Build-your-own Buddha bowl

Try this version or use this as a guide and choose the veggies you like.

Contributed by Leticia Nagata, RD

Build-your-own Buddha bowl

I’m not sure where the term came from, but if you want a nourishing meal that’s little bites of everything, have a Buddha bowl. I lived in Thailand for 3 years in my youth and the monks would come around to households for portions of food that residents would give to them in wooden bowls.

To make your own, start with a base of a cooked whole grain and decorate with all the colors of the rainbow. I used spelt for this recipe, but you could use brown, red, black, or red rice; farro; quinoa; or many other grains.

The more varied the color in the foods you eat, the more nutrients you’re getting. I roast a couple of trays of vegetables every week and use them throughout the week for recipes like this one and for soups, sandwiches, and side dishes. You can use a mix of fresh and cooked vegetables depending on the season and what you like. 

Here’s my take on the Buddha bowl, but I encourage you to experiment. 

For more recipes like this, visit the Kaiser Permanente Hawaii Facebook page.

Servings: 1


  • 1/2 cup cooked spelt (or other whole grain)
  • 1/3 cup kale and mushrooms, sautéed
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin, roasted
  • 1/4 cup sweet potato, roasted
  • 2 snow peas, blanched*
  • 1/4 cup broccoli, roasted
  • 1/8 cup red cabbage, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons kernel corn

Optional. To blanch snow peas, immerse them for about 30 seconds in a pot of boiling water. Pour into a colander and rinse under cold running water. Shock in a bowl of ice water until the cubes melt. Drain well.

Dressing (makes more than needed for one Buddha bowl)

  • 1/2 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave or honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 2 tablespoons miso paste (Japanese seasoning)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup water or more for desired consistency
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • White or black pepper, to taste


  1. Layer 1/3 cup grain at bottom of bowl (save the rest to top off the bowl).
  2. Arrange vegetables on top of the grain.
  3. Separately, mix together all dressing ingredients and shake it up.
  4. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of dressing over bowl and enjoy! 

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 320
  • Total fat: 13 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 390 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 50 g
  • Dietary fiber: 9 g
  • Total sugars: 13 g
  • Protein: 9 g