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Vegan Buddha Bowl: Tofu Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Vegetables

Healthy and tasty aren’t often two words you see together, but just wait until you try our packed out vegan buddha bowl. 

Vegan buddha bowl recipes are a simple yet delightful concept, designed to provide you with all of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and energy that you need in your daily diet. Select a grain or rice as your base, then build your bowl up with vegetables, salad, and your favorite protein (as always, we highly recommend tofu bowls!)

But while it’s full of essentials, vegan bowls are also bursting with taste and flavor, particularly when you squeeze on a little buddha bowl dressing to complete the meal. You can create buddha bowls to suit your taste or dietary requirements, but here are our suggested pairings. 

You’ll need tofu, a tofu press, quinoa, roasted vegetables, and our homemade tahini sauce for this vegan power bowl. Keep reading for our vegan buddha bowl recipe! 

What is a vegan buddha bowl?

Let’s start with the basics; what is a buddha bowl? Buddha bowls are one of our favorite vegan foodie trends. They are healthy, nutritious, and wonderfully customizable. You could easily prepare new vegan bowl recipes every day of the week!

To start, you need to select rice or grains, which form the centerpiece of these healthy bowls. This is your main source of carbs and energy. You can try quinoa, wholegrain rice, or couscous, for instance. Place your grain into the middle of a large bowl; then you build the rest of the vegan veggie bowl around it. 

The fun part is selecting your accompaniments. The idea of a buddha bowl is to create a well-balanced meal that can provide you with all the essential nutrients and vitamins you’ll need each day. Select a few of your favorite vegetables for the nutrients, and select a protein source, such as tofu. You can arrange your selections around the quinoa or rice in the center for an aesthetically pleasing vegan protein bowl. Finish the bowl with a salad dressing for added flavor. 

You can mix and match your preferred ingredients, but to get started, you can follow our simple vegan buddha bowls recipe below. Our basic buddha bowl ingredients include the following:

  • Tofu
  • Quinoa
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Roasted broccoli 
  • Tahini
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes 
  • Cilantro

How to make a vegan buddha bowl

Makes 4 butternut squash buddha bowl with quinoa 

Ingredients for roasted butternut squash

  • 3 cups of butternut squash*
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*This is roughly 1 medium butternut squash. You need to peel and slice the butternut squash before seasoning. 

Ingredients for roasted broccoli

  • 4 ¼ cups of broccoli
  • ½ tsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for quinoa

  • 1 cup of dry quinoa
  • 2 cups of water

Ingredients for seasoned tofu

  • 8 ounces of extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • ½ tsp of ground ginger
  • ½ tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ tsp of onion flakes
  • ⅛ tsp of cayenne pepper powder*
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup

*Add more cayenne pepper powder to make your vegetable bowls spicier. 

Ingredients for tahini sauce 

  • ¼ cup of tahini
  • 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup

Ingredients for serving tofu buddha bowl

  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes

Directions for preparing vegan buddha bowl

  1. Start preparing your vegan, vegetarian buddha bowl by pressing and draining your block of extra-firm tofu. We suggest using a tofu press to make this part of the recipe easier, but you can also wrap the tofu in paper towels and leave a heavy object pressing down on top. You can leave your tofu to press for 30 mins while you start prepping other elements of the vegan buddha bowl.
  2. Next, preheat your oven to 390℉ and line a baking tray with parchment paper. 
  3. After this, you need to peel your butternut squash, then slice it up into small cubes. Coat the butternut squash cubes in oil, season with salt and pepper, then bake in the oven for 35 mins. 
  4. Prepare your broccoli by coating in olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the broccoli to another baking tray (lined with parchment paper), and bake in the oven for 15 mins. You can time it, so the butternut squash and the broccoli are both ready at the same time. 
  5. While the vegetables are roasting in the oven, you can cook your quinoa. Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stovetop, then add your quinoa to the pot. Lower the heat and leave the quinoa to simmer for 20 mins. The quinoa should absorb all the water, and when it’s ready, use a fork to fluff it up.
  6. After pressing your tofu for 20 mins, slice it into small, bite-sized cubes. Add a drizzle of oil to a skillet, and heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes to the oil when it’s hot, and fry until each piece is browned on the outside. 
  7. When the tofu has browned, you need to pour in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and maple syrup. Follow the sauces with your spices and seasonings, and fry everything together for a few minutes. The sauce will start to thicken and will season the tofu as it sticks to it. You can turn off the heat and set the tofu to one side. 
  8.  Next, you need to mix up your tahini sauce. Measure out your ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine them together. If the sauce is too thick, just add a few drops of water to thin it out. 
  9. By now, all of the ingredients for your vegan buddha bowl should be ready, so it’s time to assemble the meal. Place a heap of quinoa into the middle of the bowl, then place your other ingredients around the quinoa. Add some avocado slices and cherry tomatoes, then top it all off with some fresh cilantro and your tahini sauce. 

Other vegan buddha bowl recipes

When you’re preparing vegan bowls, you can easily substitute our suggested items for any of your favorite veggie and vegan ingredients. Vegetarian bowl recipes are easy to customize, so don’t be afraid to get creative. 

To get those creative juices flowing, here are a few of our top alternative ingredients for vegetarian grain bowl recipes. 

Suggested vegan bowl grains

Each vegan buddha bowl needs to have at least one primary grain as its centerpiece. The grains provide the carbs that you need for energy. The following are delicious yet healthy grains: 

  • Quinoa
  • Wholegrain rice
  • White rice
  • Millet
  • Couscous
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur

Suggested vegan bowl vegetables

You’ll need a minimum of 2 different types of vegetables for a good buddha bowl, but you can add more than this if you have space. A mixture of hot and cold vegetables (so roasted butternut squash and cherry tomatoes, for instance) always works well. Here are a few of our favorite suggestions: 

  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Roasted broccoli 
  • Roasted carrots
  • Roasted eggplant
  • Roasted cauliflower
  • Roasted bell peppers
  • Sauteed mushrooms (or garlic mushrooms)
  • Sliced avocados (or guacamole)
  • Asparagus
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Green onions
  • Lettuce

Suggested vegan bowl proteins

Most important of all, you need your protein of choice. Tofu is always a favorite because there’s so much you can do with it. There are plenty of other options you can try as well, though. Here are a few plant-based proteins for your buddha bowls:

  • Tofu
  • Crispy tofu
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Broad beans
  • Falafel
  • Tempeh
  • Veggie/vegan burger patties

Vegan buddha bowls FAQ

What tofu is best for a vegan buddha bowl?

For the best vegan buddha bowl, you should make sure that you’re using firm or extra-firm tofu. As we’re seasoning and frying the tofu, you need it to be able to hold up to the high heat and be able to absorb the seasoning you’re cooking it in. 

Firm and extra-firm tofu hold their shape and hold the seasoning much better than soft or silken tofu, which can fall apart when it’s fried. 

Why do I need to press the tofu? 

Pressing and draining the tofu is an important step in the preparation process. All tofu has high water content, and that water gives unseasoned tofu a bland, neutral flavor. We need to remove the excess liquid, to allow the tofu to absorb the flavors of the seasoning and to ensure that it doesn’t turn to mush when being cooked.

As we already suggested, the most effective way to press tofu is by using a tofu press. You simply place the tofu block inside the press, then leave it for 20 minutes. You can press tofu using a heavy object, such as a chopping board or a large cast-iron skillet, but it’s more difficult. 

How can I make crispy tofu?

One of the best reasons to use tofu in your vegan buddha bowls is because it’s so versatile. That bland, neutral flavor is actually a bonus, as it means we can make tofu taste like almost anything, with the right seasoning. 

You can try out loads of different marinades and sauces, but a firm tofu favorite is always going to be crispy tofu. To crisp up your tofu, you can create a cornstarch based batter, then fry your tofu in oil. For a healthier option, you can oven-bake the tofu too. 

What other salad dressings can I try?

The salad dressing is the component that provides your vegan buddha bowl with that final, tasty kick at the end. We love a homemade tahini sauce, but there are plenty of other great options to try out as well. 

Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Vegan garlic mayonnaise
  • Vegan ranch dressing
  • Vegan Caesar salad 
  • Lemon dressing
  • Olive oil vinaigrette
  • Spicy vegan buffalo hot sauce

If you’re purchasing salad dressing from the store, then just double check that it’s actually vegan. Luckily, there’s an increasing number of vegan sauces and dressings (such as vegan mayo) on the store shelves these days. If you’re in doubt, then why not try making a homemade sauce instead? 

How do you like your vegan buddha bowl?

Vegan buddha bowls are a great way to prepare a healthy, rounded, and balanced meal that’s brimming with flavor. You can cook up a light bowl for lunch or load up the plate with all sorts of crispy tofu and veggies for a filling dinner. 

Why not save our vegan buddha bowl recipe for your next healthy meal?