Mexican Buddha Bowl

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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


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


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!