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This week’s blog isn’t about low-rent spirituality or financial enlightenment, although those aren’t bad ideas. Hmmm.
No, this week is all about how the high cost of food is making it tough for people to eat well. Or so they think.
I would like to posit that eating out, eating fast food, and buying food from the supermarket that requires little or no prep (items that are pre-seasoned, pre-packaged, in a box) are more expensive overall and definitely less healthy.
As an experiment, I decided to have Buddha Bowls for dinner Monday through Friday this week and the poor, long-suffering hubby had to go along with it.
This idea came to me from one of you, who asked for some Buddha Bowl recipes. I emailed a few to her and thought maybe I should make vegetarian dinners this week using the Buddha Bowl format.
What exactly is a Buddha Bowl?
It is a one-dish meal that is typically served in a large bowl (like a Buddha belly) and is made up of (3) simple ingredients:
1) Whole Grains
And it is topped with a dressing and maybe some “sprinkles” – nuts, seeds, sprouts, the fun stuff. Simple, elegant, and healthy. And very budget friendly too.
Each bowl is filled with whole food that is well-balanced and can be tailored to suit any dietary restrictions. If you are gluten-free, pick a grain that is not wheat-based, such as rice, millet, amaranth or quinoa. Did you know that buckwheat is gluten-free? And has a low glycemic index, making it a great choice for maintaining blood sugar levels.
How do I make a Buddha Bowl?
The good news is that with a little prep, you will have these dinners on the table in no time. And you can also take them to work for lunch the next day. Which means that is (2) meals a day that are guaranteed to be healthy!
Manage your meal prep around Buddha Bowls:
Grains: Pick your grain and get it cooking while you prep the other aspects of the meal. I use a rice cooker for all of my grains and they come out well each time. You can also pick one grain at the beginning of the week and make a larger batch for use every day. The cooked grains will last 5-6 days in the fridge, no worries.
Vegetables: Again, prep ahead and roast a bunch of vegetables that you like. Peppers, onions, squash, eggplant, beets, cauliflower, broccoli. Don’t really like vegetables? Try them roasted and you will convert, promise.
Salad: Have your vegetables raw, in a salad. Besides mixed greens, add carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, green and red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, you name it. All delicious.
You can have both roasted and raw in your Buddha Bowl, don’t sweat it.
Protein: Your protein choice will be either bean, lentils, tofu, tempeh, or seitan. You are reducing your intake of animal protein for these five days so don’t use chicken, beef or fish at this point. Again, you may want to marinate or season any of these ahead of time.
And if you are using raw beans, make sure you soak and cook them ahead of time. Rinse canned beans before using to reduce the salt.
Assemble by placing the grain at the bottom of your bowl. It can be served cold or warm, whichever you prefer.
Arrange your bowl with one-third roasted vegetables, again cold or warm, one-third mixed greens (cold) to the bowl, and one-third protein (beans, legumes, tofu).
Dress & Bedazzle:
Make a simple dressing for your Buddha Bowl using tahini or avocado for a creamy dressing. Or just some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and lemon or lime juice, with salt & pepper works fine too. Drizzle the top of your bowl.
Bedazzle your creation with some hemp, pumpkin, or sunflower seeds. Or add almond slivers, pine nuts, parsley or cilantro. All will give your bowl an extra bit of zhoosh!
Enjoy your easy to make, low-budget, tasty, and healthy dinner.
You can eat well on a budget if only you give Buddha Bowls a try. Really. Our experiment ended well, with my husband really liking the juxtaposition of warm and cold items in the bowl. And I really liked getting a meal together fast.
Here’s a nice summer Buddha Bowl that takes only 15 minutes:
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt 60 g, or dairy-free alternative
¼ cup orange juice 60 mL
2 Tbsp honey 30 g, can sub maple syrup or agave
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt and pepper
Buddha Bowl Fillings
2 handfuls leafy greens spinach, kale, or lettuce
1 cup cooked grains quinoa, couscous, bulgur, or brown rice
1 15-oz can chickpeas 425 g, drained and rinsed
1 cup blueberries 100 g
4 mandarin oranges peeled and thinly sliced
1 avocado sliced
¼ red onion about ½ cup, sliced
2 carrots peeled and shredded
Dressing: Whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside.
Filling: Divide greens into 4 servings bowls, then top each with equal portions of cooked grains, chickpeas, blueberries, oranges, avocado, onion, and carrot.
Serve: Drizzle with dressing and serve immediately.