Monday, 26 September 2016

Meat Free Monday - Make your own Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowls/Goodness Bowls whatever you want to call them, I love them! You always here me talking about them no doubt, haha. But what are these 'buddha bowls' you ask? basically a big nutritious bowl full of each macro nutrient, vitamins and minerals in order to fuel and energise your body. Meaning you get a fully balanced meal. They're the perfect dish to throw together when you have no clue what you fancy, have lots of left overs, want something quick, craving a bit of everything or need a bowl full of absolute goodness! 

These little hearty bowls are customised to you, it's like a pick n mix! you have a basic formula made from various greens, raw or roasted veggies, a protein, and a healthy grain such as brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa. You can also go ahead and add extras such as nuts, seeds, dressings, hummus (sounds good right?) But the combinations to these bowls are completely endless. 

Depending on the combination you put together or recipe you follow you'll end up with a whole dish of rainbow ingredients which you can swap and change as you fancy. One day you may go for some spicy black beans or roasted chickpeas, sweet potato chips or some fluffy mash, roasted courgette or sauteed with some sliced mushrooms! You may want to experiment with different cuisines, tastes and flavours. It's up to you, so get creative with it The best thing about these little bowls of goodness is they're jam packed with plenty of nutrients, vitamins & minerals which will help your bodies overall health. 

Here's some ideas and a little guide line for creating your own little Budda/goodness bowl... Grab your favourite bowl and begin.

Step 1 - Choose your greens! This can be anything from spinach, kale, watercress, rocket, swiss chard, etc. You can have them raw but may want to saute or steam them for a different twist. Even tryroasting your kale to make kale chips for a different twist and bit of crunch.  The greens are the base of your bowl, so pile them in!

Step 2 - The grains! Next choose a healthy whole grain, go for things such as brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, cous-cous, or lentils are all great to add. Make sure you add a good amount, aim for around 1/2 cup.

Step 3 - Pack in the veggies! This is my favourite bit of making a Budda bowl as you can pretty much go crazy! You can add as many veggies as your heart desires. Make sure you add a huge abundance of colour, variety and textures. Get as much as you can! These can be raw or cooked, you can steam, roast or saute with lots of different flavours. Roasting root vegetables such as sweet potato, parsnips, carrots in plenty of herbs, add some colour and crunch with cherry tomatoes, red & yellow peppers, saute some courgette with sugar snap peas or steam some broccoli & asparagus which go great with a tahini dressing. Broccoli along with cauliflower is the perfect vegetable to roast, it creates a wonderful crunch and flavour! I also love mushrooms! They're the best addition to any meal along with being low in fat and high in protein!
 The thing with the veggies is the sky is basically the limit! So get experimenting!

Step 4 - Punch up the protein! There are so many way to add protein to your bowl, along with all of the veggies! Try anything form tofu, tempeh, beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, edamame, butter beans. Roasting chickpeas is one of my favourite snacks or thing to add to my dish. Falafels and veggie burgers with a great dollop of hummus are also great a addition! If you eat meat/fish/eggs feel free to pop that in! Just make sure a good 1/4 of your bowl is packed with protein.

Step 5 - Remember the healthy fat! Don't forget how important adding healthy fats is to your diet. They help provide your body with plenty of fatty acids such as omega 3's, give your body energy, help keep you fuller for longer and taste amazing! Try nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews such as for some crunch and extra protein. Add some creamy avocado cubes which go great with edamame beans or use it to make a guacamole. Remember olive oil, avocado oil, coconut, rapeseed oils are all great to roast veggie in and add to any dressings.

Step 6 - Don't forget the extra superfoods! You can add even more textures and flavours by throwing in some extra garnishes to your bowl. Sprinkle you dish with nutritional yeast or throw in some chopped herbs such as parsley, coriander or basil. Top with sauerkraut, which is a fermented cabbage and brilliant for digestions. Toast/roast seeds such and pumpkin or sunflower or sprinkle with chia or hemp seeds for extra protein. For a bit of sweetness throw in some chopped apple or some dried cranberries. Spoon a big dollop of hummus (great for healthy fats & protein) or guacamole for some creaminess and flavour.  You may even want to add some chilli flakes or grated ginger for a completely different twist.

Step 7 - Drizzle your dressings! After placing all of these amazing ingredients together you're certain going to want to tie it all together with an amazing sauce/dressing. Again these can be altered to whatever you heart desires! You can try different varieties of combinations with tahini (great with sweet potato), apple cider vinegar, tamari, lemon, olivie oil, rapeseed oil, avocado oil, balsamic, lemon, lime. I love tahini with apple cider vinegar, half a tsp of tumeric and water to thin or if I've added hummus to my dish I love to simply drizzle with lemon juice. Easy peasy.

And that's it! You can get as creative as you want to with this, there is no right or wrong. Just make sure you make it look pretty, pretty food always tastes better... Haha. Grab your fork and dig in!