What's A Buddha Bowl?
I keep seeing these gorgeous pictures of colorful (and presumably healthy) food in a bowl on my Instagram. It sparked my curiosity, and I did a little research. Here's what I found:
· There are no hard and fast rules about Buddha bowls. They can be customized in an endless variety of ways.
· Buddha bowls are generally vegetarian or vegan, but can also be made with animal protein.
· They typically incorporate some kind of protein (usually beans or tofu), vegetables, grains, nuts or seeds, and a dressing of some sort, but as said before, there's no set way to prepare it.
· Buddha bowls are incredibly photogenic!
This got the wheels in my head turning, and I finally decided to give it a try. The results were amazing. My Buddha bowl is healthy, full of vegetables, kosher, but most importantly, it's TASTY! Plus, it never hurts to have a meal that not only tastes good but is also visually appealing.
If you didn't already know, I like to cut corners in the kitchen whenever possible. Enter edamame. I've never prepared them in the shells, especially since my local supermarket has bags of frozen edamame that steam in the microwave. This not only saves time but doesn't use up a dish, allowing me to spend more time enjoying my food, sharing recipes, and reading, and less time washing dishes.
This is another huge time saver and clean-up-avoider. Before my local stores started selling riced cauliflower, my only option was to make it at home. Have you ever tried this? If you haven't, DON'T! It's time consuming and super messy. I used to start with a whole head of cauliflower and have to cut it up into chunks and boiled. Then these chunks had to be cooled and put in a food processor until they made cauliflower rice. This not only took forever, I'd be picking up itty-bitty pieces of cauliflower rice for what felt like an eternity.
This product is now super easy to use. All you have to do is take the bag, microwave it, and that's it. Once I tried this method, I was sold. I usually sauté it in a dry pan for a few minutes to get the moisture out and give it a more rice-y feel. However, I wanted there to be a little more liquid in it to thin the dressing a little.
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: 4 servings
· 2 bags (10.5 oz each) riced cauliflower, frozen in steamer bag
· 8 oz edamame, frozen (about half a steamer bag)
· 1 package tofu, extra firm
· 1/2 cup liquid aminos/tamari sauce/coconut aminos, divided
· coconut oil spray, for pan
· 1-2 zucchini, diced
· 1 bell pepper, diced
· 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
· 1 teaspoon chili paste
· 1 teaspoon ginger paste
· 2 teaspoons honey
· 1 teaspoon sesame oil
· Sprinkle sunflower seeds
Draining The Tofu
This is the first step in preparing this meal. It's a super important step, since the tofu is packed in water. Tofu is kind of spongy and soaks up this water, so it doesn't absorb marinade as well and becomes mushy when cooked. Trust me and take the time to do this, you won't be sorry.
· Remove the tofu from the package. Do this over the sink so you don't wind up getting tofu water on the floor (like I did).
· Cut the tofu into 1/2" thick slices.
· Line a baking sheet with saran wrap and then a double layer of paper towels, and place the tofu slices on top. You can skip the saran wrap if you don't mind washing more dishes.
· Cover the slices with another double layer of paper towels and another layer of saran wrap.
· Place another baking sheet on top of the paper towels.
· Put a couple of heavy books on top (or whatever heavy item you have handy). Don't laugh, I used a watermelon!
· Let sit for at least 30 minutes. I prepped the vegetables while I was waiting for the tofu to be ready, and steamed the rice and edamame.
· Cut the tofu into bite-sized cubes.
1. Drain tofu as described above.
2. While tofu is draining, dice up your veggies into bite-sized pieces. Also microwave your steamer bags of cauliflower rice and edamame as per directions on the bag.
3. Once the tofu is finished draining, dice it into bite-sized chunks. Place into a ziplock bag with 1/4 cup of liquid aminos (you can use tamari sauce or coconut aminos if you prefer). Let the tofu marinate for about 3-5 minutes.
4. While the tofu is marinating, spray a large skillet with coconut oil spray. Place the vegetables in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. If you want softer vegetables, cook them longer until they've reached the desired tenderness.
5. Add the tofu and edamame to the skillet and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes.
6. Make the dressing! Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of liquid aminos (or substitute) with crushed garlic, chili paste, ginger paste, honey, and sesame oil.
7. Portion out about a cup of cauliflower rice, top with the vegetable and tofu mixture, sprinkle with sunflower seeds, and drizzle about 3 teaspoons of dressing over the top. Enjoy!
As a fussy eater, I love including a section on how this can be customized. A Buddha bowl has endless variations. My adherence to the 21 Day Fix diet involves controlled portion sizes of each food group, but if you don't follow 21 Day Fix feel free to change the ratios of food groups. Here's some easy swaps you could try:
· Protein. I know tofu isn't for everyone. If you aren't vegan or vegetarian, you may want to try some eggs, chicken, beef, or fish. If you are, try adding different plant-based proteins like lentils or chickpeas.
· Vegetables. I tend to use whatever I have readily available. In this case, it was homegrown zucchini and a yellow bell pepper, but the options are literally endless. Any vegetable you can think of would fit well. I think avocado would fit well with the flavor profile, but that's just my opinion.
· Grains. Quinoa or rice would be a good option here. I chose to use cauliflower rice since I had already eaten my carbohydrate portions earlier in the day. You could also use some noodles. I have brown rice ramen I love to use, and they would work perfectly with this dish.
· Nuts and seeds. I went for sunflower seeds on top. You could also chop up some peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, or hemp hearts.
· Dressing. I made my own dressing so I could control the ingredients. Many ready-made dressings have a bunch of ingredients that I can't pronounce or don't really want to consume.
· Low-carb. If this is you, leave out the beans. They're higher in carbohydrates. Also, the dressing uses some honey. Sub the honey out for your favorite low-carb sweetener.
Share your ideas with a comment!
If you follow the 21 day fix, container counts for the recipe as written above are:
· 2 green containers
· 1 red container
· 1 yellow container
· 1 orange container
If you make any changes to this recipe, be sure to account for them in your container counts.
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