Give your workweek lunch a boost with a simple and healthy Buddha Bowl. Made with roasted veggies, protein-packed quinoa and tofu, and a creamy tahini dressing, buddha bowls are a quick and easy vegetarian and vegan lunch recipe that will leave you glowing!
Tired of the same ol’ same ol’ for lunch every day?
Ditch that tired ham sandwich and treat yourself to a healthy, filling, and wholesome Buddha bowl.
Made with a marvelous mix of caramelized roasted veggies (including Roasted Broccoli), creamy avocado, crispy tofu, nutty quinoa, and an herby tahini dressing, Buddha bowls are a great-big bowl of feel good.
They have a generous serving of nutritious ingredients, plenty of color, and a whole lotta YUM!
You’ll be wowed by its different elements of flavor, texture, and satisfying combination of simple ingredients.
5 Star Review
“This has been my lunch this week, so good. The tahini dressing is so good!”— Jami —
If you’re not familiar with the term “Buddha bowl” you may have seen this dish on menus under the aliases: “glow bowl,” “nourish bowl,” “hippie bowl,” or “power bowl.”
All of these names cover a category of all-in-one recipes comprised of healthy ingredients served in a bowl. (Not unlike this Vegetarian Bibimbap.)
Most Buddha bowls include five key components:
- Grains. Such as rice, farro (as seen in this Italian Farro Salad), couscous, or, as with this recipe, cooked quinoa.
- Vegetables. Raw, roasted, sautéed, grilled, or a combination of all of the above, a Buddha bowl is typically LOADED with an array of healthy and colorful vitamin-pack veggies.
- Protein. Traditionally vegan or vegetarian (like this Tofu Curry), you’ll most often see Buddha bowl recipes with plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, or chickpeas.
- Nuts and Seeds. Lend crunch, a little saltiness, and healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids to keep you satisfied.
- Dressing. Adds moisture and intense flavor. While some Buddha bowl recipes opt for a light and fresh vinaigrette, others, like this recipe, go for a creamy and satisfying homemade sauce made with lemon and tahini.
However you choose to spin yours, Buddha bowls are a great way both to repurpose leftover odds and ends and to hit every food group in a single dish.
How to Make a Buddha Bowl
Learn how to make the very BEST buddha bowl recipe.
You can easily adapt it to what’s in season (or your refrigerator) and to suit your personal taste preferences.
So long as you’re hitting the five Buddha bowl elements listed above, your result is guaranteed to be delish!
- Tofu. Loaded with plant-based protein and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, tofu is my favorite protein choice for an easy buddha bowl recipe. (I also love using it in this Tofu Stir Fry.)
- Quinoa. I like to reach for a steaming serving of fluffy quinoa to sneak in a double dose of protein and added fiber. (It’s also my fav in this Quinoa Chickpea Salad.) Feel free to use any whole grain: brown rice, farro, and bulgur are all great options (try Lemon Rice for another dimension of flavor).
- Roasted Vegetables. I used a mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and red onion. All three are readily available and affordable year-round.
- Tahini. If you aren’t familiar with tahini, it’s a paste made of ground sesame seeds and has a consistency similar to natural peanut butter. Tahini is a staple in Mediterranean recipes, including hummus, and adds a lovely nutty flavor to the dressing.
- Herbs. A combination of fresh mint and parsley gives this dressing a lovely freshness and hint of gorgeous green color.
- Lemon. Brightens the dressing and adds a lovely zip.
- Toppings. A few final additions such as avocado (don’t skip this one, trust me), some fresh cucumber, and a handful of toasted almonds for crunch.
- Cook the quinoa. Press the tofu and cut it into cubes. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- On a second sheet pan, arrange the broccoli, cauliflower, and onion. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake the tofu until dry and firm, and the vegetables until caramelized and tender, about 25 minutes.
- Blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor.
- Toss the tofu cubes in a bowl with some of the dressing.
- Pile everything into a big bowl, add the avocado, other desired toppings, and serve with the remaining dressing on the side. ENJOY!
- To Store. I recommend saving the different components of the Buddha bowl (tofu, veggies, quinoa, and dressing) separately, then combining and reheating just before serving. Saved in this way, the veggies can keep for several days in the refrigerator and the tofu for 1 week. The dressing will last in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm your bowl in the microwave until heated through.
Meal Prep Tip
Prepare the veggies, tofu, quinoa, and tahini dressing on Sunday and store them in separate airtight containers. Then, combine and reheat throughout the week for an easy, filling, and wholesome lunch or weeknight dinner.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Food Processor. For whipping up the easy tahini dressing.
- Sheet Pan. You’ll need two for this recipe—one for the tofu and one for all the tasty roasted vegetables.
- Shallow Bowls. Are they bowls or are they plates? Whatever they are, I love this set of shallow bowls for serving up buddha bowls, pasta, salads, and more.
Consuming this much goodness in a single sitting is enough to make a gal feel invincible!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t enjoy the flavor of mint or cannot find fresh mint in your area, you may swap it for just about any other herb you enjoy. Fresh chopped basil or additional parsley would be my choices since they both have a bright, fresh flavor. Don’t skip the fresh herbs. They make the dressing!
Sure. While vegetarian and vegan Buddha bowls are more common and traditional, you could make this recipe with other protein options you enjoy. A buddha bowl with Grilled Chicken Breast or Baked Salmon in Foil would both be delicious. Or, try this Korean Beef Bowl.
Yes! This buddha bowl recipe, as it is written, is entirely gluten free. However, if you are particularly sensitive to gluten, I would encourage you to check your labels, particularly the labels of your quinoa, tahini, and tofu to ensure they do not contain any wheat-based additives and were processed in a certified gluten free facility to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
For the Buddha Bowl and Quinoa:
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 3/4 pound cut broccoli florets
- 3/4 pound cut cauliflower florets about 1/2 medium-sized head, cut into slightly smaller pieces than the broccoli
- 1 medium red onion cut into 1/2-inch rings, rings mostly separated but still left “chunky” (no need to split every layer)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for cooking the quinoa
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 block extra firm tofu (12 to 14-ounces) (do not use firm or silken), removed from packaged and pressed dry
- 2 small ripe Hass avocados
- Optional for serving: Sliced cucumbers and toasted almonds or pistachios, additional fresh mint and parsley
For the Tahini Dressing:
- 1/2 cup tahini* well stirred
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice about 2 large lemons
- 1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh mint leaves about 1 of the herb packs
- 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and the quinoa. Return to boil, cover, then reduce heat and simmer for 12 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, then recover and let stand for 15 minutes. (This is the cooking process for the brand of quinoa I use. Check the package of your quinoa and cook according to its directions.) Set cooked quinoa aside.
- Place a rack in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the quinoa cooks and the oven preheats, place the tofu between two kitchen towels and set it on a plate. Place a second plate on top, then press firmly to press out as much water from the tofu as you can, changing out the towels as needed. Dice into 3/4-inch cubes, then spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Place the broccoli, cauliflower, and onion on a second baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper, toss to coat, then spread into an even layer. Place both baking sheets into your oven. Bake the tofu until dry and firm, about 20 minutes, and the vegetables until caramelized and tender, about 25 minutes. Flip the vegetables once halfway through, and rotate the top and bottom rack positions of the baking sheets. Set aside.
- While the vegetables and tofu cook, prepare the dressing: In the bowl of a food processor or blender, place all of the dressing ingredients—tahini, lemon juice, mint, parsley, salt, and pepper, and add 1/2 cup water. Blend until smooth.
- Once the tofu is cooked, let cool slightly, and then place the tofu cubes in a bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing and toss gently to coat. To assemble the bowls, scoop quinoa into a bowl, then top with the roasted vegetables, dressed tofu, and avocado, along with cucumber, almonds, and additional fresh mint and/or parsley as desired. Serve remaining dressing on the side and use as a dip or spoon over the top as desired.
- TO STORE: I recommend saving the different components of the Buddha bowl (tofu, veggies, quinoa, and dressing) separately, then combining and reheating just before serving. Saved in this way, the veggies can keep for several days in the refrigerator and the tofu for 1 week. The dressing will last in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
- TO REHEAT: Assemble the buddha bowls as directed with the leftover tofu, dressing, quinoa, and roasted veggies. Warm until heated through in the microwave and then garnish as desired with additional toppings.
- TAHINI SUBSTITUTE: I haven’t tried it, but I suspect natural creamy almond, cashew, or peanut butter would be a delicious substitute for the tahini. Because nut butter is thicker than tahini, you may need to thin the dressing with additional water to reach a sauce-like consistency.
- VEGETABLE SWAPS: Not a fan (or out of) broccoli and cauliflower? Try this recipe with roasted sweet potatoes, zucchini, or any of your other favorite veggies!
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