What Is a Buddha Bowl and How to Prepare It?

We are going to explain what the buddha bowl is and how it can be prepared at home in a simple way to make the most of the nutrients it provides.
What Is a Buddha Bowl and How to Prepare It?
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 22 February, 2023

The Buddha bowl is a type of combination plate that has become very fashionable in recent years. It’s considered a nutritious dish and its presence in the regular diet can be positive for our overall health. For this reason, we’re going to show you how to prepare it at home in a simple way.

Before starting, you have to remember that one of the pillars of a healthy diet is variety. The greater the spectrum of food consumed, the lower the risk of developing chronic and complex pathologies derived from a deficit of essential nutrients. Likewise, it will be necessary to ensure a balance from a caloric point of view.

How do you prepare a Buddha bowl?

Inspired by the Harvard dish, the Buddha bowl contains 3 types of macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The presence of vegetables is also indisputable, as these foods provide important micronutrients and phytochemicals to ensure good health in the medium and long term.

The first thing to note is that the elaboration of the Buddha bowl isn’t at all complicated. Neither will it take long to get great results. In addition, to speed up the processes you can use batch cooking, leaving the ingredients ready and making the dish just before serving it.

Next up, we’re going to tell you what elements should never be missing in a Buddha bowl to achieve a fantastic, nutritious result.


Vegetables are the base element of the dish. It can include any type, and using any cooking method. This ensures the presence of flavonoids in the preparation. These compounds neutralize the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the tissues, which has been shown to provide protection against the development of certain pathologies.

As far as raw vegetables are concerned, it’s necessary to ensure the presence of green leaves such as kale, lettuce, spinach, arugula, watercress, or lamb’s lettuce. You can also use grated carrot, zucchini noodles, tomatoes, cucumber, radishes, or cabbage. On the other hand, cooked vegetables can be prepared to provide a different texture, the best options being peppers, aubergine, pumpkin, and zucchini.

It may even be a good idea to include crucifers like broccoli or cauliflower. These contain a series of phytochemical compounds that help prevent the development of certain complex pathologies, such as cancer. This is evidenced by research published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

High carbohydrate foods

The Buddha bowl contains quinoa.
When preparing a Buddha bowl, you can choose from many carbohydrate options to meet your energy needs.

When choosing a carbohydrate source, you should always choose foods that provide complex sugars, thus ensuring fiber consumption. In this way, the feeling of satiety is increased and the absorption rate of these nutrients is reduced, which has a positive impact on blood glucose. Pancreatic stress will be less.

Therefore, the best options for foods with carbohydrates for the Buddha bowl will be rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, bulgur, and polenta. However, there’s also the option of including cooked tubers, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. In this case, a greater supply of vitamin C will be ensured, a nutrient that is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, according to a study published in Nutrients.


It is essential to ensure that there’s plenty of protein in the Buddha bowl. However, this is usually of plant origin, which means it’s of low biological value. For this reason, it will be deficient in essential amino acids and does not have a good score in terms of digestibility. However, it helps to complete the daily contributions of these nutrients, something that is essential in order to prevent problems related to lean tissue.

According to research published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism magazine, it’s necessary to ensure a contribution of at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight per day in sedentary people. If you exercise regularly, these requirements could double or triple, due to the increased wear and tear on the muscle.

Returning to the Buddha bowl, the most common thing is to include foods such as legumes when considering the protein source. These need to be cooked first. It’s best to leave them to soak for as long as you can so that they’re softer and produce less gas at the intestinal level. Another option is to buy them canned, ready for consumption.

However, there is also the option of using other plant products as a source of protein. We would be talking about tofu, seitan, or tempeh, recurring elements in the context of vegan diets. These are made mainly from soybeans, so they also contain many beneficial antioxidants. To prepare them, it’s best to opt for the grill or the oven.


The Buddah bowl usually includes a sauce to achieve a better final result, serving as a common thread to unite all the ingredients that make up the preparation. Here the options are very varied. Creamy sauces like tahini and lemon can be used. Others include a peanut sauce, guacamole sauce, hummus, tofu mayonnaise… there are many alternatives.

Now, remember that sauces are a great way to increase the calories in a dish. For this reason, you shouldn’t overdo its consumption. It’s best to eat them in moderation to prevent an energy imbalance.

Additional features

Finally, to finish the dish, there’s the option of including some special ingredients such as nuts, olives or avocados. These are characterized by their omega-3 fatty acids. These compounds have been shown to exert an anti-inflammatory effect, and are beneficial for cardiovascular health in the medium and long term.

Another option is to add sprouts, small sprouts that are characterized by their content in phytochemicals. These elements neutralize the formation of free radicals and help prevent the signs of premature aging.

A Buddha bowl with tempeh and sweet potatoes and a carrot and ginger sauce

Next we’re going to show you an example of a Buddha bowl so that you can begin to include it in your weekly diet.


The ingredients you will need for 2 servings are the following:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • A pinch of paprika
  • Salt
  • 250 grams (9 oz) of tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari
  • One tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 of red cabbage
  • 1 avocado

To make the sauce you will need:

  • 4 tablespoons of tahini
  • 100 milliliters of water
  • 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • A pinch of stevia
  • 3 centimeters (an inch) of ginger
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of tamari

Step by step instructions

Kitchen utensils.
Preparing a Buddha bowl is simple, especially if the ingredients are ready well in advance.

The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade (390 Fahrenheit) with heat on both sides. Wash the sweet potato well and dice it, but without removing the skin that covers it.

Place it on a baking tray and add salt, cinnamon and olive oil on top, baking everything for at least 35 minutes. It could also be cooked in the microwave, but the result is better in the oven.

At the same time, the tempeh will have to be prepared. Cut it into slices and mix it in a bowl with the tamari, oil, and the nutritional yeast. Let it marinate for 10 minutes and add it to the tray with the sweet potato, and cook it for at least 25 minutes.

The time has come to make the sauce. All the above-mentioned ingredients must be placed in a blender until a smooth sauce is obtained. You can add more vinegar, salt or sweetener at the end if necessary. Add more water if a liquid texture is intended.

Now it only remains to grate the red cabbage, cut the avocado into slices and the cherry tomatoes in half. Put the vegetables with the avocado in a bowl, add the sweet potato along with the tempeh and finish with the sauce on top. It will now be ready to enjoy!

Disadvantages of the Buddha bowl

When it comes to highlighting the disadvantages of the Buddha bowl, we could place special emphasis on its protein content. Although they appear in this dish, they’re of low biological value. A higher content will be necessary to achieve a result similar to that obtained from foods of animal origin.

It must always be borne in mind that proteins of high biological value have proven to be important when it comes to preventing changes in muscle function, such as sarcopenia.

If other dishes containing animal proteins are included throughout the day, there’s no need to worry. It’s best to alternate between meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. All these foods provide a good amount of essential micronutrients, which are necessary for good health.

Prepare a simple Buddha bowl at home

It is easy to prepare a Buddha bowl at home. This dish has several health benefits, as it provides a good amount of vitamins and phytochemicals. It’s also a positive dish for athletes, as it contains long-chain carbohydrates, one of the main energy substrates.

You also need to combine a good diet with other lifestyle habits. Make sure you get plenty of sun, because, with the ultraviolet radiation, you ensure the endogenous synthesis of vitamin D, a nutrient that’s deficient in many people. Keeping its levels in optimal ranges helps to reduce the incidence of many pathologies.

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