I am so excited to share today's Pesto Buddha Bowl recipe with you guys! This plant based buddha bowl features a vegan superfood pesto that is nut-free and super nutritious! This roasted vegan bowl is the perfect healthy meal prep, or weeknight dinner recipe.
What Is A Buddha Bowl?
Whether you're fully vegan, or just looking to incorporate more plant based recipes into your diet, a buddha bowl is a staple. A buddha bowl simply refers to a bowl that contains five key elements:
- Vegetables - Buddha bowls can be made up of any combination of vegetables. When making one, you don't have to be strict with your vegetable choice at all. For example, you could sub the broccoli in this bowl for brussel sprouts if that's what you prefer. You can also add more vegetables, plant based variety is great for buddha bowls!
- Whole Grain - Just like with the vegetables, you can also use any whole grain. I personally love using quinoa for this Pesto Buddha Bowl, but if you prefer brown rice, millet, barley, etc. feel free to use whatever grain you prefer!
- Protein - Protein is one of the aspects that sets a buddha bowl apart from a salad. You can use any plant based protein, or protein of choice if not vegan. I love using tofu, or tempeh, because you can roast them easily. Beans are also a great option, but they don't roast as well.
- Sauce - This is what sets each buddha bowl apart from each other. This buddha bowl in particular features a superfood pesto that is loaded with nutrient dense ingredients. A common sauce for buddha bowls is tahini. I love tahini on vegan buddha bowls, but it gets old quickly.
- Toppings - You can top the bowl off with anything: microgreens, sprouts, seeds, etc. This is a great way to increase the nutrients of your bowl!
Ingredients For This Pesto Buddha Bowl:
For The Buddha Bowl:
- Bell Pepper - You can use any colored bell pepper. I like using red, because it pops with the green pesto.
- Golden Potatoes - You can also use sweet potatoes if you prefer sweet potatoes to white potatoes. I personally find that golden potatoes complement the flavor of the pesto best.
- Broccoli - Cruciferous vegetables are a staple in buddha bowls. They're extremely nutritious. If you're not a fan of broccoli, feel free to use cauliflower, or brussel sprouts.
- Squash - I used delicata squash, because it doesn't require any peeling, and it has a super sweet flavor. However it can be hard to find. You substitute it for butternut, or acorn squash.
- Tempeh - Feel free to use any tempeh variety available to you. Soy based tempeh is the most common. However I recently tried black eyed pea tempeh, and it was divine. You can also use tofu for the protein as well.
- Cucumbers - Adds the perfect refreshing crunch to this Pesto Buddha Bowl. I always recommend using English cucumbers, because they are much less bitter.
- Onion - No buddha bowl is complete without a roasted onion! Onions add so much flavor and are so healthy for you!
- Sprouts - Any variety of sprouts will work perfectly for this recipe. You can also substitute microgreens.
- Kale - I always use some sort of green as the base for my buddha bowls. It helps to keep you full and incorporate additional nutrients into your diet.
- Quinoa - Any whole grain will work. I personally love quinoa, because it tosses well with the rest of the ingredients.
- Coconut Aminos - I LOVE roasting vegetables with coconut aminos. It adds the perfect sweet and salty flavor.
- Lemon Juice - Since this buddha bowl is pesto flavored, sprinkling the vegetables with lemon juice is the perfect way to enhance the pesto flavors.
For The Superfood Pesto:
- Basil - The base of this pesto is basil. It's important to use fresh basil. Feel free to add more or less based on your personal taste.
- Kale - I love adding additional kale to the pesto. It's such a simply way to add more greens to your meal.
- Avocado - Helps to make the pesto creamy and smooth.
- Pumpkin Seeds - I knew I wanted to make this vegan pesto nut-free, so I opted to use pumpkin seeds instead of nuts. Any seed will work, such as sunflower seeds, or hemp seeds.
- Nutritional Yeast - Is perfect for adding a cheesy flavor without any dairy. Nutritional yeast is also full of vitamins and protein, so it makes for a great addition to any plant based bowl.
- Spirulina - You can use any green superfood for this pesto sauce. I love using spirulina, because it has a vibrant green. However you could also use moringa, chlorella, or even matcha!
- Lemon Juice - Adds the perfect tart flavor to the pesto.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Adds some sweet and tart flavors.
- Water - Helps to blend all the ingredients together.
How To Make This Pesto Buddha Bowl:
This Pesto Buddha Bowl is such an easy healthy dinner, or meal prep-able lunch. It only takes a few quick steps to prepare.
Begin by preheating the oven to 400. Next, roughly chop all the vegetables. One of the best parts about making buddha bowl is that you don't have to be strict at all with the way you prepare the vegetables. Chop the tempeh into cubes and add the vegetables and tempeh to a large bowl. Add the coconut aminos and lemon juice to the bowl and toss.
Add to a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, make the pesto. Add all pesto ingredients and water to a blender and blend until smooth.
Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions. While the quinoa is cooking, chop the kale and massage it with some of the coconut aminos. Cut the cucumber into slices.
Once the vegetables are done roasting, add to the large bowl and cover with the pesto and toss.
Prepare the Pesto Buddha Bowl by laying a bed of kale, adding the vegetables, quinoa, sprouts, cucumber. Serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions:
How Do You Make Pesto Healthier?
Pesto is an incredibly nutritious sauce. Herbs are a superfood in their own right, however there are ways to make vegan pesto even healthier. Here are some of my favorite ways to increase the nutrition in pesto:
- Add More Herbs: adding additional herbs is a great way to increase the nutritional value of any meal. Herbs definitely get overlooked, but they're actually full of micronutrients and superfoods in their own right. Pesto is the perfect way to add more herbs, because it's main flavor comes from herbs. Basil is a great herb to start with, but feel free to mix in some rosemary, thyme, tarragon, etc. You can even just add in dried Italian seasoning for a flavor and nutrition kick!
- Use Nuts/Seeds Instead Of Oil: By using the whole foods plant based version of these ingredients instead of the oil, you'll be including more fiber and nutrients into the recipe. This will help to keep you fuller, and help improve digestion.
- Add Some Extra Greens: Since pesto is a blended sauce, it's super easy to add more greens! You can do this by adding greens powders, or simply by adding in some additional kale, or green of choice!
How To Meal Prep This Pesto Buddha Bowl:
Buddha bowls are one of my favorite foods to meal prep. They store well in the fridge, and don't take a lot of time to prepare. However some recipes can become quite soggy when meal prepped. Luckily this Pesto Buddha Bowl keeps super well in the fridge.
To meal prep this buddha bowl there are a few recommendations I have. First, make sure that the quinoa isn't too watery. You want it to be light and fluffy, or else it'll soak everything else. Second is to toss the kale in with the vegetables when tossing in the pesto dressing. This helps to coat the kale and keep it fresh for longer. Last, but not least, I'd recommend storing the sprouts separately. This will prevent them from getting soggy.
Related Vegan Bowl Recipes:
- Mediterranean Buddha Bowl
- Sweet Ginger Tofu Poke Bowl
- Sweet and Salty Buddha Bowl
- Chipotle Lime Mexican Buddha Bowl
- Tofu Vegetable Fried Rice
Pesto Buddha Bowl
For The Pesto Buddha Bowl:
For The Pesto Buddha Bowl:
- Begin by preheating the oven to 400.
- Next, roughly chop all the vegetables. Chop the tempeh into cubes and add the vegetables and tempeh to a large bowl. Add the coconut aminos and lemon juice to the bowl and toss.
- Add to a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the pesto. Add all pesto ingredients and water to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Prepare the quinoa according to package instructions. While the quinoa is cooking, chop the kale and massage it with 1 tablespoon of the coconut aminos. Cut the cucumber into slices.
- Once the vegetables are done roasting, add to the large bowl and cover with the pesto and toss.
- Prepare the Pesto Buddha Bowl by laying a bed of kale, adding the vegetables, quinoa, sprouts, cucumber. Serve and enjoy!
- Combine all ingredients together in a blender and blend together until smooth.