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These Thai Buddha Bowls are loaded with fresh, crunchy veggies, protein-packed chickpeas, warm quinoa, and a dreamy, bold red curry sauce…YUM!
The spicy, bold Thai flavors in this bowl are out of this world delicious! These bowls are loaded with ALL of the good things – tons of fresh veggies, warm, nutrient-dense quinoa, delicious, creamy chickpeas, all drizzled with a SUPER yummy Thai red curry sauce (made uber creamy and nutritious thanks to Greek yogurt!). Not only are these Thai red curry buddha bowls out-of-this-world delicious, but they’re also *so* quick to whip up (30 minutes max!), making them an ideal weeknight dinner on even the most chaotic of evenings!
What is in a Buddha Bowl?
Good question! Buddha bowls (sometimes referred to as ‘hippie bowls,’ ‘macro bowls,’ or ‘power bowls’) are usually vegetarian and always loaded with ALL OF THE YUMMY THINGS (think: grains, tons of veggies, sometimes a vegetarian protein, and usually topped with a bold sauce that brings the whole bowl together). These colorful bowls are known for being well-balanced (they’ve got healthy fats, plant-based protein, and complex carbs), filling, and nutrient-dense. Next time you throw a bunch of good-for-you ingredients in a bowl and top it all with a yummy sauce,
Buddha Bowl Ingredients
For these gluten-free buddha bowls, you’ll need several items from the produce section of your grocery store and a few pantry staples that you may already have at home!
For the Bowls
- Quinoa – to give your bowl some volume and add to the balance of it (quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, y’all), you’ll need 1 cup of tri-color quinoa. If you want to know more about this powerful little seed, find our comprehensive guide on all things quinoa HERE.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – you’ll need a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to cook the quinoa – this will help to ensure minimal clumping and sticking!
- Red Bell Pepper – now, the REALLY good stuff…as far as fresh veggies go, you’ll need 1 diced red bell pepper
- Carrots – 1 cup of shredded carrots
- Purple Cabbage – 1 cup of shredded purple cabbage
- Cucumber – 1 cup diced cucumber
- Mung Bean Sprouts – 1 cup of mung bean sprouts
- Edamame – 2 cups of shelled edamame, and…
- Fresh Cilantro – ¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro!
- Chickpeas – lastly, you’ll throw a can of chickpeas for a little bit of extra protein and creaminess!
For the Sauce
- Greek Yogurt – our sauce is made uber creamy thanks to plain Greek yogurt! Our favorite Greek yogurt EVER is Stonyfield’s whole milk Greek yogurt. It’s rich, creamy, thick, and has the perfect tang! You’ll need 1 cup for this recipe, but if you pick up a quart of yogurt, be sure to add this delicious one-skillet chicken piccata and these fresh, yummy shrimp tacos!
- Red Curry Paste – 2 tablespoons of spicy, bold red curry paste adds a kick to our sauce,
- Lime Juice – and a ¼ cup of lime juice (fresh is best – 2 limes will do!) adds a bit of acidity!
How To Build A Thai Red Curry Buddha Bowl
There really isn’t a wrong way to build a buddha bowl! For this one, we pile in the warm quinoa first, then add all of the fresh veggies, and a dollop of sauce on top!
How to Make Quinoa
To make quinoa, first thoroughly rinse the quinoa, then add it to a small pot over high heat along with 1½ cups of water, the olive oil, and the salt. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. For more detailed instructions on our failproof quinoa method, click HERE!
How to Make the Red Curry Yogurt Sauce
While the quinoa cooks, whisk together (or blend!) the Greek yogurt, curry paste, and lime juice until smooth – it’s that easy!
Buddha Bowl Additions
The options are ENDLESS here! These are a few of our favorite buddha bowl additions that’ll make creating your own bowl *super* easy:
- Protein – though these bowls are typically vegetarian, we are “no rules” over here, so if you’re craving animal protein, add it! Shredded chicken, pork, beef, or sauteed shrimp would all be delicious here. Crispy tofu, jackfruit, and tempeh are great options too!
- Whole Grains – any healthy grains that you love would be great in a buddha bowl! Wild rice, white or brown rice, any variation of quinoa, millet, barley, or farro are all great options. If you’re looking for a low-carb option that will bulk up your bowls, cauliflower rice will do the job beautifully!
- Leafy Greens – raw spinach, kale, or mixed greens add a punch of nutrition while keeping things light and fresh!
- Beans – any variation of beans can be thrown into a buddha bowl – feel free to take a shortcut with canned beans to keep things super easy!
- Veggies – raw veggies add flavor, texture, crunch, and color to buddha bowls, and any veggie that you love is a great buddha bowl addition! Roasted veggies (sweet potatoes, butternut squash, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.) are also really delicious here.
- Nuts/Seeds – sprinkle sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, cashews, peanuts, pepitas, sesame seeds, or hemp seeds over top your finished buddha bowl for an extra dose of healthy fats, protein, and crunch.
- Sauce/Dressing – make a delicious sauce yourself (like this Horseradish sauce, this Lemon Cardamom sauce, this Creamy Chili sauce, this creamy, delicious peanut sauce, or this 5-ingredient ranch) or grab your favorite store-bought sauce to drizzle over your ready-to-eat bowl!
Do You Eat Buddha Bowls Hot or Cold?
The choice is totally up to you! I typically prefer my grain + beans (if using) to be warm, and everything else to be cold, but I’ve been known to eat (and thoroughly enjoy) a totally cold buddha bowl too. It’s a personal preference thing, for sure!
Make-Ahead and Storing
These bowls are a great make-ahead option! My recommendation is to prep your veggies, quinoa, and sauce in advance, store it all separately, and then build your bowl when you’re ready to eat!
What else can I use Greek yogurt for?
TONS of things, actually! This dinner was created as a 3-part quick dinner series in which each dinner utilizes the tangy goodness of Greek yogurt! Grab a quart of Stonyfield’s plain Greek yogurt for these bold Thai Red Curry Buddha Bowls and then use the leftover yogurt to make an absolutely delicious one-skillet Creamy Chicken Piccata and refreshing, perfectly-spiced shrimp tacos later in the week.
Whether you choose to enjoy these tasty grain bowls as a vegan buddha bowl dinner or with a little bit of added animal protein, we hope you absolutely love them!
Just for You
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For the Bowls:
- 1 cup tri-color quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1, 15 ounce can chickpeas
- 2 cups shelled edamame
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the Sauce:
- 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Rinse the quinoa, then add to a small pot over high heat along with 1 1/2 cups water, the olive oil, and the salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks, whisk together or blend the Greek yogurt, curry paste, and lime juice until smooth, then set aside.
- To assemble the bowls: spoon the quinoa into four bowls, then top with the bell pepper, carrots, cabbage, cucumber, bean sprouts, chickpeas, and edamame. Place a dollop of the Greek yogurt sauce in the center of the bowl, then garnish with the cilantro and serve.
- For vegan and dairy-free: substitute coconut cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk for the yogurt.
- For grain-free: substitute cauliflower rice for the quinoa.