In this Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowl recipe, you’ll learn:
- How to roast different vegetables, all at once, and cooked perfectly at the same time
- Cook ahead flexibility of a Buddha Bowl – make this meal in 30 minutes
- Customize your own bowl with different San-J cooking sauces and dressings
What are Buddha Bowls?
Have you tried a “Buddha Bowl”? It’s a big bowl of nutritious, mostly vegetables, atop a bed of whole grains. The term comes from the appearance of the bowl, packed so full of goodness that it resembles the rounded belly of Buddha!
My first introduction to Buddha Bowls was from a good friend and former assistant of Steamy Kitchen, Cheri of The Watering Mouth. Cheri and I used to both live in the Sarasota, Florida area, and she would come over three times a week to help create, test and video many of the recipes on this site. Well, it turns out that we both ended up in Las Vegas! I moved here to be close to family, and she moved here for the rock climbing.
Cheri is a nutritarian, which means she teaches people how to choose foods that provide the most nutrition and benefit to your body. Buddha Bowls are a big part of her meals – they are not only healthy, but provide the flexibility for everyday weekday lunches and dinners.
Here’s why you’ll love Buddha Bowls
- Choose exactly the type of vegetables you want
- You can roast all the vegetables at once, and store in the refrigerator
- The meal can be enjoyed hot or just warm
- If you enjoy meat or seafood, like our family, add store-bought rotisserie chicken or a few cooked cocktail shrimp
- Each family member can customize their own Buddha Bowl – choose your own ingredients, choose your own sauce/dressing and DIY your perfect Buddha Bowl
The perfect Asian sauces and dressings
It’s very rare for us at Steamy Kitchen to partner with brands for recipes. We usually choose only one or two clients per year, as we take our partnerships very seriously and only create long-term relationships only with products that I truly love, use as part of my everyday cooking repertoire, and trust fully.
This year, we’re partnering with San-J, who specializes in Asian tamari soy sauce, Asian gluten-free cooking sauces and dressings.
San-J began in 1804 in Mie, Japan, as a Tamari soy sauce and miso company. They began exporting to America in the 70’s and in 1987, they established a brewing facility in Henrico, Virginia. Their family of tamari soy sauce is very popular, as their tamari contains 100% soy, and no wheat. San-J Tamari has a richer, more complex taste than regular soy sauce.
For the Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowls, we are using San-J ready-to-use cooking sauces and marinades.
There are 7 different tasty flavors, all gluten free, kosher and non-GMO.
So, let’s start roasting the vegetables for the Buddha Bowls and I’ll show you how to use the San-J sauces to customize your bowls.
How to roast different vegetables at the same time
The key to roasting many types of vegetables at the same time is the cut. Soft, thin ingredients, like bell peppers, roast much faster than a hard sweet potatoes. In order for all the vegetables to finish cooking at the same time, we have to make sure to cut the vegetable accordingly, so that tomatoes aren’t mushy and carrots are cooked through.
We are aiming for 20 minute cook time, at 375F (or 350F for convection setting). There are 3 sizes of cuts that I like to do:
These are your large, fleshy, juicy vegetables and fruit:
- Medium roma tomatoes – quarter. Roma tomatoes roast better than regular tomatoes, as they are more firm and have less water content. They also hold their shape better.
- Cherry tomatoes – leave whole
- Grapes – leave whole (have you tried roasting grapes for savory dish, or even to serve with cheese platter?)
- Figs – halve
- Asparagus – snap off tough end, leave whole
For most vegetables, aim for 1.5″ to 2″ cut (4 cm-5 cm)
- Bell peppers – 2″ square
- Zucchini – chunks
- Mushrooms – halve button mushrooms or quarter larger mushrooms
- Brussels Sprouts – halve smaller sprouts, quarter larger sprouts
- Broccoli & Cauliflower – 1.5″ pieces
- Onions – 2″ chunks (try to keep the chunks together, like in the photos above)
- Green Beans – trim ends, cut into 2″ pieces
- Leeks – 2″ pieces, sliced on diagonal
Hard, dense vegetables require a 1/2″ dice (1.25cm).
- Sweet Potatoes
- Butternut Squash
- Tofu – quite opposite from a hard, dense vegetable! But tofu has a very high water content, so I cut the block into small dice, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ dice.
How to dice sweet potato
First, peel and then slice into 1/2″ planks
Cut into “fries”:
Then dice, aim for 1/2″ or smaller, especially for sweet potatoes. For regular potatoes, I’ll make the dice a bit bigger. Regular potatoes are not as hard and dense as sweet potatoes.
Roasting the vegetables
I like to keep the vegetables grouped on the tray. That way, if one type of vegetable is cooking a little faster than others, I can just use a spatula or large spoon and remove from roasting pan.
Also, I do not salt the vegetables prior to roasting. Salt releases moisture in the vegetable. If you have too much moisture in the pan, the vegetables will end up soggy. We want to dry-roast, not steam! Also, make sure there’s plenty of space in the pan. Use multiple pans, if needed, so that the ingredients are in a single layer.
Roast 375F for 20 minutes. I have a convection oven, and my sweet spot is 350F.
Vegetables are finished roasting and everything is cooked through perfectly.
Toss vegetables with Sauce or Dressing
You can toss all of the vegetables with one sauce. But what’s even more fun is for each family member to make their own Buddha bowl and choose their own sauce or dressing. I spoon about 2 tablespoons of a sauce into a bowl, microwave for 10 seconds just to warm it up a bit, then toss with the vegetables. Each family member does the same for their own bowl.
Use the product locator to enter your zip code and find stores near you that carry San-J products.
Make your bed!
I like to serve the roasted vegetables on a bed of grains or salad. Here are some great choices:
- Rice – white, brown or wild rice. I love my rice cooker, but I also cook rice in the microwave as well.
- Pasta – try some fun shapes, like the tulip!
- Asian Noodles
- Vegetable “noodles” or zoodles!
- Make a salad! Chopped romaine or baby lettuces
- Whole Grains
- Quinoa – I’m using the multi-color quinoa for my dish.
- Spelt – Spelt takes longer to cook, it’s best to soak them overnight first.
- Barley – We like cooking barley in vegetable broth instead of water. This grain also takes about 40 minutes to cook.
- Bulgur – Fast and tasty. I like Bob’s Red Mill brand.
- Farro – Bon Appetit has the perfect recipe for cooking farro.
- Freekah – This one is my favorite! See if you can find cracked freekah at a health food store. Here’s how to cook it.
How about toppings?
We love topping our Buddha Bowls with nuts. You can also top with shredded lettuce, chopped herbs, fresh sprouts or shredded seaweed.
For my Buddha Bowl, I’m using San-J Thai Peanut Sauce and added a sprinkling of roasted, chopped peanuts for added crunch.
Roasted Vegetable Buddha Bowl
- 1 large zucchini
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1/2 pound brussels sprouts
- 1.2 red onion
- 1 bell pepper
- 8 large mushrooms
- 4 ounce extra-firm tofu
- 1 small potato
- 1 small sweet potato
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Lettuce, whole grain, pasta or rice of your choice - enough for 4 servings
- Cooking sauce or salad dressing of your choice, we recommend San-J brand
- Handful of nuts, if desired, as a topping
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Wash, peel, trim and cut the vegetables, according to the size listed in this article. Spread vegetables out in single layer on baking sheet or roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes.
- In meantime, cook the whole grains, pasta, noodles or rice. Or, if you prefer, lettuces as a base.
- When vegetables are done, toss with the cooking sauce or salad dressing. I find that no additional salt is needed. Serve over grains. Top with nuts, if desired.