Happy Monday! It’s time for another Meatless Monday dish, and this one is one of my absolute favorites. I’ve always been a fan of casseroles, soups and any dish that combines all the ingredients together. If you are the type who can’t stand to have your food touching on your plate this dish might not be for you, but if you love mixing textures and flavors you’re going to love this versatile recipe.
The Buddha Bowl is named after the rounded shape of Buddha’s belly. It is a dish piled high with fresh, healthy vegetarian ingredients. It should be assembled in a favorite bowl. Its eclectic combination of colors, flavors, temperatures and textures makes this dish more than just a meal. It’s an experience.
How to Make a Buddha Bowl
Your Buddha bowl can be made from your favorite ingredients or whatever ingredients you have on hand. The basic formula for making a Buddha Bowl is to include the following elements:
- Grain – rice, quinoa, noodles, etc.
- Raw Greens – spinach, kale, cabbage, etc.
- Cooked Veggies – steamed or roasted veggies of your choice – anything goes
- “Crunch” – nuts, seeds, coconut, etc.
- Dressing -tahini, peanut sauce, lemon juice, vinaigrette, etc.
My Buddha Bowl
When you see the list of ingredients I used in my Buddha Bowl I don’t want you to be intimidated, rather, I want to inspire you to create your own Buddha Bowl, with any ingredients you like.
The ingredients I used to make my delicious Buddha Bowl are:
- Raw Baby Spinach
- Roasted Sweet Potato
- Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Chopped Cilantro
- Sweet and Spicy Tofu (recipe to follow)
- Homemade Dressing (recipe to follow)
What I am going to focus on teaching you here is how to make a nice, crispy, crusty and flavorful tofu to go in your Buddha Bowl. I’ve mentioned before that most of my life I couldn’t stand tofu, but recently I’ve been experimenting with different ways of making it and the tofu I use in my Buddha Bowl is the best yet.
The Secret to Making Amazing Tofu
The secret to getting the best texture out of your tofu is freezing it, then pressing it. When I bring my tofu home from the store it goes straight to the freezer. The day I plan on cooking it I defrost it on the counter, then press it. You can use a tofu press to do this, or like me, just place the tofu on a cutting board lined with paper towel, place more paper towel on top and cover with a second cutting board. Place a can of beans on top and let it press for at least 30 minutes. This gets a lot of the liquid out and makes your tofu much firmer and “meatier” in texture when you prepare it.
- 1 package of tofu, frozen and pressed
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil of your choice
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- After pressing the tofu, carefully cut into one inch cubes
- Put cubed tofu and cornstarch into a large (quart or gallon) sized ziploc bag and shake gently until all tofu is coated
- Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes
- In the meantime, mix soy sauce, Sriracha, maple syrup and rice vinegar together in a small bowl and set aside
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium/ high heat
- Fry tofu cubes in oil, turning to cook all sides until golden brown
- Once tofu is cooked, remove from heat and add sauce, stirring to coat all pieces
Once you’ve cooked your tofu and assembled your Buddha Bowl, you are ready to dress it.
Dressing Your Buddha Bowl
You can use any dressing you like on your Buddha Bowl. Tahini is a popular choice, but you can use a prepared vinaigrette, a simple lemon juice, or peanut sauce. I made a dressing from almond butter and coconut milk that added another big punch of flavor to my bowl. I simply mixed together:
- juice of half a lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 thumb ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
I put all those ingredients in a jar with a lid and shook vigorously. It was more than enough to dress at least two Buddha Bowls.
You can use your imagination and create any dressing you like for your Buddha Bowl, you can use my recipe, or you can buy a prepared dressing. That is the beauty of the Buddha Bowl- it can be whatever you want it to be!
What will you put in your Buddah Bowl?