Sesame Buddha Bowl (Recipe #1)

I’m not sure whether having your dad laugh at you for like 30 seconds straight over your revelation that you found another grey hair counts as a milestone, but it got me thinking about aging and the way my diet has evolved over the years. I went from North American / Caribbean type meals to living on cheese and crackers/ toast (the most perfect meal ever), to fast food to macaroni and cheese & ramen (not at the same time), to cooking my own ‘weird’ food, to becoming obsessed with veggies. I still love discovering new foods, developing new likes and dislikes for stuff and reading new research so my diet is still evolving.
I actually love many vegetables and to be honest, I recently considered going vegan. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could never give up cheese and although I’ve cut down my meat intake significantly, I don’t know if I can ever fully stop forever. I would describe myself as a ‘Flexitarian’. It’s a term I discovered the other day – it describes a person who had made the conscious decision to cut down their meat intake and increase their veggie intake. Since I don’t eat pork or beef to begin with, it wasn’t too difficult to reduce the meat consumption, especially with all the great veggie recipes just floating around!
Which brings me to Buddha Bowls. I had come across a Buddha Bowl recipe a while back and thought that it was a specific name for that specific recipe, but I later learned that it is a generic name, much like ‘salad’ or ‘pasta bowl’. Essentially, the bowl (better get a big one!) contains a bit of grain (quinoa, rice, barley, etc), some seeds, and a lot of lightly seasoned vegetables. Why the ‘buddha’ name? I read elsewhere that the name comes from a tradition of Buddhist monks going house to house with their bowls at mealtime. People would give them a little of whatever was on their table for dinner. Whatever the history is, a key ingredient of this meal is gratitude. Yes. Gratitude. Not available at Whole Foods. Gratitude is gluten free, vegan, healthy, zero calories & fits any diet. 

No but seriously, eating a bowl full of nourishing food while consciously thinking about the things that you are thankful for sounds like an incredibly powerful combination. Nowadays, you see new studies every day about intangible things like meditation and gratitude and kindness having tremendous effects on human health and the human spirit – blood pressure, heart problems, stress levels, etc. I often have a hard time remembering this and I don’t always think about what I’m grateful for. But I like the idea of introducing a Buddha Bowl into my diet at least once a week. Can you imagine that? Nourishing your body AND soul. I’m not advocating that you light patchouli or incense and think about your aligning your chakras if that’s not your thing. All I’m saying is that you take a meal, turn off your TV and think about what you’re grateful for.
I’ve had a lot to be grateful for in my life, and over the last 2 weeks I’ve discovered a whole boatload of other things to be thankful for, both all encompassing and minor (for example, how great is Ikea?! Or fortune cookies?! How about driving around in circles because you were chatting with someone so much that you forgot which way to go?! Treasure hunts?! An inspiring speech?! Seeing a loved one achieve something they’ve worked so hard for?! Soil?! Having a blog buddy go out of their way to ensure that you’re included in the latest linkup!? A well played board game?! Figuring out a subway route?! Movies at midnight?! Having a friend reinforce your opinion that they’re the best?! The ability to use exclamation points and question marks with abandon!!!???) I told Salma that I should do a 9 Things Thursday because I’ve been so inconsistent with posting recently. Salma, there’s 13 right there…I’m banking extra things just in case 🙂
So back to Buddha Bowls. I’m guilty of eating almost every meal in front of my TV or computer. If Rabin is watching Football (which means that I have two hours of unintelligible commentary punctuated by cheers to listen to), I pick up a book. Whatever it is, I always find a way to distract myself while I’m eating. It’s silly when you think about it – if I love preparing food so much, why aren’t I enjoying the fruits of my labour? So here’s my first attempt. I already see tons of flexibility and lots of options so let’s just call this Indi’s Buddha Bowl Recipe #1 (or IBBR1 if you wanna be technical) to make life easier.
I’m not really doing exact measurements here. It’s totally up to you how much of each you want to use, just remember that a reasonable amount of everything adds up to a LOT of food. I’d call it the ‘buffet paradox’. 

Indi's Buddha Bowl Recipe #1

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: so very easy
  • Print

Buddha Bowl
1/4 cup cooked Barley
1/4 cup Broccoli florets
1 large Carrot, julienned
1/4 cup Purple Cabbage, chopped
1 small Tomato, diced
1/4 cup Spinach
1/4 cup Peas
Sesame Oil, for sauteeing
Black Pepper, to taste
Sesame Seeds
Lemon Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup Tahini
2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/3 – 1/2 cup Water (may add more or less to reach desired thickness)
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
Lightly saute each vegetable in a frying pan with a few drops of sesame oil. Arrange in bowl and add sauce. liberally sprinkle with black pepper and sesame seeds.
Oh no…a bit of purple in the green!! Disaster :s
NOTE: I sauteed each veggie individually because I like the idea of having each portioned individually in a plate so I can mix and match veggies for my entire meal. If you prefer to toss everything in the pan and mix it up to save time, no problem. It’s all going to the same place.
I actually ate about half of that. This picture was taken before I split it with Rabin. I ate slowly and mindfully and was full for the rest of the evening! No snack cravings. I’m bringing this to Fiesta Friday and to Three Things Thursday (although I’m a bit late). So thank you for reading and Happy Weekend! 🙂


  1. That Buddha bowl looks really good! I’ve pinned it to try later 🙂 And you did, not just nine things, but 13 and they’re actually pretty awesome! I think Ikea is great too and I love the fact that you drove around in circles and that you included me in your 13 Things. So glad you linked up and have a fabulous weekend!

  2. What a great post! I love all your 13 things… exclamation marks rock!!!!!! and I tend to do the same thing… eat while doing something else. I like the idea of eating with mindfulness and gratitude. Happy Fiesta Friday!

  3. Mmm, Indira! I was introduced to Buddha bowls a number of years ago and I just love them. You have inspired me to think about creating some new ones in my own kitchen! I am so grateful to you for that! This is a wonderful way to eat! 🙂

  4. Indira, this has been such a lovely post to read. From the origin of Buddha Bowls to the concept of eating mindfully – a lot of food for thought there (ahem…) Thank you for sharing this with us – and a very happy FF to you.

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