Buddha Bowls from The College Vegan Cookbook by Heather Nicholds are a super easy-to-make dinner dish. They're great for lunch, too At under $2.00 per serving, they're super economical! Vegan Buddha bowls are made with kale, chickpeas, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and couscous and topped with homemade Cilantro-Lime Dressing.
This easy recipe is vegan with a gluten-free option.
The first dish I made from The Collage Vegan Cookbook was Buddha Bowls. This recipe is easy to make, so in addition to being great for college vegans, it’s the perfect dinner for busy weekends for just about any vegan! And at just $1.92 a serving, it’s way more economical than take-out. The Cilantro-Lime Dressing that's paired with it is so good, you might want to make a double batch! It goes well with salads and tacos, too.
What is a Buddha Bowl?
A Buddha bowl is a meatless meal served in a bowl or on high-rimmed plate. It's made with portions of several foods, and it's usually served cold. Components usually include whole grains, beans or tofu, and vegetables, and a savory sauce. I like to include both leafy green veggies and starchy vegetables.
The components are not mixed in the bowl, but arranged in an fancy "artful" way. It's the ultimate meal for gaining Instagram likes.
I like to make Buddha bowls with leftovers in the fridge. They can be meal-prepped by simply cooking grains and roasting a variety veggies at the beginning of the week. Then you make different meals throughout the week with the prepared components.
How to Make Buddha Bowls
This recipe is so easy to make!
- First, you roast zucchini, sweet potato, and chickpeas.
- While they’re cooking, you mix together kale and tomatoes.
- Then, you cook the couscous.
- Finally, you assemble the bowls and drizzle each with Cilantro-Lime Dressing.
Buddha Bowls Substitution Tips:
Buddha Bowls are incredibly versatile, so in addition to providing a base recipe, Heather has included substitution tips. You can make the recipe as is, or you can try some of the swaps she’s suggested. I used quinoa instead of the coucous listed, just because I happened to have some on hand.
Build your Buddha bowl with components from each category for lots of variations:
- Grains: buckwheat, cooked brown rice, millet, quinoa, rice noodles, or soba noodles
- Protein: black or white beans, chickpeas, hummus, tempeh, or tofu
- Vegetables: beets, bell pepper, carrots, corn, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, or zucchini
- Greens: bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale, parsley, spinach, or Swiss chard
- Dressing: Caesar Dressing, Coconut Curry Sauce, Creamy Tahini Dressing, or Spinach Pesto (Dressing recipes can be found in College Vegan.)
If you follow a gluten-free diet, make sure your grain is gluten-free. I used quinoa for these photos.
The College Vegan Cookbook
I went vegetarian while I was in college. I lived with my mother, but she was pretty unhappy about my dietary change was constantly exclaiming, “I don’t know what you eat!” on a regular basis. Her idea of vegetarian meal was a bowl of frozen peas, carrots, and carrot mixture, heated up, if I was lucky. So, I had to teach myself to cook. And I had to buy my own groceries, too. If only I had Heather Nicholds’s new book The College Vegan Cookbook all of those years ago! I would have ate well while saving money in the process!
As you probably guess from the title, The College Vegan Cookbook is a cookbook for vegans in college. The book begins with reasons to go vegan as well as information for getting all of the nutrients you need on a plant-based diet. Heather has included handy lists of tools and pantry basics to have on hand. She has also included tips on navigating the grocery store and meal-planning.
The recipes in The College Vegan Cookbook are versatile and budget-friendly. Each recipe lets you know how much it costs per serving, and many of them include substitution tips. These dishes are easy to make, and they include ingredients that can be found in any grocery store. (You won’t find any exotic and costly super foods here!) A lot of the dishes are dorm room friend and good for sharing, too.
The College Vegan Cookbook will take you all the way from breakfast to dessert, with soups, sandwiches, and snacks in between. Start your day with a delicious Blueberry Oat Muffin or a savory Breakfast Burrito. Snack on Classic Hummus or a handful of Cinnamon-Lime Sunflower Seeds. How can anyone turn down a bowl of comforting Mac & Cheese a homemade Personal Pizza? There are recipes for such DIY staples as peanut sauce, oat milk, and vegetable broth, too.
The Chapters in The College Vegan Cookbook Include:
- The College-Ready Vegan
- Soups & Stews
- Sandwiches & Salads
- Snacks & Sides
- Main Courses
- Staples, Sauces & Dressings
In addition to being a cookbook for college-aged vegans, The College Vegan Cookbook is a great resource for new vegans. Those adjusting to a new way of living and cooking will this resource invaluable.
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 3 or 4 kale leaves, stemmed and torn into pieces
- ¾ cup couscous
- 1 ½ cups boiling water
- 2 tablespoons Cilantro-Lime Dressing (recipe follows)
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- On a rimmed baking sheet, spread the sweet potato, zucchini, onion, and chickpeas in a single layer, keeping each separate. Drizzle with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and season with salt to taste. Sprinkle the curry powder over the chickpeas. Toss each vegetable to coat leaving the chickpeas for last so the curry powder doesn’t transfer to the others. Roast for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the tomato and kale. Drizzle with the remaining ½ to 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season with salt to taste, and toss to coat. Set aside.
- In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine the couscous and boiling water. Cover and set aside.
- After the vegetables have roasted for 20 minutes, toss them separately again, and add the tomato and kale mixture to the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes more. (Or leave the kale and tomatoes raw, if you prefer.) Once the vegetables are cooked to your liking, remove them from the oven let them cool slightly.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork, and divide it among three bowls or lunch containers. Arrange the vegetables and chickpeas on top and drizzle with the dressing, or keep it separate until you’re ready to eat.
- Store the cooked ingredients in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days (tomatoes will go bad faster than the other vegetables).
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon tahini or ¼ cup plain nondairy yogurt
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- In a small blender or food processor, combine the cilantro, coconut milk, tahini, lime juice, and sugar, and season to taste with salt. Blend for about 1 minute until smooth. Taste, and add more salt as needed. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
More vegan bowl meals you might enjoy include:
- Sushi Bowl from The Veginner’s Cookbook by Bianca Haun and Sascha Naderer.
- BBQ Hawaiian Tofu Bowl from The Simply Vegan Cookbook by Dustin Harder
- Tofu Sofritas Burrito Bowl
- Vegan Fish Taco Bowl from Vegan Bowl Attack! by Jackie Sobon
- Poke Bowl from my cookbook Eating Vegan