If there's one food trend to get on board with in 2017, it's Buddha Bowls. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but Buddha Bowls are versatile and, frankly, damned tasty.
Essentially, Buddha Bowls (also known as macro bowls or hippie bowls) are colourful, filling dishes built in a large bowl and composed of grains, veggies (raw, sautéed and/or roasted), protein (legumes, tofu or meat), greens and seeds -- and to finish it all off, a hearty dressing.
Buddha Bowls are a way to make eating healthy more interesting and delicious, and they're set to be big this year.
There's no 'one way' to make a Buddha Bowl, and that's the beauty of them. You can design your own bowl, filling it with ingredients and flavours you like. Play around with different spices, herbs and dressings to help find the combination that works best for you.
Here a guide to making the best Buddha Bowls.
Step one: Cook your grain
Grains are high-fibre foods that come in various forms, including wheat, oats, rice, rye, spelt, barley, millet, quinoa, buckwheat and corn.
Along with fibre, grains provide carbohydrates, protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, iron, vitamin E, zinc, magnesium and phosphorus. It's for these reasons that grains make an excellent addition to Buddha Bowls.
The first step in making a Buddha Bowl is to cook your grain of choice. Depending on your taste and intolerances, the best options to go for are: brown, red or black rice, quinoa, millet or buckwheat.
Simply cook as per the packet's instructions, and head to step two while it's cooking away.
Step two: Roast your veggies
To make your Buddha Bowl extra filling, roast your favourite veggies for adding in. Sweet potato, pumpkin, potato, onion and zucchini all work well.
To add flavour to your roast veggies, before roasting, sprinkle the vegetables with spices like ground cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon, garlic powder and paprika.
Roast your veggies at the same time the grain component is cooking, so the elements are cooked and warm at once.
Step three: Cook protein and extra veggies
While the grain and veggies are cooking, get started on sautéing the rest of the cooked ingredients.
If you're including tofu, meat or falafels as your protein, fry those up and keep them warm in aluminium foil.
If you're including other veggies like sautéed mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, kale or spinach, now is a good time to do this. Sauté your veggies with some oil and, for flavour, crushed garlic, herbs and spices.
Step four: Prep raw ingredients
To add freshness to your bowl, cut up fresh tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, capsicum, carrot -- the choice is yours. You can even include seasonal fruit like mango, berries, grapes and apple.
Have these ready for assembling.
Step five: Assemble
With your grains, roast vegetables, protein, sautéed and raw veggies ready to go, now is the fun part. Get your favourite bowl (we all know we have one) and start assembling the groups of ingredients in whichever order you prefer.
Add any other toppings you like -- guacamole, roasted chickpeas, hummus, olives, feta, rinsed canned legumes, nuts and seeds, pomegranate arils -- and don't forget the dressing.
The dressing could be as simple as tahini, or a fancier dressing of tahini mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Mustard, olive oil and vinegar is another classic.
Now all that's left is to tuck in and enjoy.
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