweet potatoes are great as are Yukon gold potatoes. All types of veggies – I like a lot of green veggies. Love broccoli and especially sugar snap peas or Brussel sprouts.
  • Raw vegetables – Have fun with the rainbow of raw veggies. Watermelon radish, carrots, peppers (all colors), and red cabbage give this buddha bowl recipe a huge pop of color!
  • Don’t forget fruit – There’s something about adding just a tad of some sweet strawberries, star fruit, blueberries, or even dragon fruit.
  • Leafy greens – Bring on the spinach, kale, and romaine.
  • A legume – My go-to plant-based protein: chickpeas or black beans!
  • Grains – I used brown rice, but if you don’t have any on hand, feel free to substitute it with brown jasmine or white rice. Quinoa is another really good grain. It’s light and fluffy.
  • A pickled vegetable –  Sauerkraut and my pickled beets! I can’t get enough of it.

These components all keep nicely in the fridge if you want to meal prep this recipe for lunch during the week. In my new book A Plant-Based Revolution Cookbook, I have a section on how to batch cook and meal prep. Batch Cooking can really save you time when you want to prep for meals during the week. If you haven’t purchased your copy you can order it directly on this site.

Healthy Buddha Bowl Recipe Variations

I love this recipe as written, but feel free to customize your buddha bowl. Here are a few of my favorite variations:

  • Vary the veggies. Replace the potato with spaghetti squash, roasted butternut squash or regular potatoes, or try a different kind of roasted veggie. Roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or beets would all be great. You can even steam or saute them. Even Micro-greens are great to use. Even steam or roast the carrots, or even boil the sweet potatoes. In the summer, my absolute favorite is grilled veggies!
  • Swap in a different protein. Try kidney beans (or any kind of beans), edamame, lentils, or top your grain bowls with cubes of crispy tofu or tempeh. For extra crunch, I add roasted chickpeas (Yum)!
  • Change up the grain. Replace the rice with quinoa, farro, or couscous. For extra veggie power, skip the grain, and swap in cauliflower rice or broccoli rice.
  • Switch the sauce. Make a different variation of my new Cheddar Sauce, Creamy Cheese Sauce, or use a different sauce entirely like salsa! I love finishing a buddha bowl with any of my dressings, and even hummus.
  • Try a different pickle. Don’t have sauerkraut on hand? Use either of my pickled beets, dill pickles, or even my new Bread and Butter pickles! You can even use pickled red onions.

Let me know what variations you try!

Buddha Bowls - A Plant-Based Revolution

Plant-Based Buddha Bowls

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 - 2 Cups salad greens (spinach, kale, spring mix, power greens)
  • 1-2 Cups raw or steamed chopped vegetables (carrots, celery, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado)
  • 1 Cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa, couscous)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Cup cooked or canned beans (black, red kidney, chickpeas - or even tofu, tempeh)


  1. Cook brown rice ahead of time.
  2. In a bowl, place a bed of greens in the bottom
  3. On top of the greens, place rice in the center, then vegetables next to one another around the rice.
  4. Top with any of my dressings, Creamy Cheese sauce, my sour cream, or even salsa

To make a Southwestern Sweet Potato Bowl:

  1. Use either broiled sweet potato chunks or mashed sweet potatoes instead of rice.
  2. Mix with a sprinkle of chili powder and cumin
  3. Add sliced tomatoes, corn, black beans, onions, guacamole, jalapeno, and a side of healthy Lime Tortilla Chips.


It's exciting to experiment with all different ingredients. Replace brown rice with potatoes, add a mix of quinoa and couscous, and have fun adding all different things to your bowl.

Did you make this recipe? We'd love to hear from you!

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Michele Wallace

Entrepreneur and author of A Plant-Based Michele has also earned her Plant-Based Nutrition Certification from eCornell University. The book is an easy and complete guide for those wanting to get healthy and offers step-by-step instructions, including over 85 delicious and healthy recipes.
A Plant-Based Revolution is dedicated to whole food plant-based nutrition.

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