Hello from the recovery room! I’m writing this sans gallbladder and my brain and body aren’t working at full capacity, so I’ll keep this post short and sweet (well, short for me as we all know I’m not great at being succinct).
I’d like to share a recipe/recipe formula with you that are my absolute favourite dinners: buddha bowls! The evening before my surgery, I had this buddha bowl as “my final meal” (melodramatic much?), and it did not disappoint. In all honesty, buddha bowls take a little prep work to get each component ready, but the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
What I enjoy most about buddha bowls are their versatility, easily switched up with what’s in season, or your mood. Buddha bowls are meant to be balancing, calming meals, with a bounty of all of your favourite, nourishing foods. This South of the Border Buddha Bowl is my current go-to. It’s bright, hearty and inspired by the punchy flavours of Mexican cuisine.
The dressing is where these bowls really come to life and sing. This recipe features pumpkin and sunflower seeds, zippy lime, cumin, garlic and flaxseed oil. It’s inspired by the highly delicious, green pumpkin seed mole from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
While you can use any whole grain for a buddha bowl, I recommend short-grain brown rice (the chewy variety that takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook). In my buddha bowls, roasted sweet potatoes are a requisite addition, as is the pile of steamed kale, but I generally mix up the protein portion each time––chickpeas (my favourite), black beans, tofu, tempeh and lentils, are all delicious options that I enjoy.
I used hemp tofu in this buddha bowl recipe, which is a delicious soy-free product, full of all essential amino acids, along with an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. I eat soy tofu occasionally, but try not to have it more than a couple of times per month.
While I’m not particular about buying all of my food organic, I always purchase organic tofu and soy products, to avoid GMO soy. Tempeh (a soybean product) is another plant-based protein option; it’s fermented, unlocking the soybean’s health benefits. Fermented soy products (e.g. tempeh, miso and gluten-free tamari) neutralize the phytic acid present in soybeans that can lead to mineral depletion. Moreover, the fermenting process also reduces the phytoestrogens naturally present in soy, which can cause hormonal imbalance and contribute to estrogen dominance.
If all of this soy talk is giving you a headache, feel free to use black beans or chickpeas in this recipe instead. Simply toss the beans with smoked paprika and there you have it!
I’m looking forward to a speedy recovery and gaining my appetite back, so I can eat buddha bowls like they’re going out of style. Until then, I’ll be on my couch, drinking apple juice, sleeping and dreaming about all of the wonderful buddha bowl variations in my future.
- 1 cup uncooked, short-grain brown rice
- 1¾ cups water
- 2 large sweet potatoes, sliced into ½-inch rounds
- 6 cups torn, raw kale
- 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed to remove excess water
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ⅓ cup mixture raw sunflower seeds and raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
- Zest of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ clove garlic
- To Make the Bowls: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the sweet potato rounds in a large piece of parchment-lined aluminum foil and make a package, securing edges; roast for 2 hours. After 1 hour of the sweet potatoes being in the oven, add the brown rice and water to a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook on low for 45 minutes to 1 hour (or according to package directions).
- Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Place cubes on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with the smoked paprika until evenly covered. After the 2 hours, increase the oven temperature to 375° (you can leave the sweet potatoes in the oven as they get sweeter the longer they cook). Bake tofu for 15 minutes. Remove tofu from oven. Place kale on top of tofu and bake for an addition 2 minutes, until wilted.
- To Make the Dressing: Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender (best) or mini-food processor and puree until creamy and smooth.
- To Serve: Place ½ cup rice in each bowl and divide the sweet potato, kale and tofu evenly between the 4 bowls. Top with a large drizzle of the Velvety Southwestern Dressing. Serve hot.