The Wholefood Approach

Buddha Bowls

Have you heard of buddha bowls before? If not, your world is about to change. If you have then you would know the incredible diversity that can be created by building a buddha bowl. We will cover exactly what a Buddha Bowl is, and the many sauces you can make from wholefood ingredients to add fantastic flavours to your dishes! 

Buddha Bowls are hugely popular these days and if you type it into a search engine you will find endless recipes for different types of bowls. There are also many healthy takeaway style restaurants that purely sell a variety of bowls, so these places make a great option if you want to eat out whilst eating healthy. 

So what exactly is a Buddha Bowl?! Typically it is made up of 5-6 ingredients:

  1. The Base which is normally a wholegrain or leafy greens
  2. Veggies
  3. Starchy vegetable 
  4. Protein source 
  5. Healthy fat source 
  6. Sauce 

These components are then put together in a bowl and due to high amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals in all of the ingredients, it is the perfect nourishment for your body. You can also use a combination of raw and cooked ingredients. As buddha bowls are super easy to make, they are perfect to have a couple of times a week, especially because you can use different ingredients each time so you create variety in your meals. 

Another idea is during the week when you are cooking dinner, cook a little extra of a vegetable/grain/protein and keep in the fridge. Then when you have a few leftovers, you put it together to make a buddha bowl. You can add a sauce or a few extra ingredients but the bulk of the work is already done because you have saved food throughout the week.

Building a Buddha Bowl:

So how exactly do you make a buddha bowl? It’s all about building it using the components listed below – and the only limitation when it comes to these bowls is your imagination! You can create any combination of ingredients you like!  

  • Grain or Leafy Green 
    This is where you start, the base of your bowl. This can be any of the wholegrains we spoke about in Week 1/2, or a combination of a few of them. For example you can mix different coloured rice together – red, black and brown. You can mix quinoa with brown rice or wholegrain couscous and buckwheat. If you don’t feel like a grain, you can use a mixture of leafy greens instead, such as spinach, kale, mustard greens and rocket. Leafy greens are a great option for people who would like to eat a lower calorie meal. 
  • Veggies 
    This can be pretty much anything, cooked or raw. Go through the veggie list previously provided or simply go down to the supermarket and see what is available and on special. Typically try to include a green veggie here as greens are loaded with nutrients. They can be cooked in any way you like, steamed, roasted, pan fried, with spices added but you wont need to include too much flavour because your sauce will provide that. 
  • Starchy vegetables 
    This is optional if you want to make your bowl more bulky and filling. Things like sweet potato, potato, carrots, pumpkin, beetroot. Again these can be cooked in a variety of ways. 
  • Protein source 
    Whilst all wholefoods contain protein, the protein source in a buddha bowl typically refers to an ingredient that is high in protein, such as beans, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms. These can be lightly flavoured when cooked. 
  • Healthy fat source 
    Again this is optional. You can use avocado, or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds. 
  • Sauce 
    The most important part of the buddha bowl as it will add the flavour that will make your bowl delicious. The sauce can be a simple 3 ingredient sauce, or a little more involved. Check our the next section on sauce to learn more about making sauces from scratch. 


Sauces are the secret to taking your meals to another level! They can be the difference between having a nice meal to having a meal that is a flavour explosion! Unfortunately most of what you find in the supermarket contains a range of additives and preservatives, especially refined sugar. Even ones that claim to be healthy, or low in salt/sugar, still have other additives that help to preserve the product (and give it a longer shelf life) but don’t do our body any favours in providing good healthy nutrients. They are also usually quite high in calories. 

However, sauces can be easily made at home from scratch, with minimal ingredients. From tomato, BBQ and chilli sauce to salad dressings, creamy pasta sauces, pestos and sauces to drizzle over buddha bowls. 

Some ingredients that you can purchase to make a base for sauces and dressings are included below: 

Tahini. This is usually found in a jar in the health food aisle of the supermarket. It is great on just about any dish and forms the base of many homemade salad dressings.
Tamari/Soy Sauce/Coconut Aminos – all can be found in the supermarket. Great to add flavour to stir-fries and sauces for bowls.
Vinegar – Balsamic/Rice Wine/Apple Cider/White Vinegar – very easy to find in the supermarket. Great for sauces and dressings.
Mustard – can be mixed with other ingredients to make nice dressings and sauces.
Miso – this is a paste made from fermented soy beans. Its great to use when roasting veggies or added to other ingredients to make a sauce.
Worcestershire/Liquid smoke – can be found in supermarket or health food store. Adds a great smokey flavour to dishes.


Buddha Bowl and Sauce Recipes!

Get saucy with some sauce recipes and try a variety of buddha bowls. 

This week the aim is to experiment with a variety of ingredients to make a buddha bowl and make a sauce to go with it. See the recipes below: 

Recipe #1 – Make a Buddha Bowl

Try this Buddha Bowl recipe.

Sauce Recipes

Tahini Dressing
This one is super simple – mix together 1/4 cup tahini, 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1.5 tablespoons of maple, then add some warm water to thin out. This is perfect for salads and buddha bowls. 

A little time and effort!
Ginger & Garlic Tahini Dressing
You will need 1 clove garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon of ginger (crushed), 1 tablespoon of tamari, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon maple, 2 tablespoons of tahini. Mix together with a little warm water to thin. You can make double or even triple this recipe to use again. This is perfect for buddha bowl and salads. 

Vinaigrette Sauce
You will need 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp of dijon mustard, 1tbsp Italian mixed herbs, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Combine all ingredients with 1/2 cup water and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Clean Green Pesto
Try my oil free pesto sauce, in this recipe I use the greens from carrot tops, but for a more traditional pesto you can use basil. Get the recipe here

Put your chefs hat on! 
Try this creamy sauce – perfect for pasta, potato salad or drizzled over a buddha bowl. 

Garlic Alfredo Sauce