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Recipe: Vegan Buddha Bowl

Vegan Buddha Bowl

A buddha bowl is a one-dish meal that consists of rice, grains or noodles, with vegetables, protein and a dressing. The protein can come in any form, be it tofu, beans, lentils, or less commonly fish and meat. In this case it’s vegan, but buddha bowls don’t have a recipe as such. You can add whatever you like into them; just remember the grain/protein/vegetable and dressing guide.
We think they’re named after the big round shape of the bowls they're served in, mimicking the belly-shape usually associated with buddha, but not the Buddha, that is. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, is often represented in a lotus position, but never with a belly.
The pot-bellied, laughing version was another monk, actually named ‘Budai’ (meaning ‘cloth sack’ in Chinese) for his selfless habit of dispensing food from a sack for the needy and the young. He lived centuries after Gautama Buddha and is depicted often in China and Japan, where his rotund belly and filled sack are said to bring good health and abundance.
So buddha bowls should probably be called Budai bowls. Western ignorance has meant that this ‘laughing Buddha’ or ‘fat Buddha’ is considered to be one and the same as the original Buddha.
We in the West do know, at least, that many schools of Buddhism recommend a meat-free diet, and buddha bowls are typically vegan or vegetarian (don’t confuse a buddha bowl with a poke bowl, as the latter always contains fish or seafood).
Some forms of Buddhism also forbid the consumption of food from the allium family (garlic, onions, leeks, spring onions and chives), because they ‘excite the senses’. Our interpretation of this is that they make you fart, and that interrupts your meditation – and the meditation of all those around you, of course!
We love the allium vegetables, but we would recommend going sparingly; sometimes there is such a thing as too much garlic. We would exercise caution with raw beansprouts as well. They can be eaten raw, but due to their humid conditions conditions they can contain nasty bacteria like E. coli.
Check that beansprouts are labeled as ‘ready to eat’, and if not, it is recommended that they are cooked, especially for anyone pregnant or with compromised immune systems. Simply boil, blanch or fry them for a few minutes.
This recipe is for two so increase the amounts accordingly for additional diners.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian
Keyword No cook, Raw, vegan
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Cost £10


  • 1 packet of couscous ~100g
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 1 sweet pepper sliced
  • 1 avocado sliced
  • ½ cucumber sliced with mandolin
  • A handful of ready-to-eat beansprouts or cooked as per the advice above
  • ½ mango sliced
  • Chopped spring onions and sesame seeds

For the ginger miso dressing

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh chopped ginger


  • Cook the couscous as per the packet instructions (soak in boiled water for a few minutes).
  • Prep your veggies.
  • Place all the dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Divide the couscous among two bowls.
  • Arrange your veggies over the couscous or around it.
  • Add your garnish.
  • Drizzle with the ginger miso dressing.
  • When eating, mix the dressing through all of the ingredients, coating them thoroughly.
  • Writes about food and travel at Foodie Explorers website. Can be mostly found cuddling cats, watching crime documentaries and drinking a beer.

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