Right now you might be thinking: “What in the world are Buddha bowls?” Don’t worry. I got you covered. Ever since I first saw these bowls on Instagram, I became obsessed with them to the point where most of my lunches now consist of one of these delicious creations. 

Buddha bowls are colorful dishes assembled in a bowl, which makes them very versatile and tasty. They are a perfect way of getting a balanced and healthy meal by including all the macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats) that provide the energy the body needs. These bowls are the perfect to-go healthy option for those busy days that college students have.

vegetable, salad
Madeleine Cohen

Origin of the Name

There is no official explanation why these bowls are called “Buddha” bowls. The most common one says that Buddha had a round belly and because the bowl is packed so full, it has a belly appearance on the top that is similar to Buddha’s. I know; it's a bit of a stretch.


Stefan Rüdiger on Flickr

How to Make a Buddha Bowl

There is no one recipe used to make a Buddha bowl. Proteins, vegetables, grains, and dressings vary according to personal taste, so you can design your own with the ingredients that you like. However, there is a “basic formula” that people follow when making a bowl.

First, you’ll need a large bowl where all your ingredients can fit (the larger, the better!). Start your bowl with a bed of grains like rice, quinoa, couscous, or buckwheat. Then top the grains with your choice of greens and veggies: Spinach, kale, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and avocados are VERY popular ingredients. These will add vitamins and minerals to your meal that are essential for your metabolism.

Throw some beans on top to add protein to your bowl. These can be black beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, or edamame. Although Buddha bowls are commonly vegetarian or vegan, you can also add your preference of meat as another source of protein.

Finally, add the dressing. For this dish, dressings can vary. Some like to keep it simple with a little of avocado or olive oil with vinegar. Others like to make more elaborated dressings, and some others even like Buddha bowls with no dressing.

Toppings like nuts or seeds are very common too. These can add a crispy touch to your creation; peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or even pieces of chips go well with Buddha Bowls. 

cheese, salad
Lauren Arendt

So “Instagramable”

Besides its healthy properties, these bowls are known for being colorful and pretty. The combination of colors of the many ingredients that they contain is what makes them so appealing to many people. This is one of the main reasons why these dishes have become so popular. Many Instagram influencers dedicate their accounts to these bowls by sharing their creations.

One of the Instagram accounts that I use for Buddha bowl inspiration is @veggininthecity because Alex, the owner, is always sharing new ideas about exclusively vegetarian Buddha bowls. She also shares many other healthy recipes that can help improve your diet like avocado toasts, smoothie bowls, salads, and other healthy snacks.

My favorite Instagram account that shares the same passion for Buddha bowls is @shutthekaleup  managed by Jeannette Ogden. She always shares pictures of her bowls, which she basically eats for every meal. My favorite aspect about this account, besides the Buddha bowls, is that she always shares new healthy products and gives honest feedback about them.

Buddha bowls are a food trend that healthy-food lovers should get on board with. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, they are very versatile and easy adapt to anyone’s preferences. They are considered a complete meal, containing all macro and micronutrients that your body needs to be fueled. These bowls are also the perfect college solution to eat healthy on the go.