While the term Buddha Bowl is fairly new, the concept of a one-bowl meal has been around for thousands of years.
Perhaps the term was coined because it is believed that Buddha would walk around with a bowl and local villagers would fill it with alms of whatever food they could spare.
One-bowl meals can also be traced to Asia and Hawaii. In Korea, Bibimbap is a bowl of rice topped with seasoned sautéed vegetables, kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage) an egg and/or sliced meat. Bibimbap is seasoned with soy sauce, chili pepper paste or fermented soybean paste.
In Hawaii, Poke Bowls consist of warm rice topped with chunks of cold, marinated sushi grade raw fish and vegetables. More recently one-bowl meals have also been referred to as Macro Bowls, Hippie Bowls, Power Bowls and Grain Bowls.
Typically Buddha Bowls are healthy, artfully designed one-bowl meals that are vegan or vegetarian and include a grain or starch and vegetables, either fresh or cooked. Of course meat protein can be added, but a plant based bowl will offer all the essential amino acids. The sauces can be varied too, with tons of recipes to be be found on the internet.
Farro is an ancient wheat-derived grain and is great for a Buddha Bowl because it supplies dietary fiber, protein and iron. Farro can be cooked with water but adding aromatic herbs or using vegetable broth will enhance the flavor profile.
There are three ways in which farro is processed: whole grain is the best choice for most fiber and nutrients; semi-pearled has part of the bran removed from the grain; and pearled has all the bran and outer husk removed. Cooking time varies with each type of processed grain, the whole grain needing the longest preparation time.
The beauty of a Buddha Bowl is its versatility. It can be a healthy quick lunch or served in a large bowl as a beautiful entrée at a dinner party. Be creative with selecting ingredients and arranging them for an artful presentation!
Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowl with Yum-Yum Sauce
2 cups cooked farro
1 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
½ onion, cut into wedges
1 cup baby carrots
1 cup of brussel sprouts
1 cup of broccoli
½ red pepper, seeded and cut into strips
½ cup of garbanzo beans tossed with oil, chili powder and seasoned salt
1 cup real mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Aji-Mirin (sweet cooking rice seasoning)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon of juice from a jar of pickled ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon ketchup
½ teaspoon paprika
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat the edges of the cut acorn squash with spray oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender but still a bit firm. When the squash has cooled enough to handle, score it with a knife making ½ inch cubes and scoop them out with a spoon. Keep warm until the other vegetables are roasted.
Lightly coat the remaining vegetables with oil, ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, salt and pepper. Fresh aromatic herbs can be added to the vegetables as well. Place vegetables on a baking tray and roast until tender.
Meanwhile, place seasoned garbanzo beans in a skillet on high heat and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Put the cooked farro in a serving bowl with the garbanzo beans and arrange the vegetables on top. Serve with Yum-Yum sauce.
Have fun in the kitchen!