Sometimes dubbed as macro or hippie bowls, Buddha bowls have become a food trend with staying power. People love the concept of a single bowl of nourishing foods joined together by a sauce or dressing of their choosing. Perhaps the best part of buddha bowls is that they can be customized to suit your taste. Though traditionally vegetarian, mainstream foodies are adopting the Buddha bowl platform and adding ingredients like lean meats and seafood. Tasty and satisfying, the best buddha bowls are healthy meal options, too!

What Are Buddha Bowls?

Traditionally, people served buddha bowls in high-rimmed plates or bowls. Frequently, ingredients included vegetarian options like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. A dressing or sauce such as tahini melds the ingredients together. Often, the creator arranges the ingredients in an artful presentation that’s visually inviting. Many of the best buddha bowls rely on healthful ingredients, which makes them a terrific meal option for dieters or people who want to eat healthily.

what are Buddha bowls

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Where Are Buddha Bowls from?

Buddha bowls appear to have arisen from the macrobiotic diet. Suddenly, restaurants were renaming their bowls of whole grains and steamed veggies “buddha bowls.” Because the bowls have been popular with the yoga crowd, food historians believe the concept of mindfulness and balance, important to the Buddha, inspired this meal idea. So, the concept of the Buddha bowl was born. Although these bowls began as vegan and vegetarian meal options, they’ve evolved to allow for other ingredients like meats and fish. Diners can customize ingredients to make their buddha bowl exactly how they want it.

diet Buddha bowls

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Harissa-Sauced Roasted Butternut Squash Buddha Bowl

Brimming with red-pepper infused harissa sauce, the roasted butternut squash buddha bowl is a winning recipe that also features brown rice, chickpeas, avocado slices, and a vibrant helping of greens. Butternut squash is full of with health benefits -- it supports eye health, reduces high blood pressure, and eases inflammation. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, you can substitute in other foods that blend well with the squash like pecans, walnuts, or brussels sprouts.

squash Buddha bowls

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Quinoa and Avocado Buddha Bowl

Vegan-friendly, the quinoa and avocado buddha bowl features lemon-infused tahini sauce that’s sure to brighten every bite. Add support ingredients like brussels sprouts (sautéed in olive oil) and cooked arugula to create a delicious bowl that brims with fiber, protein, folate, vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. Avocados, in particular, are loaded with heart-healthy fats and known to help boost the immune system and enhance digestion.

avocado Buddha bowls


Moroccan-Inspired Buddha Bowl

Indulge in the bright flavors of Marrakech with a Moroccan-inspired buddha bowl brimming with couscous, cooked chickpeas, sliced aubergine, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and black olives. Top with a few slices of preserved lemon and season with cumin, paprika, chili, and chopped garlic. Add fresh mint for garnish. Mix everything up with some good olive oil and enjoy. Chickpeas are filling as well as nutritious, which makes them an ideal food for weight loss.

rice bowls

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Balsamic Chicken Buddha Bowl

Balsamic-glazed grilled chicken takes center stage as a protein infuser in this tasty buddha bowl. Other delicious players include lemon quinoa, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onion, flat parsley, feta cheese, and other assorted greens. Make the dressing using balsamic vinegar and garlic olive oil for a Mediterranean-inspired one-bowl meal. If you prefer to keep things vegetarian, substitute the chicken with tofu or mushrooms.

types of Buddha bowls


Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Buddha Bowl

Create a Baja-inspired buddha bowl with ingredients like jumbo shrimp sautéed in olive oil along with cilantro and lime juice. Then create a slaw with shredded purple cabbage and carrots tossed with Greek yogurt dressing that also features a hint of lime and garlic. Round out the meal with some brown rice, red and yellow bell pepper slices, avocado slices, and a sprinkling of coconut for garnish. Greek yogurt is full of probiotics, which makes this Buddha bowl a great digestive helper.

shrimp Buddha bowls


Thai-Inspired Buddha Bowl

Bring the flavors of Thailand to your bowl to create a mouthwatering meal perfect for lunch or dinner. The star of this bowl is the dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, lime juice, and orange zest. To the bowl, you’ll want to add roasted vegetables like carrots, peppers, and sweet potato. A cup of edamame and some chopped red cabbage will infuse more nutrition and flavor into the bowl. As a final flourish, mix in some fresh cilantro and peanuts.

thai Buddha bowls

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Kid-Friendly Breakfast Buddha Bowls

The bright colors and fruity flavors of this Buddha bowl will entice kids to munch. Make some overnight vanilla oats with old-fashioned oats, vanilla extract, milk, and Greek yogurt. Add these ingredients in a jar and refrigerate for about four hours. When putting your Buddha bowl together, add slices of banana, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries for a wallop of flavor and nutrition. Other ingredients kids (and adults) are sure to love include sliced almonds, cocoa nibs, and a touch of peanut butter and honey.

breakfast Buddha bowls


Harvest Buddha Bowl

Get the flavor of delicious apple cider in this harvest-themed bowl that includes ingredients like sliced apples, roasted sweet potato (or butternut squash), kale, and cashews. Topped with a dressing of creamy cashew and apple cider vinegar, this bowl will give your taste buds a zing. Round out this dish with quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and chickpeas. Don’t forget to add some autumn-inspired flavors like nutmeg and cinnamon to infuse more flavor into your meal.

Buddha bowls


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