How to create your own Buddha Bowl

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Buddha Bowls – also known as grain bowls, rice bowls, glory bowls – are becoming very popular breakfast, lunch and supper foods. What I love about Buddha Bowls is their simplicity.

You can use up what you have in your fridge, helping to use up planned extras and reduce your food waste. Think of creating Buddha Bowls as a method – not a recipe.

Here is how you can create your own Buddha Bowl:

Take a bowl, and mix together a variety of nutrient-rich ingredients:

  • Vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Whole grain
  • Nuts and/or seeds
  • Flavourizers
  • Dressing or sauce that matches the chosen flavours.


  • Amp up your vegetables by using a combination of cooked or raw vegetables.
  • Choose both starchy and non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables include vegetables like squash, peas, carrots. Non-starchy vegetables include vegetables like leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage.
  • There are so many more ways to cook your vegetables than just boiling them.  Diversify your vegetable cooking method – steam, roast, bake, puree.
  • If adding in raw vegetables, think of how you want to present your raw vegetables – shredded? Cubed? Strips? Quarters?
  • While I did not use fruit in this bowl, you could also add in fresh fruit as well – oranges, apples, berries.
  • Think about the diverse rainbow of colors available to you. Step outside your usual carrots and cucumbers and venture into a new world of colorful vegetables.

Lean proteins

  • Plan to cook an extra portion of lean proteins. You could use left over cooked chicken, beef, pork, salmon or tuna.
  • Or, you could venture into using cooked legumes or pulses.  Try chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, cannelinni beans, edamame beans or lentils. The year 2016 is the International Year of the Pulses, or #IYP2016, celebrating these environmentally friendly nutritional powerhouses.

Whole grain

  • Cook up a large batch of your favourite whole grain. Try whole grain brown rice (gluten free), quinoa (gluten free), buckwheat (gluten free), amaranth (gluten free), wheat berries, faro, or barley!

Nuts or seeds

  • Nuts and seeds are a nutrient-rich way of adding in plant proteins and nourishing fats to your diet. Try pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, or macadamia nuts.
  • Sprinkle on pumpkin, sunflower, chia, hemp, or sesame seeds.


  • Add in a burst of flavour to your Buddha Bowl!
  • Sprinkle on fresh herbs like dill, parsley, mint, basil or cilantro.
  • Top with olives, pickled vegetables (carrots, cucumber, asparagus), fresh citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange), or dried fruits (raisins, dates, dried cherries, apricots, plums).


  • To add in moisture to your Buddha Bowl and another layer of flavour, you can add in a simple vinaigrette, salad dressing or Garlicky Green Goddess Sauce.


If you are serving this to your family, you can create a buffet of the different ingredients and allow each person to build their own Buddha Bowl. That way, each person can customize their Buddha Bowl with the ingredients they prefer.

Pay attention to portion size

While all these ingredients are nutrient-rich, pay attention to your portion size, which will be influenced by the size of your bowl. The larger your bowl, the larger the portion you will likely serve yourself.

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD, Food, Nutrition & Culinary Coach, Registered Nutritionist and Calgary Dietitian, Calgary, AB.

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