Buddha Bowl

The Buddha Bowl

A bowl of quinoa topped with marinated tofu, peppers, mushrooms, and a spicy sauce.


The Buddha Bowl

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Honestly, I’d never even heard of a Buddha bowl until a week or two ago. I was kind of shocked that it won last week’s poll by so much! At first I thought it was a recipe, then after a few google searches, I realized it was more of a product – an actual bowl.

Oh well. All I know is that I read in a magazine (Body + Soul – Betsy subscribes) that you could make a Buddha bowl meal. The magazine presented it as more of a concept than a recipe though. If I had to, this is how I’d define it:

Buddha Bowl (n.) — Various flavorful veggies (and occasionally meats) packed into a bowl over grains or rice and normally accompanied with a sauce of some sort.

So that’s the idea and this is my take on it:

You can probably spot most of the ingredients, but instead of rice, which is on the bottom of the bowl, I used a turmeric-spiced quinoa. Quinoa is the new hip grain that all the cool kids are cooking and with reason. The stuff is pretty tasty!

The Buddha Bowl

Serves 4
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Buddha Bowl
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A bowl of quinoa topped with marinated tofu, peppers, mushrooms, and a spicy sauce.


2 cups quinoa, soaked
1 16 ounce block of extra-firm tofu
2 portabella mushrooms, sliced thick
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
2-3 inches turmeric root
Pinch of salt
3 Tablespoon canola oil


1/3 Cup soy sauce (I like Tamari.)
1-2 Tablespoons chili garlic sauce (optional)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil


1) Cook quinoa according to package. Add a pinch of turmeric to simmering quinoa.

2) Prep the tofu by pressing with a paper towel to remove moisture and slice into 1/2 inch slices then lay slices out on a paper towel for more moisture removal.

3) Place tofu in a dish and add sauce. Turn pieces to make sure they are evenly covered.

4) Wash and chop veggies into thick slices.

5) Add a few tablespoons of neutral oil to a hot pan. Let the tofu cook for about 4 minutes a side.

6) Remove the tofu and cook the veggies in the same pan with a tablespoon of fresh oil for a few minutes.

7) Plate a serving of quinoa or rice in a bowl and add your veggies and tofu around the sides and place the sauce directly in the middle to serve!

Prepping the ingredients

The first thing you need to prep for this yummy and healthy bowl is the tofu. Extra firm is best for this dish because you want a firm final product. Even with extra-firm, I like to press out some of the moisture to make sure it browns nicely.

So slice your tofu into 1/2 inch slices and lay them out on a paper towel.

Tofu cut
Preparing tofu is soy easy.

Then throw a few paper towels on top of the tofu and add a flat surface like a cutting board. Then put something heavy on top to slowly press out some of the moisture from the tofu.

Tofu Press
Putting the pressure on.

What’s that very heavy thing on top of my tofu? Well, that’s my quinoa soaking. Here’s a close up:

Quinoa soaking
An hour isn’t really necessary…

Some instructions call for soaking quinoa for 2-3 hours in cold water. I was in a rush so I only soaked mine for about 20 minutes and I didn’t notice any odd effects.

Marinating the tofu

I think it adds some great flavor to the tofu (which needs it) to marinate it for even a few minutes before cooking. Just put it in a dish after you’ve pressed it and add your sauce to it. Kind of flip all the pieces around a bit to make sure they are evenly covered. This is the same sauce that I serve with the meal. No need to make more… it’s just tofu!

Marinating tofu
Flavor town.

Also, wash and chop your veggies. You can slice them into pretty thick slices.

Other Veggies
Important subjects.

Cooking the quinoa

Quinoa cooks basically like rice (and you could substitute any kind of rice for this dish without a problem). Add your quinoa to a large saucepan with a lid and add 2 cups of water to every cup of quinoa. So for the recipe above, you’d add 4 cups of water. Plus a pinch of salt. Let it come to simmer and then cook it for about 15-18 minutes with the lid on.

I also added some grated turmeric to my quinoa right when I started it. The turmeric kind of cooked into the water and gave the final grain a fantastic color and almost earthy flavor. It was awesome. I was able to find some of the fresh stuff at Whole Foods. I’d never actually used it before. It’s bright orange and stains everything it touches. It like ginger root on the outside and beet on the inside. Weird stuff.

But, if you want, you can grate it up and add it to your rice or quinoa and it’ll kick up the final version a notch.

My first time with this stuff.

Cooking the tofu and veggies

To cook the tofu, add a few tablespoons of neutral oil to a hot pan. Let the tofu cook for about 4 minutes a side. It should brown really nicely. Watch out! The oil will splatter!

Tofu Cooking
The browner the better.

Once the tofu is done, you can cook the veggies in the same pan. You might need to add a tablespoon of fresh oil. Cook the veggies for just a few minutes. You want them still to have a tiny bite.

Then plate up a bit serving of quinoa or rice in a bowl and add your veggies and tofu around the sides. If you want to get all fancy you can stick a tiny bowl of sauce right in the middle like I did in the first photo.

This dish also happens to make for an awesome lunch. Here’s my packed up version in an old Chinese take-out container.

Makes an awesome lunch.

The only thing I think I would change about this meal if I made it again is maybe make the sauce a little spicier. But that’s just my personal tastes. You could get very creative with toppings and other veggies also though. Just remember, it’s all got to fit in a bowl! It’s kind of a zen meal like that.

10 Responses to “The Buddha Bowl” Leave a comment

  1. Wow, interesting. I’ve never heard of anything like this, either. I love the idea, though, and that sauce sounds pretty tasty! I’m going to try this out soon.

  2. I just had a buddha bowl at a local restaurant last week. It was veggies over your choice of white or brown rice and you could add tofu, chicken or beef. The sauce was really good and they had some crispy things on top which made a nice contrast and an additional texture. I’m going to try yours :)

  3. Quinoa — the new, cool, hip grain? Heh. More like the grain all of us crazy hippies have been eating for years! :)

    Love the concept of the buddha bowl — for me, it always seems a lot like a deconstructed stir-fry.

    And this would be great with deep-fried tofu (one of my favorites)!

  4. You can actually skip the soaking of quinoa all together. I’ve cooked it a bunch of times and never soaked it. In fact, I just checked the directions on the box in my pantry and it doesn’t mention soaking it. So there, 20 minutes saved! :+)

    BTW, this sounds like a great idea for a reasonably quick and very healthy dinner. I’ll definitely add this to my repertoire.

  5. I stumbled upon your blog a week ago. I dig your style. This is the kind of food I cook. Can’t wait to try the Buddah Bowl. I was just talking to a friend about trying quinoa.

  6. Great looking presentation, I bet it tastes it too.

    Buddha Bowls are available at the world famous Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox MA,

    888-399-1332 — cost $23.00. The best suggestion I could make to anyone is to come here to Lenox and take some courses, and buy the bowl to take home. Otherwise the bowl can be ordered by phone.

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