A buddha bowl is a flavorful meal that combines grains, legumes, greens, vegetables, nuts and/or seeds, and fermented foods (optional). The meal goes by many names, including the one bowl, the macro bowl, and in my opinion, the salad.
As someone that eats a lot of plants, I have found that the world outside my home has lost its imagination when it comes to salad. Somehow, salads are boring, tasteless, and a chore to eat. If this sounds like you, then I think I know your problem. You don’t know how to make a salad properly.
Salads should be more like buddha bowls than they should be like the typical view of a scrawny salad with a bland mix of mesclun greens (or worse, romaine), out-of-season tomatoes, and uncomfortably thick diced carrots that make you question if you want to eat salad ever again. Those meals aren’t salads. They are appetizers with greens and a dressing. You should aim to make a salad that can fill you up.
If you still feel hungry by the end of eating your salad, chances are it’s missing a key ingredient.
What’s in a proper salad?
One of two or three of each of the following categories:
- Kale, the magical green queen
- Spinach, not too much… be careful of high oxalate greens
- Broccoli, the sulforaphane powerhouse that’s involved in the NRF2 pathway
- Cabbage (purple cabbage, especially, though not technically *green*)
- Arugula, has a tangy flavor… I usually avoid it
- The berries
- Wheat berries
- Rye Berries
- Spelt Berries
- Oat groats
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Black Rice
- The berries
- Beans (legumes)
- Black beans
- Lentils, black if you can find them and definitely not red because they mush-ify too quickly
- Red beans
- Mung beans
- Lima beans
- Adzuki beans
- Beets, though I’m not a fan
- Bell peppers. Are these a fruit?
- Nuts and/or seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Peanuts, though technically a legume
- Fermented food, optional
- Fruit, fresh or dried, optional
- Grapes or raisins
- Fungi (optional)
- cooked mushrooms
That’s a long list of ingredients, which means there are lots of combinations you can make. Keep in mind there are ingredients I’m not including that I probably should, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. You could also add hazelnuts to your salads, or plums, or cranberries, or bok choy. Did I forget anything that you like to add to your salads? Let me know in the comments.
Wow, that last sentence makes me feel like a Youtuber. The point is, the world of salads, or buddha bowls, is endless.
While buddha bowls are associated more with cooked greens and vegetables and salads with raw, I believe that the two are interchangeable. If you adopt this philosophy, I think you will end up liking “salads” more.