What is a Buddha Bowl?

What is a Buddha bowl is a question I ran into the other day, after a few hours spend on Pinterest. Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten lost searching on Pinterest for a recipe when you’re really hungry and then you realize that it’s been literally hours. Keep it up if you’ve asked yourself the question “What is a Buddha Bowl?” Skip to my Salmon Buddha Bowl recipe.

What is a Buddha Bowl?

No one? Just me?

Earlier this week I was looking for a quick and easy lunch that I could throw together using some leftovers (and very little time). As I scrolled through all of the delicious pictures that came up when I searched for “healthy lunch” I noticed a trend. There were a lot of Buddha Bowls coming up.

I couldn’t help thinking, “What is a Buddha Bowl?”

What is a Buddha Bowl

I mean, I know who Buddha is. In college I took an awesome East Asian Religions course (if you’ve never read the Dhammapada, you really should). Just because I’ve read Buddha’s ‘Path to Virtue’ doesn’t mean I understand what a Buddha Bowl is.

What Is A Buddha Bowl

So I started to do some research. I started with UrbanDictionary.com and found that there really isn’t a right way to make a Buddha Bowl.  The only rule seems to be that the proteins, vegetables, grains, and dressing vary. Basically, a Buddha Bowl is an overfilled bowl of goodness that resembles the belly of Buddha.

How To Make A Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowls are easy to make. They are hearty and filling and an awesome way to use up the leftovers in your fridge, though there are some “rules” to what actually constitutes a Buddha Bowl, here are the basic ingredients. You can even make a vegan buddha bowl, just be aware the ingredients you put in.

Grains & Seeds

A healthy base seems to be the key to making a Buddha Bowl. Choose your favorite healthy grain or seed (think quinoa or brown rice).

Some people like to add nuts and seeds to top their bowl as well. If you like a little crunch, this is a great way to get it.


I like to toss in whatever vegetables I have leftover from dinner the night before. Pile on the veggies (the more the merrier) to help fill your belly and get your body the nutrition that it craves.

It doesn’t matter if you use greens (think kale, spinach or chard), raw or roasted vegetables, or whatever leftovers you have in your fridge.


Once you’ve got your bed of vegetables, you can add your protein of choice.

If you’re vegetarian, beans (black, chickpea, pinto, white) and tofu are awesome sources of protein.

If you’re like me and you love meat, then you can let your imagination run wild. Steak, salmon (my favorite), shrimp, turkey, chicken, lamb…possibilities are endless.


The last step to making a Buddha Bowl is to add a healthy dressing. I usually use a basic oil and vinegar dressing, but with so many different oils and kinds of vinegar available, you can really vary the flavors.

If you’re like me, once you make one, you’ll want to make them all the time, and if you use leftover veggies putting together a Buddha Bowl can take less than 5 minutes.

Lately, I’m totally addicted to this salmon Buddha Bowl recipe. It’s awesome (and delicious warm or cold).

Salmon Buddha Bowl Recipe

Add the quinoa to your bowl, then top with the spinach and onion. Gently flake the salmon over the veggies.

Add the sesame seeds, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and lemon juice to a salad dressing shaker, then pour on top of your Buddha Bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and dig in!

Pro Tip: When looking for canned salmon try to choose the cans with the highest vitamin D content. You’ll also want to make sure your cans are BPA-free.  Good quality canned fish is usually in the “natural foods” section of many large groceries.

Depending on the ingredients you choose to use, Buddha Bowls can contain a whole rainbow of ingredients, and the flavors can change in a myriad of ways just by varying the ingredients and changing up the dressing.

Thankfully, the basic Buddha Bowl formula stays the same. The best part is, just about every Buddha bowl out there is simply to make and jam-packed with filling nutrients and vitamins that aid weight loss and overall health. If you can’t tell, we’re pretty big fans.

The best part is that once you get the hang of the general recipe, a Buddha bowl is simple to make and full of nutrients and vitamins that will aid in weight loss and boost your overall health. I hope this helps answer what is a buddha bowl, and you can enjoy making them from now on.

Have you tried a Buddha Bowl before?

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