Chicken Buddha Bowls are a vegan, gluten-free, low-calorie dish made with vegetables, grains, and protein.
These bowls have become so popular that they’ve even inspired their own hashtag on Twitter (#ChickendBuddhaBowl).
The term “buddha bowl” came about because it sounds like “budddy bowwwlll” (with emphasis on each syllable), which makes sense considering how much food this dish contains.
But why would anyone want to eat a bowl full of rice, veggies, and meat?
What’s in a chicken buddha bowl?
A chicken buddha bowl is made up of different ingredients, but the most common ones you will find include brown rice, beans, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, corn, and salsa.
You can also add avocado, onion, bell peppers, and more depending on what kind of taste you want from your meal.
If you prefer a lighter version of this dish, try using quinoa instead of brown rice or adding tofu to your buddha bowl to make it healthier.
Some people use ground turkey in place of chicken for an additional source of protein.
How to make a chicken buddha bowl
Chicken Buddha Bowls are simple dishes to make and require minimal preparation time.
Here’s how to prepare one:
Wash and drain your rice.
Cook your rice according to package instructions.
Prepare your toppings by chopping or slicing them into bite-sized pieces.
Add your toppings to your rice and stir until combined.
That’s all there is to it!
You can use any type of toppings you want, but if you don’t like spicy foods, you might want to tone down the heat by choosing milder sauces such as salsa or guacamole.
Where can I find a recipe for a chicken buddha bowl?
If you’re wondering where to start when trying to learn more about the dish, we recommend checking out the website Chowhound, which features thousands of different recipes.
You can search by cuisine or keyword to see if there are any recipes similar to what you’re looking for.
It also has an extensive list of ingredients, so you can easily add them to your shopping list before heading to the store.
Another option is to check out the Instagram account @the_chickenbuddhabowl, which has over 50,000 followers.
The owner of the account shares recipes, cooking tips, and behind-the-scenes footage from making her dishes, so you can learn some new techniques and get inspiration for your next big cookout.
You might be able to find a recipe for a chicken buddha bowl through a general recipe search engine.
However, most will likely only feature traditional Asian recipes.
If that doesn’t work, try searching for a specific brand name.
To find a recipe for a chicken buddha bowl, search for one of these brands:
Casa de Salsa
Lundberg Family Farms
Whole Foods Market
If you don’t see a recipe for a chicken buddha bowl listed, you can always create your own.
If you’re feeling creative, you could even attempt an alternative version of this popular dish.
How do you make a chicken buddha bowl?
There are two main components of the chicken buddha bowl: rice and vegetables.
In order to keep this dish healthy, you can swap out some or all of the rice depending on your dietary needs.
You can also choose to use any vegetable in place of the ones pictured below.
To create a chicken buddha bowl, start by preparing the rice.
Add one cup of uncooked brown rice to a medium saucepan filled with water.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the temperature to low and simmer until the rice has absorbed most of the water, about 20 minutes.
Drain the rice and set aside.
Next, prepare the vegetables.
If you’re using cauliflower, cut into florets.
For broccoli, cut into small pieces.
Cut green beans into 1/4-inch lengths.
Trim and discard the ends of carrots.
Slice red onion into rings.
Peel and chop garlic cloves.
Rinse mushrooms and remove stems.
Peel cucumber and halve lengthwise.
Remove the seeds from poblano peppers and dice them.
Dice jalapeño peppers as well.
Finely chop fresh cilantro leaves and add them to the vegetables before serving.
Once you’ve prepared the rice and vegetables, combine them in a large mixing bowl.
Stir together until everything is evenly coated in oil.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the mixture between four individual bowls, making sure each bowl has roughly an equal amount of rice and vegetables.
Now comes the fun part: layering the ingredients.
To do so, fill a third of the rice mixture in each bowl.
Then top it off with half of the vegetables and half of the remaining rice mixture.
Repeat the process once more, ending with the last layer of rice.
Top the bowls with cheese and serve with a lemon wedge.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional chicken buddha bowls, try these other recipes instead.
What are some alternative ingredients for a chicken buddha bowl?
The following is a list of ingredients you can try instead of the standard ingredients listed in many recipes.
Bean sprouts are also known as alfalfa sprouts or mung bean sprouts.
They can be found at most grocery stores or Asian markets and are available year-round.
Cauliflower is another vegetable that you can use instead of cabbage.
It can be prepared just like cabbage but has less water content than traditional cabbage.
You can find cauliflower florets in bags in your local grocery store or frozen in your freezer section.
Peas are one of the cheapest and easiest legumes you can buy.
You can find them canned at any grocery store.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables.
It is one of the healthiest vegetables you can add to your diet.
You can find broccoli cooked or raw in your local grocery store.
Carrots help give your eyesight an antioxidant boost.
They’re also rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, and potassium.
Mushrooms contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
They taste great and are especially good with soy sauce.
Spinach is high in iron, calcium, and folate.
It’s also loaded with vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin B6.
Soy sauce can add flavor and depth to dishes while adding sodium and other nutrients.
Look for organic soy sauce if possible.
Lentils are a staple in Indian cuisine, and they are packed with protein.
They are also very versatile and can be used in many different ways.
Tofu is made from soybeans and can be used instead of ground beef and pork.
It adds more moisture and texture to your dish.
Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that can be used to replace meat in any dish.
Almond milk is made from almonds and is widely used in vegan cooking.
You can substitute almond milk for regular milk in any recipe.
Cashews are rich in monounsaturated fats and are often used as a replacement for butter in baking recipes.
They can also be added to salads and stir fries.
Black beans are a staple in Mexican cuisine and are commonly used in burritos and tacos.
They are also great in soups and stews.
Rice is a staple in Asian cuisines and is often served alongside meals.
Most rice comes in white, brown, and wild varieties.
Nuts are rich in fat and calories and should be eaten in moderation.
Walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and pecans are all high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Flaxseed is a nutritious source of fiber, proteins, omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Dried fruit is usually rich in sugar, making it a bad choice to consume regularly.
However, dried fruits such as cherries, cranberries, and apricots can be used in desserts and snacks.
Ginger can be added to almost anything to add flavor, including savory dishes such as curries and stews.
Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans.
It’s commonly used in Japanese cuisine and is commonly added to soups, sauces, and dressings.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast that is rich in B vitamins and is used as a seasoning.
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that is high in vitamins K, A, and C, fiber, and phytochemicals.
Quinoa is a seed that is a complete protein and is considered a superfood.
It is also gluten free.
Green tea is a popular drink in Asia and is rich in antioxidants.
Oatmeal is a breakfast staple made from rolled oats that are ground into a flour.
Oats are also high in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels.
Garlic is a root bulb that grows underground and can be peeled and crushed to release its flavorful oils.
It can be used in soups, stews, marinades, and sauces.
Avocados are creamy and rich in healthy fats and are often used for dips and spreads.
Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable with a sweet orange flesh and are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta carotene.
How many calories are in a chicken buddha bowl?
If you think a normal bowl of stir-fry is an energy bomb, then you can imagine how many calories are in a chicken buddha bowl.
You get all those ingredients plus protein, veggies, and carbs, too.
And while there’s no one who eats this dish on a regular basis, it’s still a good idea to keep track of how many calories you consume every day.
What’s inside a chicken buddha bowl?
Each chicken buddha bowl includes two main components:
Most people choose to add some type of protein to their chicken buddha bowls.
There are a few options available:
But you don’t need to include any of these proteins if you don’t want to.
The beauty of this dish is that you can mix and match as much or as little as you want without sacrificing flavor.
If you’re trying to lose weight, though, you may want to stick with tofu or seitan since both contain less fat than other proteins.
Calories in a chicken buddha bowl
Since there are so many possible combinations of ingredients, it’s difficult to give a specific calorie count for a single serving.
But here’s what I’d estimate based on my experience making several different types of buddha bowls:
A basic chicken buddha bowl will contain around 350 calories per serving.
Adding a cup of rice adds another 100 calories.
Adding a cup of quinoa adds another 50 calories.
Adding a cup of beans adds another 75 calories.
Adding a tablespoon of olive oil adds another 20 calories.
Adding a teaspoon of chili flakes adds another 10 calories.
Adding a handful of almonds adds another 30 calories.
So, at least in theory, a chicken buddha bowl should be considered a light meal for most people.
However, if you already follow a strict diet plan, you might consider adding more whole grains, beans, and nuts to increase your daily intake of nutrients.
Or you could just skip the rice and use quinoa instead.
Is a chicken buddha bowl healthy?
It turns out that the answer is yes.
The combination of all those ingredients can be very beneficial to your health and well-being.
For one thing, the protein from the chickpeas and quinoa will help you feel fuller longer, and the vegetables will fill you up while also providing important nutrients.
Additionally, eating a lot of fiber will help lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, and prevent heart disease.
Plus, the plant-based protein will keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than if you were just eating meat.
Here’s how to make a chicken buddha bowl:
Start by cooking brown rice or any other grain of choice.
You can cook it without salt, but adding some extra salt will enhance its flavor.
Next, chop up some fresh veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, onion, mushrooms, and/or zucchini.
If you don’t have them already, buy yourself some pre-shredded cheese and shredded lettuce to add to your bowl.
Now, prepare your protein source of choice.
It can be cooked in a variety of ways, including searing, baking, pan-frying, grilling, broiling, steaming, smoking, or roasting.
For example, if you go with chicken breast, you could bake it, grill it, or roast it.
You can also use ground turkey, pork chops, beef steak, or shrimp.
Once your protein source has been prepared, you can start building your bowl.
Add your grain, veggies, and protein, and top it off with more shredded cheese and lettuce leaves.
Finally, stir everything together before serving.
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large red onion, diced
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 c Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 cups cooked brown rice
1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 cups baby spinach
1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 tsp toasted sesame seed
Preheat oven to 425°.
On a large baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
Bake until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium- high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
Season chicken with garlic powder, ginger, salt, and pepper.
Cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side.
Let rest 10 minutes, then slice.
In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, and honey.
Whisk in sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth.
Divide rice among four bowls and top each with sweet potato mixture, chicken, avocado, and baby spinach.
Sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds and drizzle with dressing before serving.
If you’re looking for more inspiration, here are five things you need to know about the chicken buddha bowl.
What is the origin of the chicken buddha bowl?
The chicken buddha bowl was first created by Chef James Syhabout in 2017 at his restaurant, The Bird Cafe.
The concept of the dish started as an experiment where he wanted to see if he could create something different than what other restaurants were serving.
Syhabout had been working in the industry since 2004 when he opened his first restaurant, The Bird Cafe, in Washington D.C.
He’s now known for creating dishes that combine Asian flavors with American cuisine.
His specialty is using a lot of spices to give it a unique flavor profile.
He began experimenting with new ingredients and dishes after seeing them on Instagram and decided to try to incorporate them into his menu.
That’s when the chicken buddha bowl became a reality.
In addition to being a creative chef, Syhabout has also been featured on multiple cooking shows, including Top Chef Masters.
He’s won multiple awards and accolades throughout his career, including being named one of Food Network Magazine’s People To Watch in 2016 and one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs in 2015.
While many people associate the chicken buddha bowl with Chinese cuisine, it actually originated from India.
It’s been adapted into its current form by chefs who use Indian ingredients and spices.
So while the name might sound more familiar to us, the dish itself is not.
How popular is the chicken buddha bowl?
It’s hard to say exactly how many chicken buddha bowls are eaten around the world per day.
But according to a 2018 report from The Daily Meal, there were over 1 million recipes available for the dish online.
That’s a lot of people who are ordering in or going out to try this popular vegan meal.
And while you might think that most of those people are eating at home, there’s evidence that shows that this is not the case.
In fact, in 2019, the company Grubhub reported that more than half of all meals ordered through its app come from restaurants, including chicken buddha bowls.
Now, if you haven’t tried these bowls before, don’t worry—they aren’t difficult to prepare.
Here’s everything you need to know about making them at home, plus some tips to help you get started.
Chicken Buddha Bowls are vegan, but they also contain soy sauce, tamari, miso, and other ingredients that may contain animal products.
If you’re concerned about this, check the ingredient list for any possible animal products.
You can use whatever vegetables and grains you prefer. Just be sure to measure them out accurately.
For example, if you plan to make a mushroom version of the chicken buddha bowl, you should start by preparing a mixture of one cup of uncooked brown rice and two cups of water.
After cooking the rice, add in a quarter cup of sliced mushrooms and cook until tender.
Then add the cooked rice and mushrooms to a big pot along with three cups of water, two tablespoons of olive oil, and one teaspoon of salt.
Cook the mixture until it reaches the desired consistency, then remove from heat.
If you’re looking for something different, try adding avocado into your chicken buddha bowl.
You can do this by cutting an avocado in half and scooping out the flesh with a spoon.
Sprinkle the avocado with paprika and season with salt and pepper.
Add the avocado to the rice mixture when you add the mushrooms to the pot.
Don’t forget to include your favorite toppings.
We recommend topping your bowls with fresh cilantro, scallions, and sriracha, but feel free to experiment with other flavors as well.
There are lots of ways to serve chicken buddha bowls.
They can be served cold, hot, or room temperature.
Some people enjoy serving them in soup bowls, but they can also be served in individual bowls or even a large platter.
What are some creative ways to eat a chicken buddha bowl?
Chicken Buddha Bowls are an excellent way to get more vegetables into your diet.
They also provide a good amount of protein as well as fiber.
Most people who try them say they can feel full after eating one or two, so you won’t be overeating.
However, there are many different ways to prepare the same thing, so we will show you how to do it in several different styles.
You might enjoy trying something new, such as making a quinoa version, using a sweet potato instead of a carrot, or adding mango chutney.
Chicken Buddha Bowl Recipe
- 1 oven
- 1 large skillet
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large red onion diced
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil divided
- Kosher salt
- black pepper freshly ground
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 clove garlic small, minced
- 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp sesame oil toasted
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 avocado thinly sliced
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 tbsp cilantro freshly chopped, for garnish
- 1 tsp sesame seed toasted
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- On a large baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and onion with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium- high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Season chicken with garlic powder, ginger, salt, and pepper.
- Cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side.
- Let rest 10 minutes, then slice.
- In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, and honey.
- Whisk in sesame oil and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until smooth.
- Divide rice among four bowls and top each with sweet potato mixture, chicken, avocado, and baby spinach.
- Sprinkle with cilantro and sesame seeds and drizzle with dressing before serving.
- If you’re looking for more inspiration, here are five things you need to know about the chicken buddha bowl.