This vegan buddha bowl combines quinoa, fresh veggies, roasted sweet potatoes, crispy chickpeas and roasted sunflower seeds all topped with a delicious garlic tahini dressing.
I’m a big fan of bowl meals and buddha bowls happen to be one of my favorites. With whole grains, plant protein and lots of veggies they’re the perfect vegan one-bowl dish.
This particular buddha bowl is packed with protein-filled chickpeas and quinoa and veggies. And it’s topped with a delicious garlic tahini dressing. You can follow this recipe to a tee or use whatever veggies you have on hand – either way it’s bound to become a staple recipe in your home!
What is a Buddha Bowl?
For starters, what is a Buddha bowl? It’s essentially a one-bowl meal that typically consists of grains (like rice or quinoa), fresh vegetables, roasted vegetables, plant-based protein (like beans, tofu or lentils) and some sort of dressing. They’re usually vegan or vegetarian and served cold or at room temp, although some versions are served with a warm base or warm components. Other names for this type of bowl include grain bowl, hippie bowl or nourish bowl.
quinoa – this is the base of the recipe and you can use any type of quinoa you like from white, black, red to tri-color. Cook the quinoa according to package directions or use this simple tutorial for perfect quinoa.
vegetable broth – I recommend cooking the quinoa in vegetable broth to provide added flavor. If you don’t have broth on hand you can cook the quinoa in water.
sweet potatoes – you’ll want to scrub your potatoes well and then cut them into even cubes. You can peel them if you’d like or leave the peel on, up to you!
chickpeas – this is our plant-based protein. I recommend using canned chickpeas for convenience, but you can certainly cook your own.
avocado or olive oil – for roasting the sweet potatoes and chickpeas.
sea salt and pepper – to bring all of the flavors together.
chili, garlic and onion powder – to enhance the flavor of the roasted chickpeas.
baby spinach – baby spinach has a mild flavor and texture that works great in this buddha bowl.
cucumber – provides a bright, fresh flavor and crunch to the bowl.
red cabbage –for added color and crunch.
roasted sunflower seeds – for some added flavor, healthy fats and protein.
garlic tahini dressing – this is one of my favorite dressings. It’s a delicious, tangy combination of tahini, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, liquid aminos, nutritional yeast and garlic.
avocado slices – an optional topping but I love the creaminess and healthy fats it adds to this bowl.
How to Make
Prepare dressing: Make the garlic tahini dressing by combining tahini, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, Bragg’s liquid aminos, nutritional yeast and garlic. Blend together and store in fridge until ready to assemble Buddha bowl.
Roast sweet potatoes and chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 400ºF.Chop sweet potatoes into medium-sized cubes. Place sweet potatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour sweet potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet (saving room for the chickpeas).
Add the chickpeas to a mixing bowl with oil and seasonings. Use your hands to coat the chickpeas well. Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet, separate from the sweet potatoes. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cook quinoa: While sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, cook quinoa as well. Add quinoa and broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool for 5-10 minutes. If you meal-prepped quinoa for the week, this is a great recipe to use it in!
Chop veggies: While quinoa cooks, prepare the cucumber and purple cabbage by chopping into bite-size pieces.
Assemble bowl: Once everything is ready, it’s assembly time! Divide quinoa, spinach, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cucumber and cabbage between 4 bowls. Top with sunflower seeds. Drizzle with the dressing and top with sliced avocado if using.
Buddha Bowl Variations
The best thing about buddha bowls is that they are completely customizable!
Grain – feel free to swap the quinoa for any grain of choice. This bowl would be delicious with brown rice, barley or even farro!
Protein – I used chickpeas for this recipe, but any protein will work! You could swap the chickpeas with another bean like black beans or cannellini beans or try tofu or tempeh.
Sweet potatoes – feel free to swap the sweet potatoes with another vegetable that roasts well like red potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts or broccoli.
Fresh vegetables – the sky’s the limit when it comes to fresh vegetables. I like to add veggies that provide color and crunch but aside from that, have at it!
Greens – feel free to swap the spinach with your favorite green. Kale would be my second choice.
Seeds – don’t have sunflower seeds on hand? Swap them with another nut or seed! Almonds, walnuts, hemp or sesame seeds would all be delicious.
Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch chunks. Try to make them around the same size so that they are all done cooking at the same time. Place sweet potatoes, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour sweet potatoes onto parchment lined baking sheet (save some room for the chickpeas).
Add the chickpeas to a mixing bowl with oil and seasonings. Use your hands to coat the chickpeas well. Pour chickpeas onto a baking sheet, separate from the sweet potatoes.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, tossing once half-way through, until sweet potatoes are soft. Remove from oven, taste and season with additional salt if needed.
While sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, rinse and drain quinoa, if needed. Add quinoa and broth to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile make the dressing and set aside.
To make the bowls, add ½ cup quinoa, 1 cup spinach, ½ cup sweet potatoes, ⅓ cup chickpeas, ¼ cup cucumber, ¼ cup cabbage and 1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds to 4 bowls. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons of dressing and top with sliced avocado, if desired.