The Buddha Bowl

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:

  • Greens
    • 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
  • Grains
    • The berries
      • Wheat berries
      • Rye Berries
      • Spelt Berries
    • Farro
    • Quinoa
    • Oat groats
    • Wild rice
    • Brown rice
    • Black Rice
  • Beans (legumes)
    • Chickpeas
    • Black beans
    • Lentils, black if you can find them and definitely not red because they mush-ify too quickly
    • Red beans
    • Mung beans
    • Peas
    • Lima beans
    • Adzuki beans
  • Vegetables
    • Carrots
    • Beets, though I’m not a fan
    • Bell peppers. Are these a fruit?
    • Cucumbers
    • Cauliflower
  • Nuts and/or seeds
    • Walnuts
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Cashews
    • Pecans
    • Almonds
    • Peanuts, though technically a legume
  • Fermented food, optional
    • Sauerkraut
    • Kimchi
    • Tempeh
  • Fruit, fresh or dried, optional
    • Grapes or raisins
    • Strawberries
    • Tomatoes
    • Blueberries
    • Raspberries
    • Apples
    • Pears
  • 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.

%d bloggers like this: