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If you are looking for some inspiration for lunch or how to create something delicious out of leftovers, Buddha Bowls are a fun way to approach your meal. A Buddha Bowl is defined as “a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a Buddha.”

These filling bowls full of fresh ingredients are one of my latest obsessions. Not only a great way to use up your favorite seasonal ingredients or leftovers from the week, they are also fun to make by mixing and matching.  And now that Dr Oz has done a post about these bowls, they will definitely gain more popularity.

I usually start with a starchy base, then layer on veggies and greens, topping it off with a dressing or garnish. These can be customized to your taste buds, AND what happens to be in your fridge right now. And they take almost no time to prepare. Whenever I have leftover veggies that I want to use while they’re still fresh, I just pile them onto a Buddha Bowl.

Best of all, the combination of vegetables and greens maximizes nutrition and makes this one of the easiest ways to eat healthy and get your recommended daily servings in. I’m also sure to include a protein source, so they’re hearty and satiating.

Shrimp Buddha Bowl

Customizing Your Bowl

To make your own, I suggest playing around with some different combinations and flavors; you really can’t go wrong. Below, I’ve put together a list of suggested ingredients for you to pick and choose from to create your own perfect meal.

Base Grains – should be about 1/4 of the bowl

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Soba Noodles (buckwheat – if you can tolerate it)
  • Bean Threads (I love these Black Rice Noodles)

Protein – about 1/4 of the bowl

  • Grass-fed Ground Beef
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Chickpeas
  • Black Beans
  • Baked Salmon

Vegetables (cooked or raw) – 1/2 of the bowl, any veg works but here are some suggestions:

  • Carrots
  • Sautéed onions
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Roasted beets
  • Shredded raw beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers

Greens (steamed or sautéed):

  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach

Dressing – Make sure to add some FAT into your bowl for flavor and satiety

  • Olive oil & lemon juice
  • Tahini & fresh herbs
  • Dairy-free basil pesto (recipe)
  • Hummus
  • Creamy avocado cilantro dressing (like this one or this one)
  • Carrot ginger dressing
  • Tamari and toasted sesame seed oil


  • Sauerkraut
  • Slivered almonds
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Sesame seeds

Let me know what you come up with! I’d love to see your creative combinations.

Here are some great pictures of more bowl combinations to get you going, since we all start eating with our eyes. I especially like the “Moroccan Couscous, Chickpeas and Olives Bowl”. I would just replace the couscous with quinoa to make it gluten free.

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Customizable Buddha Bowl

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  • Author: Andrea Sprague
  • Yield: 1 serving


Buddha bowls are the quintessential mix and match food. They’re a perfect use for seasonal foods, leftovers, or whatever else you can find in your kitchen! There’s no one “right” combination of ingredients that make a Buddha bowl, but there are some basic guidelines to follow. I’ve included suggested portions for each component of the bowl, as well as some of my favorite ingredients to include. Just choose a few ingredients from each section, mix them together in your bowl, and you’re good to go. Keep in mind that the ingredients below are just suggestions – feel free to go freestyle if you’d prefer to add different ingredients in!


  • Base Grains (should make up 1/4 of the bowl): Sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, soba noodles (buckwheat – if you can tolerate it), or bean threads
  • Protein (should make up 1/4 of the bowl): Grass-fed ground beef, grilled chicken, chickpeas, black beans, or baked salmon
  • Vegetables (cooked or raw – should make up close to 1/2 of the bowl): Carrots, sautéed onions, steamed broccoli, roasted beets, shredded raw beets, bell peppers, sautéed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, tomatoes, or cucumbers
  • Greens (steamed or sautéed – as much as you’d like): Swiss chard, kale, collards, cabbage, or spinach
  • Dressing (about 1 Tablespoon): Olive oil & lemon juice, tahini & fresh herbs, dairy-free basil pesto (try this one), hummus, avocado cilantro dressing, carrot ginger dressing, or tamari & toasted sesame oil
  • Garnish (just a few pinches – optional): Sauerkraut, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, or sesame seeds


  1. Start with a single serving bowl, and pack your grain base into the bottom of your bowl, until it’s about 1/4 of the way full.
  2. Add your cooked proteins on top of the grain base until it fills about another 1/4 of the bowl.
  3. Layer your veggies (cooked or raw) and greens on top, until they make up about 1/4 of the bowl (your bowl should be more or less full by now!).
  4. Drizzle your dressing of choice over the top of your bowl. Add a pinch or two of your choice of garnish if desired. Enjoy!

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