Loaded with grains, veggies, and plant-based protein, this sweet potato chickpea buddha bowl is an easy, quick, and delicious way to pack a ton of nutrition and flavor into a dish! Topped with a thai peanut sauce, it's the perfect week night meal, is great for meal prep, and can be customized to your preference.
According to urban dictionary, a “buddha bowl" is “a bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded ‘belly’ appearance on the top much like the belly of a buddha.” I mean...that's my kind of meal. Buddha bowls can truly be customized to adhere to really any diet or lifestyle.
This buddha bowl recipe is vegan (and vegetarian), gluten-free, under 500 calories, satisfying, nourishing, loaded with flavor, and healthy yet delicious. This recipe can definitely be made paleo, if desired. Even better, it comes together in about 30 minutes!
All great buddha bowls should have these 4 components:
- Grain: we'll be using quinoa as our grain. You can use white quinoa or tricolor quinoa, really whatever you have or prefer!
- Vegetables: this recipe calls for sweet potatoes, kale, and brussel sprouts. A true medley of fall/winter produce!
- Protein: we'll be using one of my favorite plant based protein: chickpeas! Chickpeas are one of my favorite sources of plant-based protein.
- Dressing/Sauce: we'll be making a simple peanut sauce to drizzle over this vegan buddha bowl for a boost of flavor and protein!
There's a few moving parts to this recipe so it may seem like a lot of steps, but everything can be prepped one thing while another is baking, so it all ends up coming together in about 30 minutes.
- Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prep your sweet potatoes by washing, peeling, and cutting into 1-inch cubes; drain and rinse the chickpeas; cut the tough stem ends off your brussel sprouts then cut them in half length-wise.
- Add sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and brussel sprouts to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and seasonings then toss so everything is evenly coated.
- Spread evenly across a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork. The chickpeas should be crispy and the brussel sprouts should be lightly charred.
- Meanwhile, we're going to prepared the quinoa and kale. For the quinoa, cook according to package instructions. I replaced the water with vegetable broth for better flavor.
- For the kale, add a tablespoon of oil to pan and add de-stemmed and chopped kale over medium heat. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until slightly wilted. This will help to add flavor and soften the kale so it's not as tough and is easier to chew.
- In small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the thai peanut sauce.
- Finally, we can assemble our buddha bowls! First place a bed of cooked quinoa in a bowl then top with sautéed kale, roasted sweet potatoes, crispy roasted chickpeas, roasted brussel sprouts, avocado, and a drizzle of peanut sauce.
Variations & Substitutions
I love this recipe as is, but the best thing about buddha bowls is how customizable they are! If there's a veggie or grain you don't love in here, simply swap it out. Here are my suggestions:
Change up the grain! Instead of quinoa, you can use lentils, farro, brown rice, cauliflower rice, couscous, or barley.
Switch up the veggies. You can either add additional veggies or replace the ones that are already in this recipe. I recommend beets, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, or butternut squash.
Add extra protein, or replace the chickpeas entirely, by tossing tofu or falafels into this dish.
Use black beans instead of chickpeas. Really, you can use whatever beans you like best. White beans or edamame would be great in this buddha bowl, too.
Use a different sauce. This recipe calls for a thai peanut sauce, but you can use a ginger miso dressing, a lemon tahini dressing, an almond butter sauce, or hummus instead.
- The bigger cubes you cut the sweet potato into, the longer the sweet potato will take to roast. Try your best to keep them around an inch. Or better yet, buy already cut & cubed sweet potatoes from your grocery store.
- Be generous with amount of olive oil you add to the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and brussel sprouts. This will ensure that they all get nice and crispy!
- Feel free to massage the kale before you sauté it (or skip sautéing it in general but I like mine warmed). If you do this, no need to add extra olive oil to the pan. This will enhance it's texture and flavor, but it is totally not necessary.
- Keep the dressing on the side until you're ready to serve and eat so the veggies don't get soggy.
Yes, definitely! However, you will want to cook the chickpeas before roasting them. You can do so on the stove, in an instant pot, or in a slow cooker or crockpot.
Either way, it's totally up to! For this buddha bowl in particular, I like to eat it while it is still warm. It's also delicious cold and gives you the benefit of not having to worry about heating it up.
Buddha bowls can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you're meal prepping this, or know that you won't be eating it right away, store the dressing in a separate container.
Typically, whatever you use as your base there is more of. Using greens, like kale, as your base will turn this recipe into a salad. Using a grain, like quinoa, as the base keeps this recipe filling and hearty, and the most true a 'traditional' buddha bowl.