Get Lunchtime Zen with This Buddha Bowl Meal Prep
If you're big into the health food scene, then you're already familiar with Buddha Bowls. For the last couple of years, these beautifully colorful bowls (also referred to as 'macro bowls' or 'hippy bowls') have been appearing across Instagram, veggie food blogs and in cafes the world over.
The Buddha Bowl is a lose concept- which just makes it a super easy thing to make yourself. Keep the mantra "a grain, a green and a bean" in your head and you can throw a Buddha Bowl together in no time. I've been putting together my own variations of them since 2013 and have found they make exceptionally good make-ahead lunchbox ideas. So with this simple how to guide, you can enjoy a super healthy Buddha Bowl for lunch every day of the week.
Step 1: The Grain
The first step in the Buddha Bowl meal prep is to cook your grain of choice. Chose from quinoa, millet, freekeh, buckwheat, barley, couscous, rice noodles, buckwheat noodle, rice - it's up to you!
If you want to add some variation to your each of your daily Buddha Bowls, keep the flavors of the grain neutral by cooking it plain or with some veggie stock. If you're willing to commit to a theme, you can get a little more creative i.e. make coconut rice for Asian-inspired Buddha Bowls piled high with tofu and leafy greens or make lime-cilantro quinoa for Mexican-inspired Buddha Bowls with lots of black beans and roasted sweet potato. You get the idea.
Make enough grains to last for however many Buddha Bowls you plan to eat throughout the week and store in an airtight container. For example, if you're prepping 5 Buddha Bowls for 5 working day lunches - cook 1.25 cups of quinoa with 2.5 cups of water.
Step 2: The Greens
You should definitely keep the bulk of your veggies raw so stock up on some leafy greens like spinach, kale, cabbage that you can dice up and store in an airtight container along with other fresh vegetables such as spring onions, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado and fresh herbs.
Then feel free to mix it up by prepping more vegetables in other ways to. Maybe you want to sauté some bell peppers and zucchini with garlic or roast some cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin or sweet potato. You do you!
Step 3: The Protein
As the Buddha Bowl should always be vegetarian or vegan, beans or legumes are an ideal protein source but so are tofu, tempeh, nuts and seeds. Here are a few protein ideas that will add a little pizzaz to your Buddha Bowl.
Roasted chickpeas: Drain and rinse 2 cans of chickpeas and place in a bowl with 2 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, 1.5 tsp paprika. Make sure the chickpeas are evenly coated in oil and spices then spread out on a roasting tray. Roast them in an oven heated to 204°C for 20-30 minutes until crispy.
Crispy tofu: Yes, deep-frying tofu is the best and most delicious way to achieve that super crispy texture but deep-frying also negates a lot of the health benefits of eating a Buddha Bowl in the first place. Instead, press your tofu for at least half an hour between paper towels, let it marinate with whatever you like - a little soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic etc. Let it marinate for a few minutes then toss with a little conrnstach and pan-fry the cubes in a little oil in a skillet.
Edamame: Boil a 2 cups of frozen edamame and let simmer for 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and if not already shelled, remove the beans. Store in airtight container to scatter onto Buddha Bowl.
Eggs: Placing a poached egg on top of your Buddha Bowl is a delicious way to add an extra protein hit. If you're prepping in advance, boil few eggs ahead of time and slice them up.
Step 4: Get Saucy
The final step in the Buddha Bowl meal prep is to whip up the delicious dressing to smother your Buddha Bowl in. A simple olive oil and vinegar dressing is great but why not get a little more creative? Here's a few ideas:
Garlic-tahini dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons of tahini and 2 tablespoons of water together until a thin and pourable consistency has been reached. If you're making a one-off Buddha Bowl then reduce the amount of both, keeping the ratio 1:1. Add garlic powder or minced garlic and salt to your personal taste.
Simple hummus dressing: If you don't have or like tahini, grab some pre-made hummus and mix with water in a similar 1:1 ratio. Add salt, garlic, dill, nutritional yeast or any other herbs and spices you enjoy. This dressing is incredibly simple and makes a creamy sauce that can be kept in the fridge for a week.
Asian-style peanut dressing: Mixed 1 tbsp of peanut butter with 1 tbsp of soy sauce, 1 tbsp of honey or maple syrup, 1 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar, 2 tbsp of water and a pinch of grated or powdered ginger.
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