Barley lentil buddha bowls are a delicious and deeply nourishing dinner option. Layered with peppery arugula, roasted sweet potatoes, steamed green beans, hard boiled eggs, and a simple french vinaigrette. Why stop there though? Learn how to DIY your own buddha bowls while you’re at it!
BUDDHA BOWL VS. NOURISH BOWL
In case you didn’t know, a nourish bowl is the same thing as a buddha bowl, only, it’s rebranded. Not only that, but nourish bowls are a trademarked product by Mann’s. This, by the way, is not a product endorsement of any kind. I’ve never tried these products and I probably wouldn’t spend money on them because I like playing in the kitchen too much.
For all intents and purposes, I’m going to continue using the term buddha bowl because I’m fond of alliteration. Also, I think the term “nourish bowl” is silly. Nourish is a verb, so if we swap it with the synonym, eat, it would be “eat bowl”. Am I a nitpick? Maybe, but I don’t like being told what to do and also, it’s poor language. Someone got excited by the word nourish and just ran with it without giving it any thought.
BARLEY LENTIL BUDDHA BOWL RECIPE VIDEO
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THE GOAL OF THE BUDDHA BOWL
In my humble opinion, the goal of the buddha bowl is to use what you have to make something that’s deeply nourishing and satisfying. On those days where you feel like you have nothing to work with in the kitchen to make dinner, chances are you have something you can use. You just need to get creative and follow the formula. Of course, it helps if you have a well-stocked pantry! Let’s take a look at the formula, using my barley lentil buddha bowl as an example.
THE BASE OF THE BARLEY LENTIL BUDDHA BOWLS
First things first, you need to decide what you want to use for your base. This is the dominant ingredient, the one that’s more plentiful than all the others. In my barley lentil buddha bowl, it’s barley, followed closely by lentils. Usually my favourite foundation is a grain of some sort, but I adore zucchini noodles as well. The only thing you can’t use as a base are leafy greens, otherwise it stops being a buddha bowl and becomes a salad!
THE ELEMENTS OF A GOOD BUDDHA BOWL
Once you have your base decided, everything else follows, but these are the elements you want to make sure you include:
Like I mentioned above, the base of my buddha bowls are almost always a grain of some sort. I don’t usually measure my grains out when I’m assembling my bowls, but I’d say a 1/2-3/4 cup will do a good job of keeping you full. A number of people shy away from grains because of carbs, but the thing is, whole grains are the kind of carbs you want in your diet. They’re full of fibre and nutrients, and they keep you feeling satiated longer. If you want to read more about the benefits of whole grains, you can check out what Healthline has to say about it, otherwise, here’s a list of my favourites for buddha bowls:
Brown rice (brown Basmati is my go-to)
Bulgur (a.k.a cracked wheat)
Hulled barley (pearled barley is more refined)
Quinoa (any colour)
Whole wheat couscous
OTHER GRAINS TO CONSIDER
Here’s a list of grains that I often overlook and should play with more regularly. Using them out in a buddha bowl is a great opportunity to experiment.
In my bowls, lentils were my choice of protein. I love lentils in my buddha bowls because I almost always have lentils on hand and can have a batch ready in 20 minutes once I have a pot of water boiling. I also included a hardboiled egg for good measure to give it extra heft. Here are some proteins to consider when you’re building yourself a buddha bowl of your own:
Cubed tofu or tempeh
Grilled salmon or trout
Legumes (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc).
This is the time to root around in your fridge and pantry to see what you can dig up for your bowls. If you have sweet potatoes, you can cook them up quickly by either microwaving them or tossing a couple in an Instant Pot. Carrots can be grated with a julienne slicer for a fresh crunch factor, and diced cucumbers or tomatoes offer a refreshing bite to any bowl. Try sautéing zucchini or mushrooms, slice up a bit of cabbage, add a generous handful of leafy greens or fresh sprouts. Aim for at least 2-3 vegetables.
So you have a grain, protein, and a mountain of fresh vegetables. Now is the time to tie everything together by jazzing it up with a tasty dressing. I almost always make my own dressing from scratch and include the recipe for the vinaigrette I used for my barley lentil buddha bowls below. The secret ingredient is a German seasoned vinegar dressing which is quite mild in terms of acidity compared to the other vinegars I like working with. This kefir ranch dressing and spicy oil-free peanut dressing would also do quite nicely drizzled over a buddha bowl.
These are the cherries on top of that bowl of goodness you’re building. They’re not necessary and I didn’t include any in my barley lentil buddha bowls, but here’s a look at some possibilities for you to consider:
Cheese: crumbled feta, grated parmesan, shredded cheddar, etc.
Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Strips of seaweed
DO YOU WANT A THEME?
There’s one last thing to consider here, and that’s whether or not you want a theme for your buddha bowl. My main theme when I’m building buddha bowls is “let’s clean out the fridge”, but maybe you want to be more structured. Maybe you want a Mexican, Greek, or Japanese theme, for example. Here are some combos to help get you started:
brown rice, lemon marinated pork, grilled eggplant, diced tomatoes, cucumber, black olives, feta cheese, and my buddha bowl dressing (see recipe below).
quinoa, lime marinated chicken, avocado, corn, diced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, lime crema dressing, cilantro and crushed tortilla chips.
brown rice seasoned with rice vinegar and mirin, grilled shrimp (or sashimi grade salmon), avocado, cucumber, shredded carrot, seaweed, sesame seeds, and a Sriracha mayo dressing.
SHOP THIS POST
Bôrner Julienne Slicer
Kühne Salata Vinegar
(the seasoned German vinegar everyone should have in their pantry)
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Kefir Ranch Dip for Crudités
(this dip can easily be turned into a dressing)
Shredded Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing
BARLEY LENTIL BUDDHA BOWLS INGREDIENTS
Makes 4 Bowls
3 cups cooked barley
2 cups cooked lentils
4 hard boiled eggs
1 roasted sweet potato, diced
2 cups arugula
1 lb. green beans, steamed
1 oz. salata vinegar
3 oz. avocado oil
1 tsp dijon
1 tsp honey
pinch of summer savoury
salt and pepper to taste
BARLEY LENTIL BUDDHA BOWLS INSTRUCTIONS
Divide the barley and lentils amongst 4 bowls
Evenly distribute the sweet potato, green beans and arugula
Slice the eggs in half and arrange in the bowl.
Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shaking until homogenous.
Drizzle the dressing over the bowls and serve.
PRINTABLE BARLEY LENTIL BUDDHA BOWLS RECIPE CARD
Barley Lentil Buddha Bowls
- 3 cups cooked barley
- 2 cups cooked green lentils
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1 roasted sweet potato diced
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 lb. green beans steamed
- 1 oz. Kühne Salata vinegar
- 3 oz. avocado oil
- 1 tsp dijon
- 1 tsp honey
- pinch of summer savoury
- salt and pepper to taste
- Divide the barley and lentils amongst 4 bowls
- Evenly distribute the sweet potato, green beans and arugula
- Slice the eggs in half and arrange in the bowl.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shaking until homogenous.
- Drizzle the dressing over the bowls and serve.
- To cook barley, bring 1 cup of hulled barley to a boil with 3 cups of water or stock. Simmer covered for 40 minutes.
- To cook lentils, bring 1 cup of rinsed green lentils to a boil with salt or bouillon. Let it simmer for 20 minutes before draining.