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How to: make buddha bowls packed with nutrition and flavour

What makes a good nutrition bowl?

Everybody is different and every body needs different types and amounts of nutrients. However, we all need a balanced diet so when it comes to making a buddha bowl, it is important to keep in mind that you'll want it to include the different food groups: protein, fat, carbohydrates and vegetables.

The best base for a buddha bowl is a grain or complex carbohydrate like quinoa, brown rice or sweet potato. When you chose one of these carbs you'll be filling your body with something that is dense, filling and contains plenty or micro nutrients. Quinoa is filled with protein, fat and fibre so it's a healthy choice all round. In contrast, sweet potato has less protein and fat, but it's packed with beta carotene which is great for a healthy immune system and skin.

Building on this, next you'll want to choose a good source of protein. Good sources of vegan protein include foods such as; chickpeas, tofu and tempeh.

After this, you need to think about where you're going to get a source of healthy fat. One of my favourite sources of healthy fats and omega three fatty acids is avocado. You can also introduce seeds, nuts and hummus to your bowl as they're packed with healthy oils and fats too.

To finish off your bowl you'll want to include vegetables that are dense in specific types of nutrients. Spinach and kale are rich in Vitamin K and they contain iron too which can sometimes be hard to find in a vegan diet. This is why I usually opt for a leafy green and then I'll have something like carrot or pepper as well.

The key to making a good buddha bowl is to suit it around your specific needs and requirements. You'll also want it to taste good so you another important thing to think about is how you're going to season your food. You could marinate it, make a dressing or introduce a dip like hummus or baba ganoush. The bowl I made below had a curry inspired flavour as I love curry and spice. The best things to marinate or dress will always be your carbs and protein so that's where I added the flavour. The edamame and avocado introduced some texture and even if the concept was a bit odd, the whole dish melded together really well.

Curry inspired bowl

For this bowl I cooked up some brown rice (about 1 cup) and added some curry powder and salt to the water. I then roasted some sweet potatoes (70 grams) with cumin and olive oil. On top of my brown rice I put avocado, sprouts, edamame, the roast potato and curry flavoured tempeh. Afterwards I drizzled some sriracha on top.

Macro nutrient breakdown:

Carbohydrates: 75 grams

Protein: 19 grams

Fat: 20 grams

Health Benefits:

Brown rice is high in manganese.

Alfalfa sprouts are high in Vitamin K.

Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin B-6.

Edamame and brown rice is high in folate

Avocado contains omega 3 fatty acids.

Other bowl ideas:

Base: Quinoa

Protein: Tofu and chickpeas

Fat: Hummus

Vegetables: Spinach and red pepper

Flavour? Marinate and cook the tofu and chickpeas in paprika and use a paprika and red pepper hummus to add to the overall flavour.

Base: Sweet potato

Protein: Falafel

Fat: Sunflower seeds

Vegetables: Tomatoes, shaved carrot, spinach

Flavour: Tahini dressing with agave nectar (this also adds some more protein and fat to the mix).