Mexican Buddha Bowl

Jan 12, 2024

When I dove into this Buddha Bowl yesterday after I prepared it, I felt a strong urge to share this recipe with anyone who hasn’t yet been able to experience the deliciousness of a well-thought-out, wholesome bowl of food like this.

If one of your goals for the new year is to include more plants in your diet, I highly suggest experimenting with different kinds of Buddha Bowls!

What makes a Buddha bowl so exciting and satisfying?

First off, there’s a plethora of colors, flavors and textures that will just make your eyes and taste buds jump for joy. As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes first, and a visually appealing meal makes it more enticing to take that first bite.

Secondly, it’s really a feast for the senses because you can vary the flavor profiles, using the same strategy of composing the bowl, to make every single meal a completely new experience. If you’re a creative person and crave variety – this is the perfect dish for you!

Thirdly, to know that this meal is as nutritious as it is delicious – is truly a thrill that is hard to surpass! Especially in a diet culture that tells you that delicious means “bad” and healthy means “just chew and get it over with”. In this meal you can truly have your “cake and eat it too”… win win!

The best part about Buddha Bowls? It’s not hard to make or compose at all!

If you’ve always been curious about how to put together a wholesome, vegan meal that will fulfill all your nutritional and gustatory needs just use this simple formula:

  • Add a protein (legumes/lentils/beans/tofu/tempeh
  • Roast some veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, onions, etc.
  • Cook up some whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, farro, barley or other
  • Make a delicious dressing like a tahini or avocado sauce
  • Top with seeds nuts, avocado or other healthy fats

And there you have it!

Today I felt like making a colorful bowl with the flavors of Mexico. My husband is of Mexican heritage and taught me how to infuse the most authentic flavors into simple dishes.

This Buddha bowl consists of black beans which I simmered on the stove for a couple of hours with onions, garlic and bay leaves and a side of brown rice. I roasted a sweet potato along with wedges of red onion and sweet peppers and poblano peppers tossed in spicy and smoky chipotle in adobo sauce, smoked paprika, a little cumin and coriander spice. The dish is then completed with a crispy and cool red cabbage slaw tossed with fresh cilantro and lime and some marinated cherry tomatoes.

Finally, the bowl gets topped with crispy maple-chipotle pecans, vegan feta and a drizzle of the most flavorful cilantro-lime sauce.

Want to try it out? Now you can!

Wine Recommendations

Whenever I eat food with a touch of warming and smoky spice, I tend to crave hearty white wines that have loads of fruit and a good body, but not necessarily an excess of residual sugar.

The wine I landed on was an Alsatian 2020 Pinot Gris from Domaine Weinbach.

This winery is one of my favorite producers of both Pinot Gris and Rieslings.

The 2020 Pinot Gris is dry but exudes plenty of luxurious, honeycomb and tropical fruit and is a bit spicy on the palate as well, complementing the spice of the adobo chile in the dish. I was, as always, when I drink wines from this domaine, impressed with the concentration of the wine yet it came across as very gentle and elegant.

Alternatively, if you prefer red wines, I’d go with a wine that has some earthy notes, good acidity and mellow tannins, like a Beaujolais. I tried the 2019 Morgon Corcelette from Domaine Gregoire Hoppenot with this meal too and it was a success. The earthiness was a perfect match to the beans and sweet potatoes while the fruity tones came out when biting into the marinated cherry tomatoes.

What a beauty this wine is! This wine is made from Gamay, a fantastic grape I often go to when pairing wines with plant-based meals as it is incredibly versatile and comes in a wide variety of expressions.

Corcelette is the name of a lieu-dit in Morgon, where Hoppenot picks the grapes by hand, and employs whole cluster fermentation using native yeasts, and no added sulfur. The classic and organic approach to winemaking here really brings out the nuances of the region and terroir, resulting in a pure and utterly satisfying wine that is a pleasure to drink.

I wouldn’t mind trying out some Spanish wines with this dish either such as a Godello or a full-bodied Albarińo with some age for a white wine or a Monastrell or Mencia on the red side. The options are endless – if you prefer a Mexican beer I wouldn’t be mad at you either!

Regardless, this Buddha bowl is going to be in frequent rotation in my house, that’s for sure!

Mexican Buddha Bowl

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the spice mixture:
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped plus 2 teaspoons sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt, pepper to taste

For the veggie mix:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 poblano peppers, seeded and sliced
1 large red bell pepper or 9-10 mini sweet peppers
2 garlic cloves, smashed

For the beans:
2 cups (400 grams) cooked black beans
1 cup (200 grams) brown rice, dried

For the red cabbage slaw:
½ head small red cabbage shredded
1 cup (16 grams) chopped cilantro leaves, loosely packed
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup (or more to taste)
Salt to taste

For the candied pecans:
½ cup (65 grams) pecans
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste

For the lime-cilantro sauce:
2 cups (32 grams) loosely packed cilantro (leaves and stems)
Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
½ cup (65 grams) cashews
2 tablespoons water

For the marinated cherry tomatoes:
2 cups (400 grams) cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
1 cup (16 grams) cilantro roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt pepper to taste

Additional garnish/topping:
1 avocado, sliced
Vegan feta (optional)
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Directions:

To make the spice mix:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the veggie mix:
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200° C) and place two oven racks in the next to lowest and next to highest positions.

Add the sweet potatoes, onions and peppers in a large bowl and pour the prepared spice mixture together with your hands until all the vegetables are thoroughly coated.

Divide the vegetables between two sheet trays and place in the heated oven. Roast for 15 minutes then rotate the trays and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper as needed and set aside

To make the beans and rice:
If using canned beans, rinse and drain the beans, and season with salt and pepper. If cooking beans from a dried state, add half an onion and a couple of garlic cloves to the beans, and add water to cover beans at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) and cook for 1-2 hours until beans are tender. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt when beans are cooked and use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the liquid when ready to serve.

Cook brown rice according to the package instructions and keep warm (I like to cook my rice in vegetable stock for added flavor).

To make the red cabbage slaw:
In a large bowl whisk the lime juice and agave/maple syrup together, add the shredded cabbage with the cilantro and season with sale and pepper. Taste to see if it needs more acid, salt or sweetener. Let sit for at least 15-30 minutes to let flavors blend.

To make the candied pecans:
Combine the chipotle, maple syrup and spices in a medium bowl, then add the pecans and toss to coat. Spread the coated pecans onto a small sheet tray lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven at 400°F (200° C) for 5 minutes, check the nuts and roast for another 2 minute if necessary. Keep a close eye on the nuts as they can burn quickly!

To make the lime-cilantro sauce:
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

To make the marinated cherry tomatoes:
Add the tomatoes to a medium bowl along with the olive oil, lime juice, parsley, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside until ready to assemble the dish.

To assemble the buddha bowl:
Place a spoonful of the brown rice in the middle of the serving bowl, top with another spoonful or two of the black beans. Layer a nice portion of the roasted sweet potato-onion-pepper mix, cabbage slaw, and marinated cherry tomatoes around the beans and top with the candied pecans, optional feta and drizzle with the lime-cilantro sauce. Serve with lime wedges and additional fresh cilantro on top.

Enjoy with your favorite glass of wine!

Print

Mexican Buddha Bowl

This Mexican-inspired Buddha bowl is bustling with colors, flavors and textures, from the chipotle-spiced sweet potatoes and peppers to the earthy black beans, tangy red cabbage slaw and juicy, marinated cherry tomatoes. All drizzled with the most delicious lime-cilantro sauce this meal is definitely a party in your mouth!

  • Author: Sunny Gandara
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

For the spice mixture:
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped plus 2 teaspoons sauce
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt, pepper to taste

For the veggie mix:
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 poblano peppers, seeded and sliced
1 large red bell pepper or 9-10 mini sweet peppers 
2 garlic cloves, smashed

For the beans:
2 cups (400 grams) cooked black beans
1 cup (200 grams) brown rice, dried

For the red cabbage slaw:
½ head small red cabbage shredded
1 cup (16 grams) chopped cilantro leaves, loosely packed
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup (or more to taste)
Salt to taste

For the candied pecans:
½ cup (65 grams) pecans
1 teaspoon chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste

For the lime-cilantro sauce:
2 cups (32 grams) loosely packed cilantro (leaves and stems)
Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
½ cup (65 grams) cashews 
2 tablespoons water

For the marinated cherry tomatoes:
2 cups (400 grams) cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
1 cup (16 grams) cilantro roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt pepper to taste

Additional garnish/toppings:
1 avocado, slicedVegan feta (optional)
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Instructions

To make the spice mix:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To make the veggie mix:
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200° C) and place two oven racks in the next to lowest and next to highest positions.

Add the sweet potatoes, onions and peppers in a large bowl and pour the prepared spice mixture together with your hands until all the vegetables are thoroughly coated. 

Divide the vegetables between two sheet trays and place in the heated oven. Roast for 15 minutes then rotate the trays and roast for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven, season with salt and pepper as needed and set aside

To make the beans and rice:
If using canned beans, rinse and drain the beans, and season with salt and pepper. If cooking beans from a dried state, add half an onion and a couple of garlic cloves to the beans, and add water to cover beans with at least 1 inch and cook for 1-2 hours until beans are tender. Season with 2 teaspoons of salt when beans are cooked and use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the liquid when ready to serve. 

Cook brown rice according to the package instructions and keep warm (I like to cook my rice in vegetable stock for added flavor). 

To make the red cabbage slaw:
In a large bowl whisk the lime juice and agave/maple syrup together, add the shredded cabbage with the cilantro and season with sale and pepper. Taste to see if it needs more acid, salt or sweetener. Let sit for at least 15-30 minutes to let flavors blend.

To make the candied pecans:
Combine the chipotle, maple syrup and spices in a medium bowl, then add the pecans and toss to coat. Spread the coated pecans onto a small sheet tray lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven at 400°F (200° C) for 5 minutes, check the nuts and roast for another 2 minute if necessary. Keep a close eye on the nuts as they can burn quickly! 

To make the lime-cilantro sauce:
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. 

To make the marinated cherry tomatoes:
Add the tomatoes to a medium bowl along with the olive oil, lime juice, parsley, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Set aside until ready to assemble the dish. 

To assemble the buddha bowl:
Place a spoonful of the brown rice in the middle of the serving bowl, top with another spoonful or two of the black beans. Layer a nice portion of the roasted sweet potato-onion-pepper mix,  cabbage slaw, and marinated cherry tomatoes around the beans and top with the candied pecans, optional feta and drizzle with the lime-cilantro sauce. Serve with lime wedges and additional fresh cilantro on top.

Enjoy with your favorite glass of wine!

Keywords: buddha bowl

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