Have you ever heard of a Buddha Bowl?
There are lots floating around lately in the healthy eating world. This website gives some examples as well as this definition from Urban Dictionary:
buddha bowl (n). a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a buddha
I am an 80/20 girl when it comes to healthy eating/indulgence, with delicious flavors a requirement 100% of the time and a weakness for anything French. But, I love feeling great, so sometimes I need to make a big batch of this quinoa salad to have in the fridge for the week. Plus, one pot/bowl cooking makes life easy.
And, my husband loves this dish.
The basic building blocks of a buddha bowl are:
1. Grains – if you are eating legumes, use whatever you like. I love how the quinoa has protein and absorbs the dressing, but black beans, lentils, etc. are all great. I added chick peas too because I love them.
2. Protein – you can add your favorite meat or beans or tofu as well. I counted the quinoa and chick peas as protein.
3. Something Crunch – I used carrots and celery in this one, but nuts, onions, seeds, asian noodles, etc. are all yummy.
4. Something Creamy – avocado, feta, mozzarella, goat cheese, are all good options. Hummus and dairy based dips are yummy too. Noodles also offer a creamy element.
5. Veggies – roasted veggies have a concentrated flavor, so I tend to love them, and nutty cauliflower is my favorite right now. I often make a big batch of roasted veggies on a Sunday and use them up during the week. Any raw veggies, lettuces, sprouts, and marinated veggies are all great too.
6. Dressing – lots of buddha bowls use tahini dressing but I went with more mediterranean flavors. I make it with Asian flavors too, and you can even stir store-bought pesto into the quinoa with yummy results. (Basil mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes go very well with this dressing.)
**I like to make sure I have something acidic – the dressing, olives, capers, etc. But my husband doesn’t love olives and capers so I add them myself.
The thing that gives this dish its flavor is the dressing, and when you add it to the warm quinoa, it absorbes all that goodness. Balsamic vinegar, dijion and garlic are are mixed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper – pretty simple. If you have favorite homemade dressing ingredients – lemon, shallots, scallions – you really can’t go wrong, but my husband loves balsamic so that’s what I use. It also gets better every day it sits.
Quinoa with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Roasted Veggies (printer version here):
2 onions, sliced into rings
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 carrots, diced
2 celery, diced
feta or goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 425.
Bring one cup water to boil, then add 2 cups of quinoa. (Cook according to package directions, usually for 15 min).
For Dressing (I use a 1:1 ratio for oil and vinegar, use what you prefer):
¼ cup balsamic vinaigrette
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed in garlic press
salt and pepper
Toss half of dressing with quinoa as soon as it is done cooking. Set aside in large bowl.
For Roasted Veggies (select 2 or 3 veggies):
Slice or cut up veggies in as uniform a size as possible for even cooking.
I used cauliflower, onions and cherry tomatoes.
Sprinkle with EVOO, salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through.
Assemble Bowl: Stir quinoa, roasted veggies, chopped veggies and chick peas together. Add additional dressing to coat all ingredients. Sprinkle with feta or goat cheese, and capers if desired.