Friday, April 21, 2017

8 hearty Buddha bowls


Macro bowls, hippie bowls, Buddha bowls, rainbow bowls...... many names for this amazingly beautiful, colorful and delicious assembly of nutritious food. Make one of these versatile bowls for any meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner. Start with a healthy grain and top with some protein, add some colorful roasted/sauteed veggies, add something raw for freshness, and drizzle with a dressing or dip to tie all the flavors together. Lastly sprinkle something for texture. 

There are actually no rules to assembling these awesome bowls. Choose foods from several food groups and be sure to include a variety of colors and textures for a nutritious and aesthetically pleasing ensemble. So you can add all your favorite ingredients and incorporate flavors you love. Experiment with herbs, spices and dressings and design combinations that suit your family's taste buds. For dinner you can lay out all the different components on the table and allow each family member to assemble their own meal. This is especially fun for kids. 

Here is a simple guide to get you started on making your very own Buddha Bowls.
Grains - Choose from wheat, oats, any type of rice, barley, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, couscous and corn. Great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. 
Protein - Choose from Chicken, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, etc. 
Cooked veggies - Roast, steam or saute leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens), broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, eggplant slices, peas, carrots, cauliflower. Flavor with garlic powder, paprika, ground cumin, herbs, salt. For extra filling roast sweet potato, potato, yams, pumpkin, raw banana or plantain.  
Raw stuff - Add freshness by choosing fresh fruits and veggies. Cut up veggies such as radish, tomatoes, celery, avocado, beets, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, baby spinach, mixed salad greens. Include seasonal fruit like mango, berries, orange, pineapple, grapes, pomegranate, kiwi, fresh figs and apple.
Extras - Add toppings for varied texture and flavor. Include any of these - nuts and seeds; dried fruit like apricots, figs, cranberries; your favorite cheese such as feta, cheddar; pickled stuff like olives, peppers. 
Dressing - Any dressing and/or sauce of your choice. Some examples are simple vinaigrette, hummus, guacamole, tapenade, pesto sauce, salsa, mint chutney, maple syrup, honey.    
    
Here are some that I created for my family in the past weeks. Get assembling and have fun. Enjoy your healthy and delicious bowl.


Quinoa Buddha Bowl
Green Quinoa with kale, roasted yam slices, baby spinach, pineapple, beets, olives and jalapeno peppers with hummus and a sprinkle of lime juice. Healthy hearty lunch bowl.
To make the quinoa, add some chopped kale to the boiling quinoa pan along with seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil. Peel and slice the yams, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and oregano and roast them in the oven at 400 F for 20 minutes.


Soba noodles Bowl
Soba noodles are spaghetti like Japanese noodles made of either all buckwheat flour or a combination of wheat and buckwheat. Cook them according to package directions and then flavor them with sesame oil, soy sauce and sriracha sauce. In this lovely and delicious bowl I have soba noodles with shredded carrots, sauteed mushrooms and roasted broccoli, steamed edamame, roasted peanuts and a small hot Thai chili, all drizzled with a heaped tablespoon of teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds. This one will satisfy you to the core.

Falafel Buddha Bowl
Chick pea fritters or falafels, the well known Middle eastern street food. Easy to make at home and can be served in different ways. Serve them with a dip as party appetizers, inside a wrap or pita pocket with all the fix ins, or just serve them over salad. These pack well for lunch, just keep the yogurt dip separately. A great vegetarian dish. In this bowl I have mixed greens, carrots, cucumber, tomato slices, avocado and kiwi.
A healthy wholesome vegetarian lunch option.
Detailed recipe for falafels here



Zucchini Fritters
My take on the zucchini fritters, using ingredients from the Indian pantry and keeping it strictly vegetarian. These quick and easy savory pancakes are perfect for breakfast or snack or as a component of my vegetarian Buddha lunch bowl. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or sour cream flavored with garlic and herbs. A few handful of ingredients and you get yourself a wholesome platter of goodness.
Detailed recipe here.


Cedar planked Tilapia
Fish cooks in its own moist juices, infused with the sweet smokiness of the cedar plank. A must try recipe this summer. Here I marinated tilapia fillets with olive oil and mustard. To balance the tartness of the mustard I drizzled a little ice wine syrup. The light sweetness of this syrup tastes awesome on this smoked grilled tilapia. Serve over crisp lettuce with grilled broccoli and mushrooms and a side of pineapple wedges. A totally wholesome and delicious lunch Buddha bowl.
Detailed recipe here.
Tofu Buddha bowl 
This here is an assembly of all things you love. Pan fried seasoned firm tofu flavored with your favorite spice/marinade and a bunch of raw produce. I have cucumber and carrot sticks, ripe mango chunks, sauteed corn and figs with guacamole and peanut garlic hot sauce. 
Fish in ginger garlic sauce, braised Bok choy
If you like Mandarin style Chinese food then this is a fare you will love. The simplicity of the dishes and the combination of flavors just delights the palette. Makes you feel good about consuming so many veggies. The crunchy stalks of Bok choy are crisp with a subtle peppery flavor. A great source of vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. Use a firm white fish for this recipe catfish, snapper, tilapia or halibut. 
Find the detailed recipe here.

Chicken Burrito Bowl
This is a deconstructed burrito, largely inspired by Chipotle's burrito bowl. Rice is aromatic with a wonderful lime flavor, black beans are simmered in garlic and cumin, peppers have a charred grilled taste, corn adds the sweetness. I have listed several toppings and you can choose all or a few to make this your own. Omit chicken to make it vegetarian. Tangy salsa, creamy guacamole and a dollop of sour cream makes this a meal to relish. Don't forget the pickled banana peppers. For a taste variation try a different cheese such as feta or Havarti. 
Detailed recipe here

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
This one here has herbaceous brown rice, garlic and cumin flavored black beans, grilled multi colored peppers, pico de gallo, few slices of tangerine, cubed feta and hot pickled banana pepper.