I’ve seen Buddha bowls pop up everywhere recently. And whilst I’m not usually into “trend” food for the sake of keeping up with the Jones’s, I can’t go past a Buddha bowl because I love giant bowls of food! Buddha bowl is even in the urbandictionary.com which states “a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a buddha.” So there you have it.
To be honest I think I’m committing a food crime here because typically Buddha bowls are plant-based, and I added chicken to this one… oops. I guess I better make it up by creating a plant-based version!
How to create a balanced Buddha bowl:
It’s super easy! To ensure you are getting the right amount of macro-nutrients (i.e. protein, carbs and fats) as well as a variety of micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to nourish and fuel your body, follow these simple steps for your Buddha bowl:
- 1/2 your bowl filled with non-starch vegetables
- 1/4 of your bowl filled with protein (salmon, tuna, chicken, tofu, tempeh, lentils, etc.)
- 1/4 of your bowl filled with low GI complex carbohydrates (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa, legumes)
- Top with a serve of healthy fat (1/3 avocado, 20-30 nuts, 20g seeds, 1-2 tablespoons of tahini, nut butter or good quality oil such as extra virgin olive oil).
- Make it colourful for a variety of vitamins and minerals
- Lentils, legumes and quinoa provide both carbohydrates and protein. Lentils are highest in protein of the three.
- Pumpkin has far less carbohydrates than most people realise. 100g pumpkin = 7g carbs / 100g sweet potato = 20g carbs.
- Don’t skimp on fats! Contrary to popular belief eating fat doesn’t make you put on fat. As long as you are using a high-quality healthy fat source. Fats are used for healthy cell membranes so cells can function properly and communicate with each other, hormone production, healthy skin, and carrying fat-soluble vitamins around the body.
- Use spices to enhance flavour and add nutrients, particularly antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Don’t be afraid of salt… unless its table salt, then stay well away! Use a good quality sea salt or rock salt. Salt is a vital electrolyte our body needs, and if you eat a healthy diet with minimal processed food than you likely don’t get a lot of salt. I add a pinch to each meal. I use an iodised salt, as most Australian’s don’t get enough iodine (you get it from seafood and seaweed), which is essential for healthy thyroid function, which in turn effects metabolism and hormone production.
Chicken Buddha Bowl Recipe (gf)
- 300g chicken breast (raw weight)
- 1 wedge pumpkin, cut in half
- 200g sweet potato, cut in large chunks
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1/2 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (or use the whole tin & save for a snack the next day!)
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- spice mix – 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric,1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional), 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 kale, washed, stalks removed, and chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1-2 tablespoons tahini
- Preheat oven to 180C and line 2 baking trays with paper.
- Mix all spices together in a little bowl.
- Chop sweet potato and pumpkin and dust with the cinnamon. Lay it out on one of the baking trays and pop into the oven.
- Chop the cauliflower, drizzle with half the olive oil and spice mix and toss to coat. Lay out on the second baking tray.
- After rinsing and draining the chickpeas, pat dry with paper towel. Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil and spice mix and toss to coat. Lay out on the baking tray with the cauliflower.
- Pop the chicken breast onto the same tray. Squeeze half a lemon over it, along with a pinch of sea salt. Put the tray in the oven.
- Bake for about 30 mins until everything is cooked through.
- When it is almost done, heat a pan on medium heat. Wash and chop the kale and pop into the pan to lightly saute for 5 mins. Squeeze half a lemon over it and add a pinch of salt, as it is cooking.
- Take the trays out of the oven and assemble bowls with all the ingredients. Drizzle tahini over the top and any remaining lemon juice if you have any.
Using your imagination you could create so many versions of a Buddha bowl. Keep it simple by either using mostly raw veggies that just need chopping, or anything you can bake together in the oven. The less cooking utensils or methods, the quicker and easier it is to whip up healthy superfood Buddha bowls in a flash.