During the warmer months, I tend to live off smoothie bowls and buddha bowls. I love them both for their ease, customizability and nutrition. I especially love buddha bowls because you can pack them full of whatever you have on hand, they’re perfect for food prep and you can make each one as different or as similar as the last. I don’t often use recipes for buddha bowls because they can really be made however you like but because I love them so much, I decided to start sharing some simple recipe ideas with you. First up, we’ve got a Coconut Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce that I know you’re going to love.
WHAT’S A BUDDHA BOWL?
A buddha bowl is just a fun name for a colourful bowl, typically composed of healthy, plant-based ingredients like vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and proteins. Apparently the name “Buddha Bowl” comes from the overstuffed bowl resembling the belly of a buddha. They’re also sometimes called macro bowls, hippie bowls or sunshine bowls. Whatever you call them, they’re really easy to make, nutrient-dense and with all the mixed flavours, colours and textures, they’re both beautiful and delicious!
HOW TO MAKE A BUDDHA BOWL
The best part about buddha bowls is there are no rules, no strict guidelines and no recipes needed! If you browse Pinterest or search “buddha bowl” in Google, you’ll notice that most bowls are loaded with loads of veggies, usually piled high on top of whole grains and leafy greens and then topped with extras like nuts, seeds, avocado and sprouts and finished off with a yummy sauce.
Grain-Free Buddha Bowls
A lot of buddha bowls will have a base of grains such as quinoa, brown rice or some kind of noodle. Today we’re switching things up and going grain-free with a base of coconut cauliflower rice. Cauliflower rice is easy to make, filling, low in carbohydrates and packed with fibre and nutrition so it makes a nice alternative to rice.
I’ve shared a number of cauliflower rice recipes on the blog before. You can check out my Healthy “Fried” Cauliflower Rice, Thai Red Curry Cauliflower Rice and Quick Peanut Cauliflower Rice for some fun ways to get started with cauliflower rice dishes. I’ve even made a breakfast rice pudding with cauliflower!
For this grain-free buddha bowl, I made a base of coconut cauliflower rice by cooking the riced cauliflower with light coconut milk, shredded coconut, garlic powder and cilantro. I know not everyone is a fan of cilantro, so feel free to leave it out if you want but I love it, so bring it on!
For more grain-free options, check out my Green Buddha Bowl with Lemon Garlic Broccoli Rice.
Build Your Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowl
I topped my bowl of coconut cauliflower rice with:
- steamed broccoli
- grated carrot
- a handful of greens
- crispy baked tofu
- black sesame seeds
Now for the sauce. This beautiful bowl is getting topped with my favourite buddha bowl sauce, you guessed it…peanut sauce. Peanut sauce and tahini are always in a close race for the best buddha bowl dressing but with the coconut flavours, I think peanut sauce is the way to go for this one. You could also substitute almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter if you prefer.
I went with a coconut peanut sauce so you can use up more of the can of light coconut milk you’ll need for the cauliflower rice. This sauce is super addicting so feel free to make extra and use it on all sorts of salads and other buddha bowls.
If you don’t feel like building a whole buddha bowl, try a bowl of the coconut cauliflower rice smothered in the peanut sauce. Oh, man. This sauce is GOOD.
Buddha Bowls for Food Prep
I’m all about buddha bowls for food prep too. Rather than making specific recipes for food prep, I like doing a salad bar-inspired prep ie. all the buddha bowl goods! Some of my favourite item to prep for making buddha bowls all week are:
- roasted sweet potatoes
- roasted chickpeas
- diced bell peppers
- grated carrots
- grated beets
- chopped broccoli for quick steaming or roasting
- riced cauliflower or roasted cauliflower
- pickled onions or cabbage
- baked tofu
- cooked edamame
Once I’ve got a fridge full of buddha bowl ingredients, I can quickly throw together whatever I feel like on a day-to-day basis. Buddha bowls are healthy, beautiful, nourishing and you can make them as small or a big as your appetite demands on any given day. If you have a well-stocked pantry, some prepped buddha bowl items and plenty of fresh produce, you’ll always be ready whipping up your own buddha bowls creations at home.
Buddha Bowl Inspiration
While I’ve written out a recipe for these bowls below, it’s more of a guideline to inspire you to create your own. You can use any veggies you have on hand, switch up the sauce, use brown rice or quinoa instead of cauliflower rice and add anything else your heart desires.
I like to create buddha bowls by combining a green, a protein source, sauce and then whatever veggies I feel like or have available. Any and all, raw or cooked veggies work and it’s always nice to have some crunchy nuts or seeds on top too. Think about adding foods with different textures and colours and you’ll be headed in the right direction.
Alright, let’s get into this Coconut Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowl. Enjoy!
Coconut Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowl
Creamy, coconut-infused cauliflower rice gets topped with crispy baked tofu, steamed broccoli, grated carrot and creamy coconut peanut sauce in this healthy and delicious buddha bowl.
- Yield: 4
For the Coconut Cauliflower Rice
- 1 crown cauliflower, riced (approx. 800 g or 6 heaping cups chopped cauliflower)
- 1 cup (250 mL) light coconut milk (reserve 1/4 cup from can for the peanut sauce)
- 1/2 cup (35 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
For the Peanut Sauce
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk
- 5 tbsp (75 g) natural peanut or almond butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- pinch of sea salt
Buddha Bowl Ingredients
- steamed broccoli
- grated carrot
- baked tofu (see note for how to prepare)
- greens of choice
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
- To make the cauliflower rice, add the riced cauliflower to a pan and stir in 1 cup of light coconut milk, 2 tsp garlic powder, the unsweetened coconut. Cook over medium to high heat for 5-10 minutes until tender and fragrant. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
- To make the peanut sauce, add all the ingredients to a container and use an immersion blender to combine, or add everything to a blender or food processor and mix until smooth.
- To assemble the Buddha Bowls, add a few scoops of cauliflower rice to a bowl and top with steamed broccoli, grated carrot, baked tofu, a handful of greens and plenty of peanut sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and dig in!
- To make baked tofu, cube a block of firm or extra-firm tofu and place in a bowl. Add a few dashes of soy sauce, a generous amount of garlic powder and black pepper and toss to coat. Place the cubes on a non-stick or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, flipping once half-way through, until browned and crispy. Follow this recipe for further instructions.
- This is a rough recipe. There will be lots of cauliflower rice so depending on how many people you are serving, there will be extra. You can use it in other recipes, enjoy as is, to replace rice in any dish or to make more bowls over a couple of days.
- The sauce recipe makes enough for 4 bowls.