This colorful recipe has been slowly taking shape in my kitchen over the past few months. I’ve seen “Buddha bowls” all over the internet and menus lately, so I set out to make one.
What are Buddha bowls, though? How did whole-grain-and-veggie-bowls-with-tasty-sauce all become abbreviated as “Buddha bowls”?
I found some guidance in this Epicurious article by Katherine Sacks. In summary, Buddha carried a bowl with him on his journeys and accepted food as donations, which he would eat at the end of the day. Katherine also mentioned that Buddha bowls are similar to macrobiotic (macro) bowls with whole grains and steamed or raw veggies.
I created this versatile bowl with those factors in mind. It’s unbelievably tasty and nutritious, too! I love eating leftovers all week long.
How to Make the Best Buddha Bowl
This recipe starts with a base of brown rice with steamed edamame and vegetables. They all miraculously cook together in one pot (this would actually be a super easy meal in itself).
For the vegetables, you can choose from snap peas, snow peas or broccoli. If you have another favorite vegetable that steams well, I bet it will work, too.
Then, add some of your favorite chopped raw veggies to the mix (I can vouch for cabbage, romaine, spinach, and kale).
Top with a generous drizzle of my favorite carrot-ginger dressing, which has also made an appearance in this chopped salad. That dressing is absolutely worth the effort to make. You’ll end up with extra for future salads, and you can make it in advance if you’d like.
The Buddha bowl isn’t quite complete without ripe avocado, which we’ll dress up with toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and flaky sea salt. I roughly stole that idea from a delicious vegetarian platter that I ordered in Morocco this spring. It’s a great snack on its own, and I’m sure you’ll see that component again soon.
Watch How to Make Buddha Bowls
This bowl isn’t the quickest option around, but it’s brimming with nutrients and fiber, and it makes for great leftovers. Feel free to play around with the vegetables and mix-and-match the various components.
Please let me know how you like this recipe in the comments! I love hearing from you.
More Light & Refreshing Meals
Don’t miss these wholesome recipes on Cookie and Kate:
- Coconut Rice with Brussels Sprouts
- Colorful Veggie Lettuce Wraps
- Extra Vegetable Fried Rice
- Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
- Vegetarian Sushi Bowls
Build-Your-Own Buddha Bowl
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 bowls 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Asian
This buddha bowl recipe is super fresh, delicious and versatile! The rice and veggies and dressing can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Recipe yields 4 meal-sized bowls.
Rice and veggies
- 1 ¼ cups short-grain brown rice or long-grain brown rice, rinsed
- 1 ½ cups frozen shelled edamame, preferably organic
- 1 ½ cups trimmed and roughly chopped snap peas or snow peas, or thinly sliced broccoli florets
- 1 to 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce, to taste
- 4 cups chopped red cabbage or spinach or romaine lettuce or kale (ribs removed)
- 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and thinly sliced into long strips (wait to slice just before serving, see details in step 5)
- 1 small cucumber, very thinly sliced
- Carrot ginger dressing*
- Thinly sliced green onion (about ½ small bunch)
- Lime wedges
- Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling
- Sesame seeds
- Flaky sea salt
- Bring a large pot of water to boil (ideally about 4 quarts water). Once the water is boiling, add the rice and continue boiling for 25 minutes. Add the edamame and cook for 3 more minutes (it’s ok if the water doesn’t reach a rapid boil again). Then add the snap peas and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Drain well, and return the rice and veggies to the pot. Season to taste with 1 to 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce, and stir to combine.
- Divide the rice/veggie mixture and raw veggies into 4 bowls. Arrange cucumber slices along the edge of the bowl (see photos). Drizzle lightly with carrot ginger dressing and top with sliced green onion. Place a lime wedge or 2 in each bowl.
- When you’re ready to serve, divide the avocado into the bowls. Lightly drizzle sesame oil over the avocado, followed by a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds and flaky sea salt. Serve promptly.
- If you intend to have leftovers, wait to complete step 4 just before serving (otherwise the avocado will brown too soon). Leftover bowls keep well (avocado excluded) for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.
*Carrot ginger dressing note: You’re probably only going to need ½ batch of the dressing for 4 bowls. I recommend making the full batch since blenders require a decent volume of liquid to blend. Just use the leftover dressing on salads within 1 to 2 weeks of making.
*Make it quick: If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the dressing and drizzle tamari and toasted sesame oil lightly over the bowls instead.
Make it vegan: Be sure to follow the vegan option while making the carrot-ginger dressing.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free tamari, instead of soy sauce. Or, omit the soy sauce altogether and season the rice with salt, to taste.
Make it soy free: Omit the tamari/soy sauce and season the rice with salt, to taste.
Recommended equipment: I love my Vitamix blender for making the dressing and this colander for draining the rice and veggies (those are affiliate links).
Love me a buddha bowl with all the goodies!!
Right?! Thanks Gaby!
In the process of making this recipe. Just curious about the recommended 30 minute cooking time for the brown rice (initial 25 minutes plus 5 minutes for added vegetables). Brown rice usually needs to cook for 45 to 50 minutes. Is 30 minutes enough or is the 25 a typo?
Looks so amazing, and I loved the description to the recipe!
Thank you, Charlie!
This is amazing!!! Just made it. So delicious. I love all of the flavors.
Love this post! I like the freedom you give, because like you said “Buddha bowl” means something different to everyone! For me it’s all about a peanut-y sauce!
Thanks, Gabby! I’d be happy with peanut sauce on this bowl, for sure!
Can’t wait to try ! Its a wonderful time to be alive.
Hope you love it, Lisa! :)
I make buddha bowls with your peanut dipping sauce recipe as my dressing. And add your crispy tofu!! I can’t wait to try it this way.
That sounds so delicious! Have you tried the roasted broccoli and tofu bowls in my cookbook? I know you’d love it!
Alexandra | Occasionally Eggs
Bowl food is the best food! I usually end up with a more Morrocan-ish vibe but this looks really refreshing but still filling, you know?
I like your blog because it is about good food. In my humble opinion, I’m very happy that you don’t talk about politics, religion or current issues in the news. Yes, these are challenging times, and we are basically inundated with coverage. There is enough of all that elsewhere. Thank you for being about great healthy recipes! By the way, the Buddha bowl looks amazing and I look forward to making your recipe.
Buddha bowls are great family meals. Everyone can find a few things they like to add to their dish and skip the items they don’t like. Thanks for sharing.
Cassie Autumn Tran
Ahhhh, Buddha bowls! They’re my favorite! Leafy greens, beans and brown rice are my favorite to include in Buddha bowls. I cannot forget some spicy dressing in there too!
On your comment – yes it’s a crazy time – and what can we do but find our own ways of making it less so, for everybody.
As to the recipe: it’s substantial and tasty, particularly with the carrot ginger dressing, and brought me back to younger and (perhaps) simpler times.
Yay! Thanks, Ana.
I made this salad yesterday for a birthday party. It was the most popular plate on the table and elicited many great comments. A wonderful combination of flavours topped off by the superb carrot dressing.
I did substitute Quinoa for the rice and when I added Tamari it was just beautiful.
That makes me so happy to hear! Thank you, Stephen, for letting me know. Glad to hear that quinoa worked well here.
Made this for dinner last night and it was delicious. The Carrot Ginger dressing is so yummy that I will be putting it on everything! Also, it blended up nicely in my grandmother’s Sunbeam Blender from 1950 something. Originally, I accidentally left out the ginger and it was great (I mention this in case you aren’t a fan of ginger). Adding the ginger made it super great! The Buddha bowls and Carrot Ginger Dressing are definitely on my list of “regulars”.
Thank you, Paula! I am excited to know they made your regulars list!
LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. The carrot ginger dressing is so delicious! A great vegetarian dish. Even my die hard carnivore husband loves it for dinner.
My brother here in Toronto, Canada sent me your link. It would be a challenge for me because my landlord is retired and we share the kitchen.she’s is all love and means well, but I’ll need to carve some time out when she is not in the kitchen. (Is her 2nd. Bedroom!!). Hahahaha. Is hilarious. She’s into organic food and she’s retired. But nevertheless I’ll plow my way, one way or the other. Send more recipes and I’ll send the link to sll my friends in 4 continents. Are you in facebook? Cheers!
Love everything about this recipe. Tried the dressing before on a salad and it was delicious, but on this Buddha bowl it’s something else. Makes my top 3 cookie and Kate recipe list …… that’s saying A LOT!
I love that! It’s so good and wonderful to look at too :) Enjoy.
Bronwyn Patrica Platz
Kate! This was delicious. My whole family thought it was better than restaurant quality – I preface every meal I make with ‘ Tonight we have another restaurant quality meal…’
We have never had a zingy carrot dressing. This with the grains, the raw, the steamed and the avocado – DIVINE!!!
Winning! Way to go, Bronwyn. Thanks so much for your star review and comment. I really appreciate it.
This Buddha Bowl hit the spot today! This was my hubby’s first time eating healthy with me and now he wants me to make it at least once a week! Great start to a healthy new year!
What a way to start the new year! Full of wonderful goodness. Thank you, for your star review and comment.
I tried this based on your best of 2017 post – and I am so glad I did! This was delicious and the carrot ginger dressing made it complete. Thanks for another great recipe Kate!
Me too! It’s so fresh and wonderful. I appreciate the review, Tara.
Loved it! I had leftover rice and added steamed edamame & broccoli, so the prep time was under 20 minutes. The carrot-ginger dressing is amazing. Such a quick, tasty weeknight dinner. Great recipe, will definitely make again and variations of this – thanks!
I love when that happens! Quick and so tasty. Thank you, Lauren for sharing and for your review.
Loved it! Such a refreshing, bright and nourishing meal! I added a few bits of chopped cilantro as a garnish for an added pop of flavour.
Fantastic! Thank you, Kaitlyn for the review.
Perfect for meal prep! Crunchy and fresh on the rice and veggie mix is delightful.
I subbed cauliflower for the green beans part, no complaints.
The carrot ginger dressing recommended is a must!
Wonderful! Thank you again :)
I have been slowly working through many of your recipes Kate, (thank you!) some have become my weekly staples (like you’re delicious granola-mmmmmmm)….difficult to keep around once everyone tried it! These Buddha bowls were a huge hit for a Friday night impromptu family supper! The carrot-ginger dressing is to die for!
I am enjoying your cook book as well-keep up the great work (you too Cookie-your photos make me smile)!
Thank you, and thank you! I love that. I really appreciate the support, Sheryl!
Where did you find these bowls? (Or some similar?)
Hi Pat! Bought those at World Market. :)
I made this for my overly opinionated teenagers and they LOVED it! (One for mom! Yay!) It was a nice change-so fun and fresh. Definitely will make again.
Hooray! Love hearing that, Karen.
I made this last week and it was so good and easy to make! I am a new cook and even I couldn’t mess this one up.
Hooray! Thanks for sharing, Audrey.
This recipe has been in heavy rotation for us lately; I’ll be doubling it this week to have more leftovers for lunch. We love the carrot ginger dressing too – so many fresh flavors!
Great lunch option! I love that you are doubling it. Thanks for sharing!
Hey! Just wondering what bowls you use or recommend? I can’t seem to find a bowl that’s quite big enough and my usual small-ish cereal/soup bowls can never fit enough stuff in them!
Hi Meredith! I really like deeper bowls. Crate & Barrel has some great options!
Is the Moroccan restaurant you’re referring to Bondi in Casablanca? We were just there, and this reminds me of something they have. I enjoy your take on it. Your dressing is a nice twist.
I would like to make this recipe oil-free, any recommendations? I was just going to try omitting the oils and adding a little water at a time if liquid was needed?
Hey Kate, yes, I think that sounds like a good plan.
53 net carbs? Diabetics have to count every carb. 15g is one serving. Sounds good but we have to leave off rice right at the start!
Oh, to eat normal again.
That’s hard! It sounds like you know what you need to do to make it work, Pat.
I just made this for the first time with both red cabbage and spinach, it was DELICIOUS!! The flavor reminded me of my favorite poke bowl that I get in my town. I cannot get enough of the carrot ginger dressing! It all tastes so fresh and makes me ready for spring. Next time, I may add a little shrimp, tuna, or tofu to get more protein as well!
You’re welcome, Joni!
Hi, Kate. I’m planning to make your Buddha bowls tomorrow for a celebratory lunch for guests; however, the link to the carrot ginger dressing routes to a gorgeous photo with no details on the ingredients or prep directions. Would love it if you’d publish/send me the recipe at your earliest convenience. Looking forward to preparing and serving another successful C+K recipe. Thank you!
Hi Susan! I’m sorry for your experience with Cookie + Kate over the weekend. My web hosting made a big mistake and I’ve worked with them to resolve the issue. All should be fine now.
Thanks, Kate. The dressing was vibrant and delish.
The link to carrot ginger dressing is not working :( It just takes me to a picture of it. I tried searching the blog and it does the same thing when I click on it. It is so good, would love to have the recipe again!
Hi Audrey! I’m sorry for your experience with Cookie + Kate this weekend. My website hosting made a big mistake and I’ve worked with them to fix it. All should be working now. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
This was SO good! The carrot-ginger dressing adds a fresh burst of flavor, and the mix of crisp veggies and chewy rice and edamame is just EPIC. And the avocado with toasted sesame oil- definitely don’t skip any of it! This is exactly the type of meal I love eating, especially now that Spring is underway and I’m craving lighter dinners. My fiancé has already requested that I make this again ASAP. Thanks for another great recipe; you are truly one of the few sites/cookbooks out there that has recipes that are RELIABLY awesome, every time :)
Epic, I love it! Thank you for sharing and for your review, Jen!
I just discovered Buddha bowls so immediately went to your website and made this last night. It was incredible! I am hooked on them now.
I’m glad you loved it, Jacquine!
I made this buddha bowl for my husband and I last night, as directed and we loved it. The carrot ginger dressing is fantastic and added such gorgeous color. We topped it with some cherry tomatoes and cuke, and little of Trader Joe’s teriyaki baked tofu, quickly sauteed in a pan with kale and some snap peas. It will go on our steady rotation (as well as your lentil tacos and black bean enchiladas.) Thanks for your lovely recipes.
You’re welcome! I’m happy it was such a hit.
My first attempt at a budda bowl, I had no doubt it was going to be delicious as all the ingredients are… but daaammmnn!!!! This is my new favourite go to meal! That carrot and ginger dressing is sublime!!!!
Hooray! Thanks for taking your time to comment and review, Claire.
I used sushi rice instead of brown rice and cooked the cabbage but it was just amazing. Really this is just one of the best recipes i’ve ever done!! I truly loved it:)
I’m happy you love it!
Delicious! I used quinoa instead of brown rice, used broccoli in place of sugar snap peas. I made the quinoa like usual and right before adding the edamame and broccoli i added just a bit more water. Because of this i didn’t need to do the draining step as all water was used. For the bowl, I added red pepper and chopped basil and skipped the avocado. The carrot dressing was delicious on top. I didn’t think I would like it when I taste tested the dressing, but when on top of the buddha bowl it was a revelation. Not sure why but am guessing that the dressing has a strong vinegar/sour taste that pairs well with grains and veggies.
Thank you Jennifer, for sharing your variation! I’m happy you liked the dressing in the bowl!
My new favorite! This was such a delicious and nutritious dinner-Ill be serving this often.
Thank you for sharing, Michelle!
I’ve made a couple of dinners using your recipes, and they turned out great. I really appreciate your website. My comment has to do with using oil. I have recently come across research that claims oil is very bad for the body, and I have read a number of articles by doctors (Dr. Esselstyn for example) who have advised their readers not to consume any oil, which they claim leads directly to heart disease. You seem to use a lot of oil in your recipes, yet you also seem concerned about heating healthy foods. So here is my questions: Do you believe oil is healthy? And if so, why? BTW, I am not trying to be confrontational. I am just trying to eat as healthy as possible, and I am in a never-ending inquiry to that end. Thanks.
Hi Chris, I know there are a lot of opinions out there and things come and go. Since I’m not a registered nutritionist, I can’t speak directly to the healthy makeup. I think it’s something that is great for a balanced whole food lifestyle. If your health professional and body say otherwise, you need to do what is best for you. :)
This was so delicious. I’m guilty of tinkering with pretty much all recipes somewhere at some point but I made this exactly as written and it came out perfect. The carrot ginger dressing is so flavourful and to-die-for. Thank-you so much Kate for all your healthy recipes! They really helped me in transitioning to a vegetarian diet this year :)
Is this a meal that fills you up? As a 40 yr old male, I want a lunch that will take me to dinner, without snacking. -Thanks
Can the first steps be done in an instant pot?
I’m not sure, sorry!
Kate, hi. Your mouthwatering buddha bowl ideas are creatively imagined and beautifully imaged! You’re very wise to steer clear of the 24/7 anxiety-ridden news round and focus on these timeless treats. In the long run, healthy, more veggie, eating will do more for the planet than any rehash of the madness of the political cycle could.
Cookie looks like a great pal. I prefer dogs to most humans. … which sounds sad, but really, don’t most dogs much prefer their humans to the other canines they meet?
Made this tonight, DELICIOUS!!!!
Can you use tinned edamame instead of frozen?
I prefer frozen, but canned should work too.
made this yesterday for my school lunch today, and oh! so tasty!! especially the carrot ginger dressing, love it so much! thx kate!
Oh my goodness this recipe and the carrot ginger dressing is amazing!! We just discovered your site and will be making many more of your recipes. Thank you for helping us on our whole food/vegan journey!
I loved this! Refreshing and filling! Simply delicious! Next time I may add tof of shrimp or chicken. So versatile!!
I added chickpeas lightly sautéed in a tiny bit of oil with some salt and chili powder for protein. I also think that you could make the rice in your rice cooker, put the veggies in the microwave with a TBSP of water for a minute and then mix together and season.
My family raved when we had it last night and wants me to make it again next week. My son was especially surprised at what the drizzle of sesame oil did for it. Thanks Cookie, although I know Kate probably helped a bit. ;)
Thanks for sharing how you got creative, Susie! I appreciate you taking the time tor review.
I’ve been looking forward to experimenting with buddha bowls and yours is the first I’ve tried. I swapped the brown rice for organic red rice that was on hand and added in some leftovers that needed using: red onion, grated carrot and a little bit of tricolour quinoa. It was a delicious and satisfying meal that I’ll be making again.
Hello! Thanks for recipe, would this be better cold or is it supposed to br warmed up? i am making for meal prep for work lunches.
You could serve this cold and makes great lunches for the week!
Kate, this recipe was absolutely DELICIOUS! Everything worked perfectly together, and the dressing was tangy and flavourful.
Thank you so so much! :)))
We make these regularly – a household favorite! We like to add mushrooms. Delicious!!
I made this dressing, which is wonderful, but it is not as smooth as I had envisioned. I don’t have a blender, only a Ninja food processor. I’ve used the puree option twice and then the smoothie option twice. It is smoother than it was, but still kind of lumpy. Any suggestions? I was thinking of straining it in a mesh strainer.
Hi Michael! Yes, straining out the carrot bits is a great idea. My blender blends them all up, but it’s an expensive one. Some others have tried steaming their carrots first, which would likely change the flavor a bit, but might be worth trying. Hope that helps!
We brought all of the ingredients over to our friend’s house tonight for dinner, we had a build it yourself buddha bowl night and it was a perfect dinner for a hot summer night. The carrot ginger dressing really ties everything together and is the most vibrant, glorious color. Thanks Kate!
This was 100% amazing. I was expecting it to taste “pretty good for something healthy.” I was mostly worried about the raw cabbage being…well, too raw. I was blown away. So many great flavors and textures. I ate my first one after it sat in the fridge for 12 hours. I didn’t heat it up or anything. Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow.
This was amazing! I was really worried about all that water used to boil the rice, but as soon as it was drained, and the soy sauce added, the rice/edamame/snow pea mixture was SO good! Everyone raved about this buddha bowl and we are making them again this weekend! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing! I’m excited you loved it.
If I only had white rice available, would you adjust anything?
Hi Emma, you can use white rice if that is all you have available.
This bowl is delicious and was perfect for my anti-parasite diet. My family loves it. The carrot ginger dressing is a must make. I added pumpkin seeds to mine for a little extra crunch and health benefits.
This recipe is a winner! Simple and incredibly tasty. The ginger carrot dressing is heavenly!
Where is the recipe for CARROT GINGER DRESSING??
Hi! It’s linked to in the post or you can click on Carrot Ginger Dressing.
Where does the red cabbage come in???
Hi! See step 3 – you will divide it between the bowls.
I really liked the recipe and am glad I came here to see it I told all my friends too
Omg…made this tonight! A bowl of heaven!!! It was incredible. Thanks for the recipe!!
I am a #chefintraining always and have been searching for a rice bowl that is healthy and tastes good. This Buddha Bowl was family approve. Can’t wait to make more of your recipes. Thanks so much. Robyn @coffeechatgirl
This was really outstanding, and quite easy to make. And that dressing… oh my! Thanks for a winner.
I’m happy you enjoyed it, Teresa!
Another great recipe we loved it the carrot and ginger dressing is fabulous. Thanks again Karman
You’re welcome! Thank you for your review.
I want to try this. But first I need bowls this size. What are the measurements and how many ounzes do they hold? Thank you.
Holly M M Kiper
How would you change cooking instructions if using basmati rice?
Hi Holly, I would follow my How to Cook Perfect Brown Rice method and check to see what the packaging suggests too.
I wanted to point out that where you suggested making this dish soy-free by leaving out the tamari, you missed that edamame are immature soybeans! People would need to substitute another legume or maybe quinoa for them.
Hi Debra, Thank you for your comment. Yes, if others need to adapt that ingredient, that would be a great option.
Holy guacamole— that dressing is the best thing ever. I originally made these when my husband was out of town a couple years ago and recently rediscovered them. So so good!!
Hooray! I’m happy you rediscovered them. I appreciate your review, Jennifer.
I don’t often leave reviews BUT this one was too good not too! It is so fresh and zippy – I made it exact to the instructions and it was a perfect lunch, I honestly can’t wait to eat it again – delicious and so nutritious, I will for sure be bookmarking this site for future recipes!
I’m glad you did, Nicole! Thank you for your review.
Love this recipe. Would it made much of a difference subbing the red cabbage for green cabbage?
You can use green cabbage too. I hope you love it!
Thank you for your clean, fresh recipe platform- not to mention your so tasty recipes. This is one of my favs. I sometimes make it for friends and they ask for it again! So there you go…
You’re welcome! I’m excited you are enjoying it.
Made this today and it was GREAT! My husband and I are newly following the WFPBNO way of eating and I lean on your recipes frequently. Today I made the Carrot Ginger Dressing without oil by substituting aquafaba for the olive oil and tahini for the sesame oil. We really liked the dressing—though I imagine I’d have loved your version with the oil. But so happy with the adaptation.
Thank you for sharing, Gay! I appreciate your review.