Kitchen Confessions:Take Back Control with a Buddha Bowl

The world we live in can be a crazy place. Every day, we are reminded of the chaos outside of our homes, all while we are trying to function in our own lives — even on the most basic level, trying to feed and nourish ourselves and the ones we care for. Some people are picky with foods, some are intolerant or allergic and some people choose not to eat certain foods for ethical or religious regions.

Allow me introduce you to a dish that may temporarily take you away from the chaos and satisfy almost everyone in your circles — the Buddha Bowl.

I didn’t invent the Buddha Bowl. Go into any health-conscious café or restaurant and I’ll bet you will find one on the menu. What is it? It’s healthy, happy and calm — exactly what you want in meal. The Buddha Bowl can be ready when you’re ready and the best part: customizable to suit the palates of all those who choose to let it into their lives!

Think Zen in a bowl. Peace on a platter.

Ah, who am I kidding? This is just a really good meal that fits everyone’s tastes, so why not “let the light in” for a little while?

This salad can be broken down into four prep groups: the green stuff, the proteins, the carbs and my favourite part: the dressing that pulls it all together. By pre-assembling the ingredients, you will not only save you time during the week, which equals less week-day stress, but there’s something about washing and chopping healthy fresh food that is also really calming. Maybe that’s just me?

The greens are really easy to assemble. Take a stroll through your favourite produce section or market for inspiration. I usually grab kale, carrots, beets, Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, peppers, avocado, pea shoots, fresh herbs and seasonal fruit. Prep all your vegetables; grate root vegetables with a standard box grater, chop all the other veggies and store in airtight containers for when you’re ready to assemble your bowls.

Proteins are also really easy to modify for whomever you’re trying to feed. Pre-cooked chicken, pork, steak, salmon or shrimp would all be really good on top of a Buddha Bowl. Marinated tofu, chickpeas and chopped nuts are also amazing meat-free protein options. I also usually add goat cheese or feta for a bit of creaminess.

It’s nice to have a bit of carbs in a meal, so while you are prepping your greens and proteins, cook up some brown rice, quinoa or rice noodles. I’ve recently discovered that adding granola to the bowl tastes amazing and adds some nice crunchy texture.

Now to pull the whole thing together, make yourself a flavourful dressing, like the one I’ve created below. Store it separately in an airtight container and add to the salad right before eating.

Buddha’s Spicy Peanut Dressing

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • ¼ cup hot water (not boiling)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (less or none if you don’t like garlic)
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (less or none if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup, liquid honey or agave syrup

Place all ingredients in a food processor; whirl it up until it’s smooth. If you don’t have a food processor, grate or mince the garlic and ginger by hand before whisking with the rest of the ingredients.

Now everything is prepped and ready for you to layer up a huge healthy salad any time you are ready and guess what? Everyone gets what they want and everyone is so happy — what can be better than that?!

Shannon Yacyshyn is a recovering food blogger (the original Red Deer Foodie) who is passionate about trying new ways of cooking healthy foods in her kitchen.

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