This Buddha bowl is a beautiful combination of vibrant and colorful vegetables, nourishing whole grains, and plenty of plant-based protein accompanied by a delicious peanut dressing.

It is an excellent way to pack tasty and nourishing ingredients into one flavorful and gorgeous dish.

Buddha bowl with rice, mango and tofu

Buddha bowls are an easy and practical way to eat a nutrient-dense and balanced meal in one – well – bowl.

They are like grain bowls and very similar to poke bowls, except they don’t contain fish or meat and favor plant-based protein.

There are three main components to Buddha bowls:

  1. Vegetables and fruits: you can add them raw, steam them, grill them, or roast them in the oven.
  2. Whole grains: farro, barley, whole grain rice, buckwheat, amaranth, and even quinoa; you can pick your favorite.
  3. Plant-based protein: think tofu, edamame beans, chickpeas, or tempeh.
  4. Sauce: peanut sauce is our favorite.

Take our recipe as a guideline and make Buddha bowls with your favorite ingredients, depending on your local and seasonal availability.

Here are a couple of tips to remember when making Buddha bowls:

  1. Eat the rainbow: the more color you add, the more nutrients you eat. We always try to include something purple, orange, and dark green because they are packed with good stuff.
  2. Keep things balanced: eat a little of everything, including grains, veggies, protein, and sauce.
  3. Go for whole grains like brown rice, barley, and farro. They are more nourishing and keep you full longer.
Tofu bowl with mango, carrot and red cabbage

Ingredients & Substitutions

Buddha bowl ingredients

Grains

We use whole-grain rice for our vegan Buddha bowl.

Substitute farro, barley, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, and even couscous for rice.

Some like to make this with cauliflower rice, but we think that wouldn’t make a balanced meal (and you will get hungry a lot faster without a whole grain).

Protein

Our favorite protein is quick-grilled tofu.

Substitute marinated tofu, pan-fried crispy tofu, air-fryer tofu, chickpeas, crispy roasted chickpeas, hummus, falafel, edamame beans, black beans or other beans, and even tempeh.

Buddha bowls are generally vegan or vegetarian (like the diet of Buddhist monks) and don’t include chicken or fish.

Vegetables and Fruit

You can add your favorite vegetables and fruit. You can add them raw, grilled, steamed, or oven-baked.

Think about the colors of the rainbow, and add three to seven vegetables:

  • RED: We add thinly sliced red onion pickled in lemon juice and salt for 10 minutes.

    Substitute tomatoes, red bell pepper, radish, red chili pepper, or red leaf lettuce for red onion.
  • ORANGE: We add carrot ribbons sliced with a vegetable peeler. Substitute orange bell pepper, roasted butternut squash, microwaved sweet potato or roasted sweet potatoes, roasted kabocha squash, pumpkin, and even cantaloupe melon for carrots.
  • YELLOW: We add juicy mango. Substitute pineapple, yellow bell pepper, corn, cauliflower, golden tomatoes, yellow carrots, and yellow squash for mango.
  • GREEN: We add spinach, cucumber, and avocado. Substitute kale, arugula, collard greens, green cabbage, watercress, romaine lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, shaved or roasted Brussels sprouts, steamed artichokes, green beans, steamed asparagus, roasted asparagus, and green peas for spinach and cucumber.
  • PURPLE: We add thinly sliced red cabbage. Substitute roasted eggplant, beets, purple sweet potatoes, purple cauliflower, radicchio, and purple carrots for red cabbage.

Sauce for Buddha Bowl

Like with vegetables, you can pick your favorite sauce. If you are using tofu, then we strongly recommend our peanut sauce which we make with:

Peanut sauce ingredients
  • Peanut butter: smooth or chunky; both work. Substitute almond butter or other nut butter.
  • Tahini: optional; substitute more peanut butter or other nut butter.
  • Sesame oil: keep out if you don’t have it.
  • Rice vinegar: substitute with fresh lime juice or apple cider vinegar.
  • Brown sugar: substitute maple syrup, agave syrup, palm sugar, or coconut sugar.
  • Soy sauce: substitute tamari or coconut aminos for gluten-free.
  • Garlic and ginger: substitute garlic and ginger paste.
  • Sriracha sauce: substitute red pepper flakes, hot sauce, or another spicy ingredient.

You can substitute cilantro lime dressing, green goddess dressing, tahini sauce, carrot ginger dressing, and chipotle sauce for the sesame peanut sauce.

Ingredients for Buddha bowl

How to make a Buddha bowl

Boil the rice

Add the rice to a sift and rinse with water. Add it to a pot with plenty of salted boiling water and cook as per package instructions or until al dente (whole grain rice can take 30 to 45 minutes).

Spread the cooked rice on a baking sheet to cool down without overcooking.

Tip: Avoid rinsing rice under cold water to cool it down.

brown rice in a baking dish

Prep quick pickled red onions

Thinly slice the red onion and add it to a bowl with freshly squeezed lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.

Red onion after marinating

Grill the tofu

Pat the tofu dry with kitchen paper and slice it into 1/4 inch (0.7 cm) slices. Toss tofu slices in olive oil, salt, and black pepper until well coated in oil.

Warm up your grill pan, add the tofu slices, and grill for 3 minutes on medium heat.

Turn around with the help of a flat spatula and grill for 3 more minutes.

Grilled Tofu on a pan

Make the peanut sauce

Whisk or blend peanut butter, tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar, grated ginger, grated garlic, and sriracha sauce.

peanut sauce with spoon

Chop the vegetables

Cut mango and cucumber into dice. Thinly slice the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Thinly chop the red cabbage.

Removing diced mango from its peel

Build the Buddha Bowl

To a large serving bowl, add boiled rice, spinach, diced mango, carrot ribbons, sliced cabbage, diced cucumber, sliced avocado, and grilled tofu.

Buddha bowl with brown rice and mango

Top with pickled red onion and a generous drizzle of peanut sauce. Optionally, sprinkle with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.

Buddha bowl with peanut sauce

Variations

Mediterranean Bowl

mediterranean bowl with hummus and tahini sauce

Get transported to the shores of the Mediterranean with this delicious and nourishing Mediterranean grain bowl.

We make it with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, parsley, feta cheese, falafel, hummus, warm pita bread, lemon wedges, and a delicious tahini sauce as dressing.

Check out our Mediterranean bowl recipe.

Choose a different dressing

Tahini sauce

Tahini sauce with a silver spoon

A creamy, nutty, and delicious sauce with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, water, and salt.

It’s delicious with all veggies, rice, and tofu and an excellent choice for Buddha bowls.

Check out our tahini sauce recipe.

Cilantro lime dressing

cilantro lime dressing in a bowl

A Mexican-inspired dressing with fresh and zesty flavors. You can make it with fresh cilantro, lime juice, maple syrup, olive oil, salt, garlic, and ginger.

Check out our cilantro lime dressing recipe.

Green goddess dressing

green goddess dressing

A swirl of fresh herbs and tangy flavors, this green goddess dressing is packed with herby aromas and an irresistibly creamy texture.

You can make it with our vegan mayo, yogurt, garlic, olive oil, parsley, basil, dill, chives, mint, capers, salt, and pepper.

Check out our green goddess dressing recipe.

Serving Suggestions

Our vegan Buddha bowl is fulfilling, nourishing, and tastes delicious without anything on the side.

We usually make one giant bowl and share it among the two of us, and we keep the leftover for the next day.

You can have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s also excellent for meal prep since you can grill the tofu, pickle the onions, make the sauce, and boil the rice up to 3-4 days in advance.

Tofu bowl with avocado, mango and red cabbage

Storage

Make ahead: this Buddha bowl is an excellent recipe for meal prep. You can boil the rice, make the peanut sauce, pickle the onions, and grill the tofu up to 4 days in advance and keep it in separate containers in the fridge.

Refrigerator: keep the bowl in the fridge, covered with plastic, for a day or two. The components can last up to 4 days if stored in separate airtight containers.

Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.

More Grain Bowls

Get more wholesome and colorful meal inspiration with these nutritious grain bowls:

More Tofu Recipes

For more plant-based protein ideas, see our easy and tasty tofu ideas:

  • Fried tofu (tofu cubes, paprika, garlic powder, olive oil, salt, etc.)
  • Tofu salad (romaine lettuce, fried tofu, cherry tomatoes, tahini sauce, etc.)
  • Marinated tofu (cornstarch, tofu, soy sauce, mustard, apple cider vinegar, etc.)
  • Air fryer tofu (paprika, tofu, olive oil, garlic powder, cornstarch, etc.)

For many more tofu ideas, check out our tofu category page.

Buddha bowl with grilled tofu, mango, and peanut sauce

Buddha Bowl

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 7 votes
This Buddha bowl is a beautiful combination of vibrant and colorful vegetables, nourishing whole grains, and plenty of plant-based protein accompanied by a delicious peanut dressing.
It is an excellent way to pack tasty and nourishing ingredients into one flavorful and gorgeous dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

  • cup whole-grain rice

Quick Pickled Red Onion

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 lemon the juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt + ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes optional

Grilled Tofu

  • 16 ounces tofu firm or extra firm
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt + ¼ teaspoon black pepper optional

Peanut Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons tahini or more peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or lime juice, or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil optional

Veggies

  • 1 cup cucumber diced
  • 1 cup red cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot sliced with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 large mango diced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 avocado

Optional Toppings

  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 4 wedges lime

Instructions 

BOILED RICE

  • Rinse and cook the rice in a pot with lightly salted boiling water.
    Drain it then spread it on a baking sheet to cool down.
    brown rice in a baking dish

PICKLED RED ONION

  • Thinly slice the red onion and add it to a bowl with freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt, and red pepper flakes.
    Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
    Red onion after marinating

GRILLED TOFU

  • Pat the tofu dry with kitchen paper and slice it into ¼ inch (0.7 cm) slices. Toss tofu slices in olive oil, salt, and black pepper until well coated in oil.
    Warm up your grill pan (a non-stick pan works too), add the tofu slices, and grill for 3 minutes on medium heat.
    Turn around with the help of a flat spatula and grill for 3 more minutes.
    Turning the tofu on a pan

PEANUT SAUCE

  • Whisk or blend the sauce ingredients.
    peanut sauce with spoon

CHOPPED VEGGIES

  • Cut mango and cucumber into dice. Thinly slice the carrot with a vegetable peeler. Thinly chop the red cabbage.
    Removing diced mango from its peel

BUDDHA BOWl

  • To a large serving bowl, add boiled rice, spinach, diced mango, carrot ribbons, sliced cabbage, diced cucumber, sliced avocado, and grilled tofu.
    Buddha bowl with brown rice and mango
  • Top with pickled red onion and a generous drizzle of peanut sauce.
    Optionally, sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.
    Buddha bowl with peanut sauce

Video

Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 large portion of Buddha bowl out of 4 portions. This is what I (Nico) generally eat. Louise eats a smaller portion with less tofu and sauce. The sauce is where most of the calories are, so to reduce calories reduce the amount of sauce.
STORAGE
Make ahead: this Buddha bowl is an excellent recipe for meal prep. You can boil the rice, make the peanut sauce, pickle the onions, and grill the tofu up to 4 days in advance and keep it in separate containers in the fridge.
Refrigerator: keep the bowl in the fridge, covered with plastic, for a day or two. The components can last up to 4 days if stored in separate airtight containers.
Freezer: this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
ALSO ON THIS PAGE

Nutrition

Calories: 645kcal, Carbohydrates: 81g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 981mg, Dietary Fiber: 11g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 5402IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 62mg, Vitamin E: 4mg, Vitamin K: 104µg, Calcium: 247mg, Folate: 150µg, Iron: 5mg, Manganese: 3mg, Magnesium: 170mg, Zinc: 3mg
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If you liked this Buddha bowl recipe, you might also enjoy:

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It is an excellent way to pack tasty and nourishing ingredients into one flavorful and gorgeous dish.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 7 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Everyone in my family loved this fresh bowl and asked to have it again! My daughter doesn’t like Tofu (or so she says) but she loved this dish and ate all the toful.

  2. 5 stars
    I love the flavors of this recipe! I went slightly off the recipe, but it still came out delicious! It reminds me of something I would get at a place called BiBiBob.