Since doing my gut health cleanse back in August I have become a little bit obsessed with making Buddha bowls for lunch or dinner. Buddha bowls, sometimes referred to as hippie or macro bowls, are a hearty, nutrient dense dish usually filled with a mix of veggies, protein, healthy grains, nuts and seeds, but you can just about add anything you want to them. These Instagram-worthy bowls have been the one thing keeping me sane as I try to tone up before summer arrives. They keep me full for hours after and don’t leave me craving sugary snacks in the afternoon or after dinner, and I can tell you that you won’t fbe feeling left out of pizza night when you’re eating a big ol’ bowl of yummy, nutritious foods. Sunday is usually my family’s meal prep day and I will often cook up a few trays of roasted veggies while my Mum makes a batch of homemade basil pesto and cashew aioli to use as flavour boosters. I also boil up a big pot of brown rice and cook off a tin or two of lentils in the fry pan with some spices. These bowls will save you so much time during the lunch hour rush or if you hate cooking dinner. I’ve written a few categories below that you’re going to want to choose a few ingredients from to make up your own Buddha bowl.
For your base you’re gonna want to include some leafy greens and something with some substance to keep you feeling full. I usually opt for some wilted kale seasoned with salt and pepper and a couple of spoonfuls of brown rice. I always place my brown rice in the centre of the bowl and start to work outwards from there – so I’ll place my kale or greens on the side and work around the rice. A few other options you could include are lettuce, baby spinach leaves, watercress, snow pea sprouts (my favourite) raw slaw mix, buckwheat or barley and any sort of beans.
Vegetables are without-a-doubt my favourite part of Buddha bowls because you can cook them so many different ways. I keep a container full of roasted veg in the fridge ready to go and then heat it up in the microwave but you can always roast some up an hour before you want to eat. Sweet potato and cauliflower are my go-to’s but I’ve recently been into roasting carrot and capsicum. Of course you can still eat raw veg but I love the sweetness that roasting them gives. Here are a few vegetable options to try: roast pumpkin, sliced capsicum, cherry tomatoes, avocado, grated carrot, mini cucumbers, shredded cabbage, zucchini noodles and fresh corn off the cob.
It’s super important to get some protein into your midday meal to keep your energy levels up throughout the afternoon and through to dinner. I tend to only include meat when I’ve got leftovers already in the fridge otherwise I won’t bother, but grilled chicken or ground beef mince are great options. You can also get you protein from other sources including eggs, cooked whatever way you like, I prefer boiled when adding to a Buddha bowl. Lentils, chickpeas, quinoa and tofu can also be used as protein for a vegetarian or vegan alternative. My favourite way to enjoy lentils are to fry off a tin with some spices like cumin, paprika, garam masala and sumac.
Flavour boosters are what’s gonna tickle your taste buds and encourage you to eat something nutritious rather than a greasy slice of pizza. Fresh herbs are awesome and pack a punch! I love basil, coriander and parsley finely chopped and sprinkled over the top. As I mentioned before my Mum will often have a jar of homemade basil pesto and cashew aioli in the fridge and I love to put a dollop of each in my bowl. A few more options you could include are feta or goats cheese, tahini, fresh guacamole, anything pickled (great for gut health), homemade tomato salsa, sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds and a wedge of a lemon or lime.