Sweet and Savory Vegan Buddha Bowl
  • Leah

Sweet and Savory Vegan Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls are one of the newer trendy foods I keep seeing. I made my first one recently, and everyone that I shared it with liked it so much that I couldn't wait to make it another way. Part of what makes these dishes so appealing is that they can be endlessly tweaked to suit your personal preferences, tastes, and what ingredients you have on hand.

I love all kinds of Hispanic foods – everything from tacos, burritos, enchiladas, paella, pupusas, empanadas, rice and beans, to arepas, the whole 9. When these foods are made well, they are bursting with flavor. One of my other preferred flavor combinations is mixing savory and sweet. I know this is pretty common in desserts (think chocolate covered pretzels, salted caramel, etc.), but I love it in my entrees as well. I've been putting fruit in my salads for years, I love sushi rolls with mango in them, and I figured that it couldn’t be bad in a Buddha bowl.

I know it doesn't fit the usual expectation of a Buddha bowl, but I love to break rules! *whispers* I'm a rebel.

Besides, there is very little in the way of formal rules when it comes to Buddha bowls. If you do a quick Google search, there isn't one specific definition of a Buddha bowl. It's suggested to incorporate grains, legumes, vegetables, and some type of healthy fat. But why not get creative and break some rules like the rebel I like to think I am?

Cook Time

Prep time: 30 min

Cook time: 10 min

Ready in: 40 min

Yields: Serves 4


· 1 package extra firm tofu

· 2 bell peppers, diced

· 4 cups (2 bags) cauliflower rice (I use the frozen kind that steams right in the bag)

· 1 squash, diced

· 1 mango, diced

· 2 packets Sazon (I use the kind with saffron - the package says azafran)

· 1 tablespoon adobo

· 1 teaspoon chili powder

· coconut oil spray, to coat the pan


1. Slice and drain the tofu as listed below. Dice it into bite-sized pieces.

2. Microwave the cauliflower rice as per instructions on the bag.

3. Spray a large skillet with coconut oil spray. Add the tofu, adobo, chili powder, and sazon and incorporate well. Sauté on medium-low heat for about 3 minutes. Add the squash and peppers. Continue to cook until the squash and peppers soften a bit (about 5 minutes).

4. Dice the mango - see above for the best way to cut up a mango.

5. Place 1 cup of cauliflower rice into a bowl, top with 1/4 of the skillet contents and half a mango. Enjoy!

Draining The Tofu

Working with tofu always seemed really intimidating to me, but once I started I realized it's not that bad. Some important things to note:

· Tofu has a somewhat spongy texture. This means it has to be drained before using it. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slices. I place them on a baking sheet covered in saran wrap. Place a double layer of paper towels on the baking sheet (over the saran wrap) and put the tofu slices in a single layer. Cover them with another double layer of paper towels and another sheet of saran wrap. Place another baking sheet on top and whatever you have handy that's heavy - think cookbooks or textbooks. I've even used a watermelon once. Let sit for about 30 minutes to ensure that you've gotten all the water out.

· Do not use an oily marinade on tofu. It won't absorb into the tofu, and will wind up sliding off rather than soaking in.

· Once the tofu has been pressed dry, dice it into small pieces.

· Tofu doesn't have any real flavor that I could discern. It tasted a bit like a bland sponge when I tried it. This is why seasoning is so important. It lends some flavor to the tofu, making it so much more enjoyable to eat.

How To Dice A Mango

Mangos are another intimidating food to use for the first time. I'm sure there's a lot of ways to cut up a mango, but this is my favorite way. You'll need a cutting board and a sharp paring knife. There's a large flat pit running through the center of the mango.

· Stand the mango up (the long way) and slice it about 1/4" from the center. Repeat on the other side of the pit.

· Using the knife, make shallow cuts the long way on the sliced parts (still in the skin). Make sure you don't cut through the skin. Turn the mango slice and make cuts in the other direction.

· Take a spoon and scoop the cubes out of the skin. Voila!

Diced Mango

21 Day Fix Container Counts

This recipe is 21 Day Fix approved. Container counts for this recipe are as follows:

· 2 green containers

· 1 red container

· 1/2 purple container


Buddha bowls are by definition a food that is highly individualized and endlessly changeable. I'll most likely be posting new Buddha bowls since they're my new favorite thing, but here's some ways you can tweak this one.

· Low-carb. Using cauliflower rice instead of regular rice is a good start. Mango is a very sweet fruit, and isn't low-carb, so if you want to keep this dish low in carbohydrates, skip the mango.

· Looking to bulk up or need more carbs? Instead of using cauliflower rice, try sweet potatoes, white rice, or brown rice.

· No squash on hand? Use any other vegetable you want. Some that come to mind for me are zucchini, pieces of cauliflower or broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach (raw or cooked), jalapeños, or any other vegetable you like.

· Toppings. This would go perfectly with some avocado or spicy pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Add a sprinkle of tomatoes, cilantro, or hot sauce for some more flavor.

· Don't like tofu? Try beans - black beans, pinto beans, chick peas, lentils, or any other kind of legume you like.

· Not a vegan? Add some cheese to this. My preference would be something like a shredded taco blend. Try a little Greek yogurt or sour cream to add a smooth, creamy flavor. I'd blend it with some hot sauce because I like a tiny hint of a kick with my food.

· Are you a total carnivore? This works really well with animal protein as well. You could try using chicken, turkey, beef, or pork (if you're not kosher). If you are kosher, make sure not to include cheese if you plan to use meat.

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