A buddha bowl is essentially a simple, one-bowl meal. It starts with a base of whole grains, like rice or quinoa, then layered with proteins, fresh veg and dressing. They’re as handy to make as they are to eat, and absolutely beautiful to look at!

Buddha bowls are usually made up of five key components:

  • Whole grains
  • Veggies
  • Protein
  • Dressing
  • Extras such as nuts, seeds, herbs or sprouts

Always loaded with veggies, grains and lean proteins, Buddha bowls are highly versatile and easy to tailor to all tastes and dietary restrictions. They also can be made ahead and are easily packable — the perfect candidate for meal prep and work lunches!

Step 1: Grains

Steamed brown or white rice are perfect, but also consider more interesting choices for your creation, such as quinoa, millet, couscous or amaranth. Use just one or a combination of a couple of them — just remember to season your base to really build layers of flavour.

Step 2: Protein

This can simply be grilled fish or chicken, but there are so many other wholesome options: cooked beans like kidney or pinto, toasted chickpeas, and lentils are fantastic choices. You could add a boiled egg, tofu or tempeh.

Step 3: Texture and freshness

Raw vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, sliced peppers, shaved cabbage, shredded carrots, spinach and any kind of lettuce add colour, freshness and crunch. We recommend a mix of cooked and fresh to give a balance of warm, cold, soft and crunchy. Ideas for some of our favourite cooked veggie options are roasted beetroot, sautéed mushrooms, roasted cauliflower, baked pumpkin, roast peppers and steamed broccoli; these can make your bowl feel more substantial. Use a few raw and maybe one or two cooked veg for contrasting textures.

Step 4: Flavour

Dressings are the perfect way to take your bowl to the next level and add depth of flavour. Think about your choices so far and aim for a dressing that would complement those elements. For example, if you have brown rice with baked tofu and roasted pumpkin as your main flavours, going with a creamy dressing may not fit so well but something with some sesame and soy and even a touch of chilli would be delicious.

Step 5: Added extras

Once the bowl is built and dressed, it’s ready for your final flourishes: some crumbled cheese, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, micro greens, chopped peanuts, cashews, pistachios, pecans, sesame seeds or flax seeds are all perfect. Go for one or two at least.

Looking for more lunch inspiration? Check out these 5 light lunches