Hello from the recovery room! I’m writing this sans gallbladder and my brain and body aren't working at full capacity, so I’ll keep this post short and sweet (well, short for me as we all know I'm not great at being succinct).  

I’d like to share a recipe/recipe formula with you that are my absolute favourite dinners: buddha bowls! The evening before my surgery, I had this buddha bowl as "my final meal" (melodramatic much?), and it did not disappoint. In all honesty, buddha bowls take a little prep work to get each component ready, but the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.   
What I enjoy most about buddha bowls are their versatility, easily switched up with what's in season, or your mood. Buddha bowls are meant to be balancing, calming meals, with a bounty of all of your favourite, nourishing foods. This South of the Border Buddha Bowl is my current go-to. It’s bright, hearty and inspired by the punchy flavours of Mexican cuisine. 

The dressing is where these bowls really come to life and sing. This recipe features pumpkin and sunflower seeds, zippy lime, cumin, garlic and flaxseed oil. It’s inspired by the highly delicious, green pumpkin seed mole from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. 
While you can use any whole grain for a buddha bowl, I recommend short-grain brown rice (the chewy variety that takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook). In my buddha bowls, roasted sweet potatoes are a requisite addition, as is the pile of steamed kale, but I generally mix up the protein portion each time -chickpeas (my favourite), black beans, tofu, tempeh and lentils, are all delicious options that I enjoy. 

I used hemp tofu in this buddha bowl recipe, which is a delicious soy-free product, full of all essential amino acids, along with an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. I eat soy tofu occasionally, but try not to have it more than a couple of times per month. 

While I’m not particular about buying all of my food organic, I always purchase organic tofu and soy products, to avoid GMO soy. Tempeh (a soybean product) is another plant-based protein option; it's fermented, unlocking the soybean's health benefits. Fermented soy products (e.g. tempeh, miso and gluten-free tamari) neutralize the phytic acid present in soybeans that can lead to mineral depletion. Moreover, the fermenting process also reduces the phytoestrogens naturally present in soy, which can cause hormonal imbalance and contribute to estrogen dominance. 

If all of this soy talk is giving you a headache, feel free to use black beans or chickpeas in this recipe instead. Simply toss the beans with smoked paprika and there you have it! 
I’m looking forward to a speedy recovery and gaining my appetite back, so I can eat buddha bowls like they’re going out of style. Until then, I'll be on my couch, drinking apple juice, sleeping and dreaming about all of the wonderful buddha bowl variations in my future.     

If you're looking for more buddha bowl recipe inspiration, here are a few ideas from around the web: 

Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowl with Lemon-Tahini Dressing, via Pamela Salzman 
Peas, Carrots and Tempeh with Miso-Almond Sauce, via Vegetarian Times
Kris Carr's Buddha Bowl, via Kris Carr
Curried Coconut Quinoa and Greens with Roasted Cauliflower, via Cookie + Kate
Red and Basmati Rice with Peanuts, Asian Dressing and Baked Tofu, via New York Times, Recipes for Health
What are the must-have ingredients in your buddha bowl? 



04/10/2014 4:14pm

I've never called it a Buddha Bowl (I love that!), but I'm always making meals like this with leftovers and fresh veggies. I love sweet potatoes, black beans, quinoa, and kale. I also am a sucker for Mexican food, so I love your dressing! I hope you have a speedy recovery! The gallbladder was what I had a lot of special tests done on (some showed that it should come out, others showed the opposite, so I currently still have it) so, I'm really curious to see how it makes you feel and if it helps. Get well soon!

04/11/2014 8:30am

Hi Isadora! Yum! I love all of those things too.That combo is also one of my faves. I could seriously eat these for every single meal (and sometimes I do!).

Thanks for the well wishes :) Currently, I don't feel "better" with it out lol, but that's to be expected I guess. I'm hopeful I will though in a few weeks! I had something called Biliary Dyskinesia. I hope that they figure out what's happening with your gallbladder. They told me that digestive problems are the hardest things to diagnose because there are so many organs that are involved in the process. It's hard to pinpoint if you don't just have the typical gallstones or something else easily diagnosable like a stomach ulcer, etc.

I completely understand your frustration. Pain sucks! I will probably write more about my "recovery" and if the surgery helped in the near furture :)

04/11/2014 4:30pm

Unfortunately that is so true about digestive disorders being hard to diagnose. I gave up on doctors a while ago and have actually been feeling mostly pretty good lately (knock on wood!) for the first time in a long time. I've been modifying my diet and trying to avoid the things that I know make me feel bad. Although sometimes it seems like one food can make me feel fine one day and sick the next day, oh the joys of digestive problems!

Have a great weekend!

04/11/2014 4:31pm

Ooops! sorry that posted three times!

04/11/2014 4:36pm

Hehe that's okay. My blog does that for some reason with replies. It's so annoying and I don't know how to fix it! Argh.

And btw, I totally know what you mean about the food. It's impossible to pinpoint!

Millie m
04/10/2014 5:32pm

Hey Allison :) hope your feeling good and well!
Wow these bowls look great :)
Hope to talk to you soon! Best wishes xo

04/11/2014 8:32am

Hi Millie! Thank you so much :) I sent you an email, sweetie! xo

04/10/2014 10:39pm

I love a good buddha bowl! It's such a vegan staple :)

04/11/2014 8:34am

Hey Suzanne! I don't even know how I survived without buddha bowls before. They are in my lunch and dinner rotation nearly every day -I actually crave them!


Hope you're recovery is going well!

Buddha bowl is something totally new to me....looks delicious! Will have to give it a try soon!

04/12/2014 3:45pm

Hey Asiya! Thank you for your well wishes!

I highly recommend giving a buddha bowl a try -they're yummy :)

04/14/2014 8:39am

I hope you recover quickly and hope you're feeling better already! :)

This looks so fresh and delicious. I love the flavors you've used in the dressing. Sounds so refreshing and who can go wrong with lime?!

04/14/2014 2:33pm

Thanks Elyse! I am feeling much better :)

And you can never go wrong with lime. I didn't buy limes for like, a year and randomly picked them up last week. Now I'm obsessed!

04/19/2014 12:06am

This looks great! Just wondering, do you have any ideas on how I could substitute the sunflower/pumpkin seed mixture? Doesn't have to be vegan. Thanks!

04/19/2014 8:13am

Hi Mani!

I have a few ideas for you, as I've made the dressing a few different ways:

I love to make this same recipe with avocado. The recipe will use 1 avocado. It may need more or less water, depending on the size of the avocado.

Or, if you have a powerful blender, I've made dressing out of raw zucchini before. I just usually peel 1 raw zucchini, and use that in place of the seeds. It turns out surprisingly creamy! I would reduce the water by half, and thin as necessary.

Also, you can blend a whole orange, which also turns out surprising creamy. I usually add one or two tbsp of tahini with this, or combine it with half an avocado. Again, start with less water.

If you have a powerful blender, raw carrot makes a very thick dressing -use 1 large carrot and reduce the water, thinning as necessary.

If you're okay with nuts, any other nut or seed will work (except chia and flax). Cashew, almonds, hemp seeds, pecans, etc. If you don't have a blender, you can use a nut butter, like almond butter, natural peanut butter or tahini. I would use 1/4 cup of these and reduce the water to 2-3 tbsp, thinning as necessary.

I also make dressings out of Vegenaise sometimes, when I'm in a pinch. It's an egg-free vegan mayonnaise. I would cut the water out and thin by the tbsp as necessary if you use this. Also, no blender is required!

Also, I've used coconut milk and unsweetened almond yogurt. I don't use any water when I make it with these.

I hope this helps :)


04/19/2014 4:15pm

Wow! That's like the most useful reply I've ever gotten. Thanks so much for all the ideas Allison! I can definitely work with these.

Leave a Reply