I’m not sure what a Buddha Bowl even is anymore. Back when I posted my original buddha bowl recipe a few years ago, my understanding was that it meant a bowl of finely-chopped vegetables tossed with a grain like rice or quinoa. But now, if you do a search for buddha bowl, it seems to be used for any vegetarian recipe served in a bowl. Hmm.
However, I’m still holding onto my definition. I think something great happens when you chop your veggies super-fine and toss them with a grain and some seasonings. Every bite has a little of everything and it tastes so fresh and satisfying. For this new recipe, we’re taking that template to another level. It’s starts with the basics – quinoa with chopped veggies – and then we’ll add some sweet & savory sautéed chickpeas and top everything with a killer pureed sauce of red pepper and parsley (much like a chimichurri sauce). Everything can be whipped up in under 30 minutes for a dinner + some leftovers the next day.
Makes: 4 servings
- 3 cups cooked white quinoa
- 4+ cups chopped kale
- 4 green onions
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 15 oz cans chickpeas
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon each (to start): smoked paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, cumin, sea salt
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Prep: cook some quinoa according to package instructions. If you start with about 1 1/2 cups of dry quinoa and 3 cups of water, you should have just about the right amount.
Step One – The Chickpeas
To start, let’s make the sweet and spicy chickpeas that add so much depth and flavor to this buddha bowl. Rinse and drain two cans of chickpeas (or a fresh equivalent) and toss them into a skillet with a drizzle of maple syrup and a few dashes of each of the spices mentioned (it’s hard to say exactly how much to use, just start with a little and see how it goes). Warm over medium-high heat and toss the pan occasionally to ensure even coating. After about 5 minutes, the chickpeas should begin turning darker and the seasonings will start to stick. At that point, give them a taste and add any more spices as needed. Then, remove from the heat and set aside.
Step Two – The Chimichurri
Slice 1 1/2 red bell peppers into strips, place them on a baking sheet (saving the other 1/2 pepper for garnish) , and pop them under your oven’s broiler for 5-7 minutes, until the tops just begin to char. When done, allow to cool slightly then combine in a food processor with the parsley leaves, garlic cloves, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Pulse just a few times until you have something resembling a salsa (stop before you have a smoothie!). Taste and adjust the flavors as needed.
Step Three – Everything Else
With the two big components out of the way and the quinoa finished cooking, the salad is easy to finish. Simply chop the green onions and kale into very small pieces and dice the avocado and remaining bell pepper. Then add everything except the chimichurri (chickpeas, quinoa, kale, green onions, avocado, bell pepper, and pumpkin seeds) into a large bowl and toss to combine. Serve (room temperature and chilled both work well) in bowls with a big spoonful of the chimichurri on top.