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The Ultimate Buddha Bowl

January 19, 2020

There are millions of recipes for Buddha Bowls out there but I can assure you this one is the ultimate! With veggies, brown rice, tofu in a flavour-packed peanut sauce, the ultimate buddha bowl will become your go-to vegetarian dinner recipe!

If you’re from Toronto and even remotely interested in health then you have heard of Fresh Restaurants. They’re basically a chain of healthy/vegetarian restaurants across the city that are a healthy foodie’s mecca. The food is so good that it turns people into vegans. Only slightly kidding…

This recipe was 100% inspired by the buddha bowl at Fresh. Truth is, I’m actually in love with their buddha sauce. It’s sort of irrelevant what you pour it onto because the goodness is all in the sauce. I think that’s kind of what buddha bowls have in common; there’s nothing inherently similar about them to define their own category other than the fact that it’s likely some sort of peanutty sauce that is absolutely bomb.

What is a buddha bowl?

To be honest, I couldn’t get a definite answer on why it’s called a buddha bowl! One source said it’s named for its big, round Buddha belly shape, another said Martha Stewart coined the term. What I do know is it’s a bowl meal with grains, tons of veggies, some source of protein and a dressing. Basically my dream dinner. 

What I love about my buddha bowl is that I get to pick exactly what I want it to include so of course I went for broccoli and kale. The original buddha bowl from Fresh uses cucumbers and tomatoes but I’m a green freak so I gave you a double-whammy of them. But still, it doesn’t matter what you include in it because once you master the sauce you are golden.

buddha bowl sauce

The Ultimate Buddha Bowl Sauce

  • coconut oil
  • onion
  • garlic
  • natural peanut butter
  • rice wine vinegar
  • tamari
  • sesame oil
  • fresh ginger
  • water

I think what makes this sauce so good is the first step of sauteing the onions and garlic. While it is an extra step, it brings out such a delicious flavor! Then all you have to do is blend all of the ingredients until well-combined. This sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week so feel free to play around adding it to other bowls/ingredients!


Are they good for you? 

Hells to the yes! A meal packed with vegetables, protein and whole grains? You can’t go wrong. If you’re trying to cut back on your meat consumption or want to dabble into vegetarianism, this is a dinner that will please the masses!

Here are other vegetarian dinners to try:


The Ultimate Buddha Bowl

There are millions of recipes for Buddha Bowls out there but I can assure you this one is the ultimate! With veggies, brown rice, tofu in a flavour-packed peanut sauce, the ultimate buddha bowl will become your go-to vegetarian dinner recipe!

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 2 cups dry brown rice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 head of kale, destemmed and chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

For the Buddha Sauce:

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of water


  1. Cook rice according to package instructions
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Place cubed tofu on a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet and coat with 1 tbsp coconut oil (you may need to melt it). Top with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake tofu for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile heat up a skillet with the other tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat.
  6. Add broccoli florets and 1 tbsp of water. Cover skillet to steam broccoli for 3 minutes.
  7. Add in kale and garlic and toss to coat and cook until desired texture has been reached.

To Make Buddha Sauce:

  1. Remove broccoli and kale from skillet and set aside. Using the same skillet add coconut oil and chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  2. Add cooked onion and garlic to a blender or food processor.
  3. Top with remaining buddha sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more water if sauce is too thick.

To assemble buddha bowls:

  • Divide rice between bowls and top with tofu, broccoli and kale.
  • Drizzle sauce on top and sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired.

*Will keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.


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  • Reply
    April 10, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Hi Davida- the egg thing, shashushka? 🙂 sounds amazing. I love the sound of All those spices!!! Thank you for sharing your memories of brunch and this super tasty sounding recipe honey!!

  • Reply
    February 9, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Just made this. The sauce was AMAZING! I want to cover it in everything. Buddha bowls are my favorite lunch, dinner, etc. Would love more of these types of recipes

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      February 9, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      amazing! So happy to hear you enjoyed it. I am in love with the buddha sauce. Will get working on more recipes similar to this one 🙂

  • Reply
    January 23, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    How far in advance can the Buddha sauce be made/ how long does it hold? Thanks! Looking forward to making

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      January 24, 2016 at 11:05 am

      It keeps for about a week so feel free to make it in advance 🙂 Enjoy!

  • Reply
    November 16, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I have to try that sauce! I love buddha bowls–my favorite add-ins are mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potatoes, tofu, eggs, broccoli, kale, peppers, avocado, squash and sea vegetables! Oh and I never forget to put in Sriracha!

  • Reply
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats
    November 15, 2015 at 1:59 am

    Buddha bowls are the shizzzz. And that peanut sauce, omg. Drooling.

  • Reply
    Miss Polkadot
    November 14, 2015 at 11:23 am

    So much yes to peanut sauce and I know those sauces that make everything taste good. Given I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to Toronto it’s great I can now bring Toronto [or at least some of its best food ;)] home.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 16, 2015 at 8:13 am

      exactly 😉 I don’t know how thrilled they are that I’m sharing this recipe, but I think I’m doing a good deed for the world haha

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    November 13, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    There’s nothing better than recreating your favourite restaurant meals to enjoy at home! Love that you posted this so now I can try making a Chelsea friendly version with sunflower seed butter. 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 16, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Was thinking that as I was plating this recipe how great it would be with sunflower seed butter. Gonna have to try it for you 🙂

  • Reply
    She Rocks Fitness
    November 13, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    This looks so yummy and perfect for any night of the year…I have never made a buddha bowl…shame on me!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 16, 2015 at 8:15 am

      Shame on you! Kidding 😉 Now you can easily fix that!

  • Reply
    Dani @ Dani California Cooks
    November 13, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    That sauce looks suuuuper delicious!!

  • Reply
    November 13, 2015 at 10:50 am

    That sauce sounds delicious. I would totally drown roasted veggies in it.

  • Reply
    Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon
    November 13, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I distinctly remember that restaurant from my visit to Toronto based on your recommendation! It was awesome – but I’d totally rather make my own (unless it’s one of those few times a month I want to be lazy too!).

  • Reply
    November 13, 2015 at 7:23 am

    We walked by Fresh like 14 times and you told me how amazing it was. Next time I’m in town. FRESH IT UP. I’m glad you eat short grain brown rice. Not sure we could be friends if you were into that long grain shiz.

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