I wanted to share with you my recent experiment with creating ‘buddha bowl’ meal bowls – something I’ve wanted to make for a while now, and finally made the time for. This sweet potato buddha bowl recipe, made with quinoa and black beans, is definitely a new favourite of mine.
Over the last couple of months I fell into a ‘quick and easy’ rut with our meals. Not that we weren’t eating well, but I have been so busy lately that I fell into a meal-planning trap. I started preparing larger amounts of the foods to save time. I’m not feeling guilty about it because it was what I needed to do to keep my sanity and I know you’ve all been there at one time or another. Possibly you were even right there with me as the school year wound down!
But suddenly my son became less willing to try new foods. I knew it was time to push myself to start changing things up more. And now, thanks to Pinterest, I’ve kind of become obsessed with meal bowls. There are endless pictures of buddha bowls available for inspiration, and they always look so appetizing and colourful, not to mention healthy. And with the variety of ingredients packed into one bowl it seems like a meal that is sure to satisfy.
This past week I finally took the plunge and created my own colourful concoction with this sweet potato buddha bowl, with black beans and quinoa – and it was delicious!
What is a buddha bowl?
Doing a quick Google search you’ll find this reference from EatThis – “hearty, filling dishes made of various greens, raw or roasted veggies, beans and a healthy grain…sometimes [with] toppings like nuts, seeds and dressings”. Sounds great, easy, and incredibly foolproof! And, the perfect dish to break out of a food rut with.
I chose to start with some of my favourite foods for this buddha bowl, roasting some cubed sweet potato and preparing a batch of simple quinoa. For a protein boost I decided to throw in some black beans and then I topped the dish with some lightly sauteed purple cabbage, green peas, and a bit of chopped coriander and some avocado to round it off. Such an easy to pull together and nutritious meal!. Did my son eat it? Only a bit, but that is not a surprise – with new foods he’s a ‘the rice can’t touch the peas’ kind of kid until he knows it better. He did try it though, and that was enough for me because the next time around I know he’ll be more open to eating it.
How I prepared the roast sweet potato
I wanted to keep it simple since I was throwing so many flavours together in the end. So I peeled and cubed a large sweet potato, and tossed it in some olive oil, paprika and salt, and then roasted it in the oven until it could be easily pierced by a fork and was just starting to brown. Then I turned off the oven and left it inside to stay warm until everything was ready to serve.
How to Make Fluffy Quinoa
Making quinoa is very similar to preparing rice or pasta (you can even cook it in a rice cooker!). First rinse it or give it a quick soak or you’ll end up with a bitter flavour. To cook it, add water on a 2:1 ratio (2 cups of water for every 1 cup of dried quinoa). 1 cup of dried quinoa will yield 2.5-3 cups of cooked quinoa. Boil the water, and add the quinoa plus a dash of salt and a sprig or two of fresh rosemary. Cook the quinoa on medium heat until the grain becomes transparent and the curl appears, and then drain off any extra water from the pot. You could also flavour it as you would rice, by adding a splash of soy sauce or coconut aminos after cooking.
Preparing the Black Beans
Now, I know that what you would normally expect from a food blog is instructions on how to cook up the most amazingly flavourful beans from scratch. Well, I got distracted and totally burned those perfectly flavoured beans so have no idea how they were going to turn out or if it would have been worth sharing the recipe here. I can say that I don’t recommend burnt black beans! Luckily, I had a can of backup beans in the cupboard which were perfectly salted and delicious, and thankfully pretty foolproof to heat up.
ASIDE: I am teaching my son to celebrate his failures, and think I will take the same approach here because we really should celebrate our failures in the kitchen because it means you tried! Cooking beans is relatively new for me since I wasn’t really raised eating them. I now know not to multitask and to cook the beans the night before, just in case. Here’s a well reviewed recipe for black beans that looks yummy. I will be trying it next time.
Easy Sauteed Cabbage
Possibly one of the easiest things I ever cook, I chopped the cabbage into thin pieces and threw it in a pan on medium-low heat for about a minute, and then added a 1/4 tsp of lemon juice, a 1/2 tsp of mirin sauce, and a 1/2 tsp of coconut aminos (you could use soy sauce instead). I let it continue to sautee for another minute or two and then removed from the heat.
The Peas I used were simply steamed, and the avocado and coriander were just cut to my preference.
Sounds like a lot of dishes, yes, but each element of the dish is in itself easy to prepare and they all come together to such a delicious and satisfying meal that you’ll find you’re more than ready to put in the effort again.
Supercharge the flavours in your buddha bowl by adding this vegan green goddess dressing from Cotter Crunch!
Here’s the recipe to get started with. Don’t forget to share pics of your own creations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – tag us with the hashtag #accidentallycrunchy
- The Sweet Potato
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp paprika
- ⅛ tsp salt
- The Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- The Cabbage
- ½ head of cabbage, chopped
- ½ tsp mirin sauce
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp soy sauce (or 1 tsp coconut aminos)
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup cooked peas (I steam them since i like them crunchy)
- Cilantro and Avocado to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Spread the cubed sweet potato out on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with the paprika and salt. Mix well so the cubes are evenly coated.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the sweet potato is soft enough that it can easily be pierced by a fork and begins to brown lightly.
- While the sweet potato is baking, prepare the quinoa. Bring the water to a boil.
- Add the salt, rosemary, and quinoa. Cook covered on medium-high heat until the grain becomes transparent and the curl becomes visible. The grains should be soft but not mushy.
- Whether using pre-cooked or canned beans, warm them in a saucepan so they are ready to serve.
- To sautee the cabbage, slice the cabbage thinly and sautee on medium heat for about a minute. Then add the mirin, soy and lemon juice and continue to sautee for another 1-2 minutes to the desired level of crunch..
- When all of your elements are ready, add generous amounts to your serving bowl, and top with your garnishes. Walnuts would also be a great garnish for this dish if you aren't allergic.
Looking for more recipe inspiration? Check out this quinoa recipe that we are in love with.