This post’s recipe is also one that allows for infinite variations (…surprise), so it’s not so much a recipe but a ‘meal idea’ – the Buddha bowls a.k.a grain bowls.
I usually like to understand the origin of what I cook/eat and its names. In this case, it was a bit chaotic. I read a bunch of articles and each one gave a different reason for the curious (and recent) way of naming these mish-mash dishes: one said it came from the Buddha’s head resembling a bowl, another mentioned how the dish represents the Buddha’s big belly, then one last one explained how the Buddha was actually thin and lived off what people in the street would put in his bowl every day. In any case, it seems like there is probably little or no connection between Buddhism and a Buddha bowl, except that both promote a balanced life, in the case of Buddha meaning a healthy spirit and in terms of the bowl, meaning eating too much or too little of anything is not the best for our health (again the theme of moderation). During this research I also learnt that there isn’t just “one Buddha”, there can be many. Buddha is a Nepalese and Indian word which means “the Enlightened one”, it is used to describe a type of person, not a single one.
“Balance is a huge part of spiritual life,” he said. “I think that having that in our diet is important, and I think it says something that people are looking for that. You can’t have a healthy spiritual life if you’re eating too much or eating too little.” – Doyal Gauranga
At some point I got a little frustrated researching on Buddha, grain, breakfast or any other possible kind of bowl – a lot of noise but very little music, as in, there are about 677,000 search results but few are actually insightful.
Where does it come from? Who coined the term? How is it made? Well for this last one I did find some answers. Typically any given bowl includes grains + vegetables and/or greens + protein (beans, chickpeas or some even meat) + dressing, optional stuff can be raw fruits or veggies and nuts.
But you know what, the most interesting article I stumbled upon really had little to do with bowls, even though that is what the author connects it to. I am grateful for the time I spent browsing through numerous useless articles because this one article helped me learn about a concept that I had been reflecting on but for which I had no name: Ōryōki. It translates as ‘just enough’ and emphasises the practice of mindfulness:
応 ō, symbolises the receiver’s response to the offering of food – begrateful for and mindful of what you are eating.
量 ryō, symbolises a measure or amount received – know when enough is enough, practice moderation, avoid wasting food.
器 ki, symbolises the bowl – eating is a ritual, feel the bowl, the cutlery, the ingredients, the different aromas… eat mindfully and appreciate every moment.
Here are the most inspiring and delicious bowls I found:
- Quinoa, roasted spicy chickpeas, greens, avocado & red pepper sauce
- Falafel, roasted carrots and cauliflower, spinach, red cabbage & tahini dressing
- Moroccan bowl: Couscous, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, courgette, aubergine, black olives, pomegranate & mint in a spicy dressing
- Red quinoa, grilled halloumi, sweet potato/pumpkin, green & turmeric tahini sauce
- Chickpeas, sweet potatoe, broccolini, kale, red onion & sweet tahini sauce
Here you have some bowly resources too:
- Bowl recipe explorer: search for any recipe based on time, diet and ingredients.
- The Happy Pear ideas
- Guide to the grain bowl
I have tried different bowl variations a couple of times, but this one was extra special because it was the first dinner at our new place… and it was absolutely delicious! Oh and the name is benja bowl because it has bacon and I never really cooked it, Benja did 🙂
Quantities here are a bit pointless, “a bunch” would be the amount recommended for each ingredient. Also, a bowl looks good, but using plate is fine too XD
- Chickpeas from a jar/can, rinse and strain
- Sweet potatoes, par-boiled then roasted
- Bacon, grilled in the oven
- Broccolini, steamed
- Red peppers, raw
- Spring onions, raw
- Spinach, tossed in for some crunchiness
- Pure peanut buter
- Sriracha sauce
- Tamari sauce
- Agave syrup
- Milk to lighten it
- Cook sweet potatoes, bacon, broccolini
- Mix all ingredients
- Add as much sauce as makes you happy