Hello! Welcome back to American Wife Brazilian Kitchen. Today, I’m talking about a meal trend that’s taken the United States by storm. Buddha Bowls. Also known as Nourish Bowls, Mediterranean Bowls, Hippie Bowls, Power Bowls, Grain Bowls… These bowls started appearing all over my pinterest feed, and they caught my attention. I’ll be talking a bit about the anatomy of the Buddha Bowl, and then I’ll share some Brazilian Buddha Bowls that I’ve made!
Since my son was born a little over a year ago, I’ve been struggling to eat a balanced, healthy lunch consistently. Because healthy usually means lots and lots of food prep, it’s been a dream and ambition, but far from a success… Unitil I started looking into Buddha Bowls!
What initially drew me to Buddha bowls were those photos with incredible aesthetics. I could spend hours looking at those pictures! But few of them seemed like something I could practically make for lunch in twenty or thirty minutes.
So I decided to do my own research, figure out what comprises a balanced Buddha Bowl, and make up my own combinations.
Every bowl includes:
- Healthy fats
- Vegetables and/or fruits
- Leafy Greens
- Oil/Fresh Herbs/Dressing of some type
One thing I love about this approach to balanced eating is that you can do the bulk of your cooking in one day when you have more time. When I make these bowls, I cook up a large batch of grains, a batch or two of different legumes and vegetables, and then I combine these in different ways, switching out the dressings and garnishes.
Before I show you some pictures of bowls I’ve made, let’s look at examples of each food group included in a Buddha Bowl. There are endless options, but this list includes ingredients commonly found in Brazil. When found out about Buddha Bowls on a research hunt for ways to make myself a fast but nutritious lunch, I was deterred at first by the fact that many of these bowls were full of ingredients that are difficult or expensive to buy where I live in Brazil. So I looked at all of the options and compiled a list of options I can find here for a decent price and without having to embark on a safari to the other end of the city.
- Kidney beans
- Black beans
- Cannellini beans
- Dehydrated Soy Meat
Sources of Fat for your Buddha Bowl…
- Caipira Eggs (from a special bread of chickens, raised free-range and supplied non-animal food.)
- Quail Eggs
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Cottage Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Brazil Nuts
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Black and Green Olives
Whole Grains that work great for Brazilian Buddha Bowls…
- Brown Rice
- Wheat Berries
- Bulgar Wheat
- Whole Wheat Pasta
Vegetables and Fruits to include…
- Kabocha Squash
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grape and Cherry Tomatoes
A few leafy greens for a delicious Brazilian Buddha Bowl…
- Red/Green Leaf Lettuce
- Collard Greens
And finally, dress up your bowl with some of these natural oils and herbs…
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Sesame oil
- Fresh Herbs
- Thai Basil
- Green Onions
- Peanut Butter
- Lemon Juice
- Lime Juice
- Balsamic Vinegar
So now, Here are some pictures of Brazilian Buddha Bowls I’ve made!…
Bean, Rice, and Jumbo Salad Bowl
Brown rice and wheat berries, black beans seasoned with cumin, salt, garlic and onions, kalamata olives, knotted mozzarella marinated in herbs, grated carrots and beets, tomatoes, and green leaf lettuce topped with olive oil, thai basil, parsley, and cilantro.
Classic Brazilian Lunch Bowl
For this bowl, I used the same grains and black beans that I’d made that Sunday in bulk. Then I fried an egg and diced some tomatoes and cucumbers. I added in some green olives, olive oil, and chimichurri seasoning. It’s possible to vary the complexity of these bowls from extremely simple, to quite nuanced. This is an example of a simple, quick bowl I whipped up in 10 minutes or less.
Brazilian Fried Rice & Tomato Avocado Salad Bowl
This bowl is from a different week. I made a large batch of brown rice and black quinoa, boiled with a touch of turmeric, just a few red malagueta peppers, and salt. Then for this bowl, I took some of that grain mixture out of the fridge and sauteed it in olive oil with some onions. For my protein, I added a generous dollop of hummus that I made in bulk. My salad here is shredded green leaf lettuce. For my fats, I’ve got avocado, plus the olive oil used as a dressing and ingredient in the hummus. And the fresh tomatoes serve as my vegetable.
Simple Leftovers Bowl
This bowl was from another day when I didn’t have much time to mess around. I took some left over pasta I’d made the night before, (not whole grain, but hey, it’s carbs!) and I combined it with a fried egg, some pimento-stuffed green olives, and my green leaf lettuce salad. I drizzled a little olive oil and sprinkled some chimichurri, and pronto! Admittedly, this bowl was probably a little heavy on the fats. But the idea is to vary what you do from day to day, so if one day you eat more fats, emphasize a different group the next time.
Hummus & Veggies Brunch Bowl
So for this bowl, I again used my pre-cooked grains and hummus. I’d also made a breakfast egg casserole with spinach and tomatoes, so I added that in for protein and fats. I’ve got a nice assortment of veggies here with my fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and herb-roasted potatoes. And finally, I added a few kalamata olives… because they’re delicious and they added such a nice pop of color!
Kabocha Squash & Herb Salad Bowl
This bowl was one of my favorites! I boiled kabocha squash with a bit of honey and garlic, added some fresh tomatoes and arugula. My fat is some queijo serro, a medium-hard Mineiro variety that’s got a nice, sharp flavor. The star of this bowl is the rice and bean salad made with fresh cilantro, mint, and parsley, with lime juice, salt and olive oil. The combination of the sweet squash and my herb-rich grain salad was unbelievable!
With this last bowl, I was feeling quite creative! I took a mediterranean twist, combining my shredded green leaf lettuce with my brown rice and wheat berries, fresh tomatoes, avocadoes, tiny black greek olives, tahini, lime juice, olive oil, and salt. Then I dressed up my eggplant slices with sesame oil, salt, and black pepper and grilled them with my panini sandwich press. This bowl took a bit more time, but it was AMAZING. And all in all, I still spent less than 20 minutes making this.
The takeaway? Buddha Bowls can be complex works of art, but they’re also a practical solution to help you reach your healthy lunch goals!
And as I’ve proven, you can adapt the philosophy of the Buddha Bowl to whatever country you live in, using ingredients that are easily accessible and affordable.
I hope you enjoyed this post and that you’ve gained some inspiration to try out these… whatever-you-want-to-call-them bowls!
That’s all for today! Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you again tomorrow!