The best vegan buddha bowl with quinoa, crispy tofu, roasted butternut squash and broccoli and topped with the best tahini dressing.
What is a Buddha Bowl?
The idea with a buddha bowl is to pile your bowl so full of things that it is nice and round on top, like a buddha belly.
Truly an awesome concept don’t you think?
I’ve also heard of them being called ‘hippie bowls’ hahaha.
Now, depending on the size of your bowl, maybe you don’t want to pile it that high on top, but you do want to have something in the center, like quinoa or couscous or brown rice.
And then you pile a selection of veggies and salad around the sides along with a protein source like tofu or chickpeas.
And of course you need a dressing too.
When you have all these elements, it doesn’t matter what you call it, a vegan buddha bowl or a hippie bowl or whatever, what it really is, is a super healthy and delicious meal.
For these vegan buddha bowls we chose quinoa for the middle, a delicious stir fried tofu for the protein, roasted butternut squash and broccoli for the veggies, cilantro, chopped cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado for the salad and a fabulous tahini dressing for the topping.
If you love these bowls you’ll also love our vegan poke bowls so check those out too.
How To Make Vegan Buddha Bowls
You will find full instructions and measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. This is a summary of the process to go along with the process photos.
Roast Your Veggies:
- Butternut Squash. Add peeled and chopped butternut squash to a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and toss until all the butternut squash pieces are lightly coated. Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and bake at 400°F for 35 minutes.
- Broccoli. Add broccoli florets to a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper and tos together so that all the pieces are lightly coated. Place onto a parchment lined baking tray. When the butternut squash has been baking for 20 minutes, add the broccoli into the oven to bake with the butternut squash for the final 15 minutes.
- Press the tofu. Put your tofu on to press, ideally using a tofu press, for 20 minutes. If you don’t have a tofu press, then place the tofu onto a plate, with another plate on top of it and then stack something heavy on top of that like a heavy pot or some heavy books.
- Cook your quinoa. When it’s cooked fluff it with a fork.
- Fry the tofu. Cut the tofu into cubes. Heat up a frying pan with olive oil and then fry the tofu adding some spices, hoisin sauce and maple syrup as you go until you have deliciously flavored sticky crispy tofu.
- Make the dressing. Add the ingredients for the tahini soy dressing to a measuring jug and whisk them up together. Add in just enough water to bring it to the perfect consistency.
- Assemble your bowls. Add quinoa to the middle of the bowls and then stack up the roasted butternut and broccoli along the sides along with some tofu and then add cilantro, sliced cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado. Pour over the dressing.
There are of course all sorts of variations you can make to a buddha bowl to keep things exciting. You just want to make sure that it has vegetables, a protein, a grain and a delicious dressing! Here are a few suggestions for alternatives.
- You could use rice or couscous instead of the quinoa.
- You could use roasted sweet potato or pumpkin instead of the butternut squash.
- You could use cauliflower or brussel sprouts instead of the broccoli.
- You could use any veggie meats instead of tofu for your protein, or switch it for beans. Or maybe you want to use tofu but would like to make it differently – try our marinated tofu, crispy fried tofu or baked tofu.
- You could use a different sauce or dressing. Some good ideas would be a vegan peanut sauce, a cashew dressing or tahini sauce (similar to the one we used here, but not the same) or a green goddess dressing.
Make Ahead and Storing
You can make the quinoa and the tofu ahead of time. Both could just be reheated when you’re ready. You could also make the dressing ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. You could even roast your veggies ahead of time.
The only thing that should be made up freshly on the day is your salad and avocado.
OR you could prepare your veggies up to the point that you would roast them, then all you have to do when you’re ready is roast the veggies, get the salad ingredients ready and assemble your bowls.
If you have leftovers, then keep the various elements separately in the fridge overnight and make up more bowls over the next 3-4 days as you’re ready for them.
More Delicious Vegan Dinner Recipes
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Vegan Buddha Bowl
For the Roasted Butternut:
For the Roasted Broccoli:
For the Quinoa:
- 1 cup Quinoa (170g) Dry Weight
- 2 cups Water (480ml)
For the Tofu:
For the Tahini Dressing:
- Sliced Avocado
- Fresh Cilantro
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Peel and cube the butternut and add to a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss together until everything is lightly coated.
- Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and place into the oven to bake for 35 minutes.
- Add your broccoli to a bowl and then add in the olive oil, salt and pepper and toss together so that all the pieces are lightly coated. Then place onto a parchment lined baking tray.
- When the butternut has been baking for 20 minutes, add the broccoli into the oven to bake for the remaining 15 minutes.
- When your butternut is baking and your broccoli is ready to go into the oven, put your tofu on to press. You can use a tofu press or if you don't have a tofu press, then place the tofu onto a plate, with another plate on top of it and then stack something heavy on top of that like a heavy pot or some heavy books. Leave the tofu to press for 20 minutes.
- Put your quinoa on to cook. Place the quinoa and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let it simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15-20 minutes). When cooked, fluff with a fork.
- When your tofu is finished pressing, cut it into cubes. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when it’s hot, add the tofu cubes. Fry until lightly browned, gently turning over the tofu so that it doesn’t break up. Then add in all the spices, and the soy sauce, hoisin sauce and maple syrup and fry with the tofu until the sauce becomes sticky on the tofu. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add all your ingredients for the tahini dressing (except for water) to a bowl or jug and whisk it up together. Then add in just enough water to bring it to the desired consistency.
- When everything is cooked and ready make up your vegan buddha bowls. Add quinoa to the middle of the bowls and then stack up the roasted butternut and broccoli along the sides along with some tofu and then add cilantro, sliced cherry tomatoes and sliced avocado. Drizzle the dressing over the top.
- Use a gluten-free soy sauce or tamari and a gluten free hoisin sauce to make this dish gluten-free.
- Check the hoisin sauce for vegan friendliness as not all brands are vegan.
- If you have leftovers, then keep the various elements separately in the fridge overnight and make up more bowls over the next 3-4 days as you’re ready for them.
- This recipe was first published in August 2018. It has been updated with some extra tips and info.