Summer season: Enter the Buddha bowl!

Now that we’re well and truly in the middle of a crazy Aussie summer heat wave, I’ve been craving hot meals less and less. The thought of spending time in front of the cooker whipping something up has made me want to run and permanently camp out in front of my fan.

So for lunch today I decided to make this buddha bowl instead. Having been a vegetarian / vegan for many years, I have been making these for a long time – I started making them as a way to eat simple food in as close to its natural state as possible. I’m super happy to see them all over the internet as they gain popularity, it just makes perfect sense to return to eating in a way that is healthy, simple, natural, and looks so beautiful.

 

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The stand-out ingredients in this bowl for me are the rice, and the buffalo heart tomato. The rice has come directly from farmers who travel to Sydney and sell their produce range at a local farmers market. As they often have produce left over they cannot sell, to avoid it going to waste one of the farmers has given some friends and I a bag of uncooked, milled, short-grain, semi-brown rice to try. I admit at this point I did need to turn the stove on  and cook it for 20 minutes, however after adding in quinoa, and chia seeds, I left it to simmer away while I retreated to the safety of the living room to my fan and iced water.

The end result of cooking the rice was pure deliciousness. Nutty, sticky, but with a subtle flavour, both texture and taste were perfect. The farmer had told us that the reason this type of rice was often unwanted and wasted was that the semi-browness of the rice confused consumers, but after one bite of this rice, I was the one confused. It took no longer to cook half a cup of rice than with store-bought rice, and it looks no different on the plate either. I have a bag of it in the fridge ( the rice is also pesticide- free so needs to be kept cold) so I cannot wait to see what else I can make with it – I am thinking coconut milk and chia seed rice puddings, and rosemary and thyme rice balls. Watch this space!

The buffalo heart tomato was an interesting find I picked up at my local fruit and vegetable market. While I love all kinds of tomatoes, summer calls for something a little more exotic, and the buffalo heart does not disappoint. Its unusual, striking heart shape is lovely, its skin smooth and light summery red. And it smells like a freshly-dug tomato – subtly earthy and sweet. I can see myself eating these like apples, as they don’t contain many seeds –  there is no tomato mess!

 

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If you’d like to make your own bowl, here is the list of ingredients I have used. While I call this my 10-ingredient bowl, you can use as many or as little ingredients as you like. I use as many as I can in mine simply because as a single person living on my own, I tend to have to buy more food than I can eat – I often need to get creative in the kitchen to use as much of it up as I can!

  • Romaine lettuce – both the green, and red variety
  • Lightly sautéed baby spinach
  • Lightly sautéed baby bok choy
  • Broccolini
  • Tofu in Chinese Honey flavour
  • Rice with quinoa and chia seeds mixed through
  • Chickpeas
  • Red cabbage
  • Buffalo heart tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Hummous with nuts and seeds sprinkled on top
  • Lemon and sea salt sprinkled liberally over all ingredients once on the plate

The beauty of these bowls for me is the combination of both lightly cooked and raw food. I can have these side by side, their respective flavours complimenting each other perfectly. To keep the bowl in balance, I always make sure to mix veggies, one source of grains, one source of protein, and one source of healthy fats. I’m a minimal dressing kind of girl, so opt in for lemon and salt most of the time, generously sprinkled over the bowl. And as for the colours, they look beautiful on a pristine white plate. I love the different shades of green, browns, and the sharp splashes of red and purple in this bowl. Seeing what my food looks like before I eat it is a big motivation to eating healthily, looking after my body, and making me appreciate where my food comes from. The earth has an amazing capacity to provide us with everything we need.

 

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If you’d like more inspiration on Buddha Bowls, I love lifestyle and interiors blogger Moon to Moon’s post on suggested bowls to make – even though this article is a little older, I love to come back to it from time to time for inspiration.

If you have any favourite buddha bowl recipes you’d like to share I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy!!