This Buddha bowl recipe is hearty, nutritious, and comforting! It’s packed with veggies, whole grains, and an irresistible maple tahini sauce. Serve this vegan and gluten-free recipe for a filling lunch or gourmet dinner.
When I am in the mood for something nourishing that I know will make my body feel good, Buddha bowls are the answer. They are versatile, healthy, and packed with good-for-you ingredients.
Wondering what is a buddha bowl? Buddha bowls are said to have received their name due to the balanced nature of the meal. They are typically vegetarian or vegan, can have all types of ingredients, and are atypically made with a combination of whole grains, vegetables, proteins, and fats.
This bowl recipe has my favorite combination of steamed quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes, red onions, chickpeas, and cauliflower as the warm and cozy base. With the addition of tender kale, buttery avocados, and homemade maple tahini sauce, this is one seriously satisfying meal.
Buddha bowls are ideal for meal prep since you can throw everything into a bowl for a quick lunch or dinner. You can even customize the ingredients completely to suit your preferences and tastes!
Why You'll Love this Buddha Bowl
- Easy: Almost the entire recipe is prepared on one single baking sheet. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
- Healthy: This Buddha bowl is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients like kale, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. It will definitely keep you full and satisfied for hours!
- Customizable: Buddha bowls are one of the most customizable recipes you can make! Swap the grain, switch the veggies, choose a different green, or add a different protein.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make this tasty buddha bowl at home.
- Sweet potato: Add a creamy and sweet flavor. Orange-skinned sweet potatoes retain moisture the best, but purple or white sweet potatoes are also delicious.
- Red onion: Once roasted, the pungency of red onions transforms into a sweet, caramelized flavor. If you don’t have red onions, use white or yellow.
- Olive oil: To roast the vegetables and create a crispy, golden-brown exterior. Avocado or grapeseed oil also work.
- Seasonings: You can never go wrong with a classic mix of garlic powder, smoked or regular paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper on roasted vegetables. You can also play around with coriander, cinnamon, cayenne, or red pepper flakes.
- Chickpeas: Use canned for convenience, or try making your own from dried for an ultra-creamy and buttery texture.
- Cauliflower: Buy a whole head of cauliflower and cut it into florets yourself for the best results. Broccoli is another great option!
- Quinoa: Makes up the base of the Buddha bowl. Feel free to use your favorite grain like white or brown rice, farro, or barley.
- Kale: Adds hearty textures and flavors. If you want, you can try other leafy greens like chard, collard greens, or spinach.
- Avocado: Provides silky smooth, creamy, and buttery textures in each bite. No avocado available? Substitute it with a dollop of hummus for a similar effect.
- Cabbage: Shredded red cabbage adds a fresh bite that balances the richness of the other ingredients. You can also use green cabbage, pickled onions, or green onions.
- Sauce: We love the combination of tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, and sesame oil to top our Buddha bowls. Make sure to use runny tahini whenever possible! These are also so good with peanut sauce.
How to Make a Buddha Bowl
Follow these steps to make these tasty and nourishing bowls.
1. Roast the veggies
The most delicious way to serve vegetables and chickpeas in a Buddha bowl is by roasting them. Just toss them with olive oil and spices, then pop them in the oven at 400 degrees.
The sweet potatoes and onions will take longer, so start them first followed by the cauliflower and chickpeas later. Remember to keep everything in a single layer to prevent the vegetables and chickpeas from steaming.
2. Prep the other ingredients
While the vegetables and chickpeas are roasting, mix the maple tahini sauce. To achieve a more tender (and easily digestible) kale texture, massage it with a touch of lemon juice or oil.
3. Assemble the Buddha bowls
To make bowls, start with a layer of quinoa followed by sweet potatoes, red onions, chickpeas, cauliflower, kale, red cabbage, and avocado. Add a drizzle of sauce on top, then finish it off with any additional toppings you’d like!
What to Serve with a Buddha Bowl
This Buddha bowl is already packed with flavors and textures, but you can add extra garnishes to take it to the next level. Here are a few ideas:
- Nuts and seeds: A sprinkle of sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or chopped nuts.
- Extra sauce: Add a dollop of hummus, tzatziki, or this creamy chipotle sauce.
- Citrus: Freshly squeezed lime juice or lemon juice to add some zing
- Hot sauce: Make things spicy with your favorite hot sauce.
- Fresh herbs: Chopped herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, or parsley.
Storage and Reheating
Buddha bowls make for great leftovers and meal prep. Just follow these simple storage and reheating tips:
- Fridge: Keep all leftovers in airtight containers for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: Since the texture of many of the ingredients will change too much, we don’t recommend freezing it.
- Reheating: Although it's not necessary to reheat a Buddha bowl, you can heat the ingredients over low-medium on the stovetop if you’d prefer it warm.
Variations and Recipe Ideas
These bowls are endlessly versatile and there ar so many easy ways to switch things up with different proteins, grains, veggies, and sauces.
- Protein: Feel free to switch up the protein with options like crispy tofu, tempeh, grilled chicken, or salmon.
- Grains: Make these bowls with quinoa, brown rice, white rice, barley, millet, farro, or cauliflower rice.
- Dressing: If you’re not a fan of tahini, swap it for a dairy-based sauce like Creamy Avocado Dressing.
- Different legumes: Instead of roasted chickpeas, try black beans, kidney beans, Cannellini beans, Navy beans, or Lima beans.
- Vegetables: Change the flavors of your Buddha bowl by using other veggies like bell peppers, regular potatoes, brussels sprouts, butternut squash, kabocha squash, zucchini, or broccolini.
Tips for Making Buddha bowls
Follow these tips when making this recipe!
- Evenly coat: Make sure to coat the sweet potatoes, onions, chickpeas, and cauliflower evenly and thoroughly with the spice mix.
- Cut evenly: Cut the sweet potatoes, onions, and cauliflower into similar-sized pieces for an even flavor distribution and a better eating experience.
- Quality tahini: Make sure you opt for good-quality runny tahini. It makes a difference!
- Massage the kale: Before adding the kale to the bowls, don’t forget to massage it with a little oil (or lemon juice). This softens it up, making it easier to eat and digest.
- Rinse the chickpeas: Make sure you thoroughly rinse and drain the chickpeas before using them. There should be no suds left.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these tasty bowls.
Yes, this Buddha bowl is gluten-free. If you use different grains, just make sure they are also gluten-free.
Yes, you can make the sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container until you’re ready to use it.
Buddha bowls are highly nutritious and often contain a healthy balance of fiber, protein, and fat. Additionally, they’re filled with vitamins and minerals from the high concentration of vegetables.
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- 1 large sweet potato, chopped (1/2-1 inch pieces)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tsp garlic powder, divided
- 2 tsp paprika, divded (or smoked paprika)
- 2 tsp cumin, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 14 oz canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 cups cooked quinoa (or other grain)
- 4 cups kale (or other green)
- 1/2 avocado, chopped
- 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
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Bake the sweet potatoes and onions for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip over. Push them to one side. Add the chickpeas and cauliflower to the opposite side of the pan. If you are using a small baking sheet, you may need to use two so they fit in a single layer. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes until everything is tender and roasted.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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