Ask a family of four to each list their top-five favorite foods, and chances are you’ll get close to 20 different answers. That’s why build-your-own meals work wonders when the dinner bell rings. They are customizable.
One the easiest make-your-own meals is Buddha bowls. All it takes is a medley of nourishing ingredients including your favorite protein-packed food, a whole grain, lots of vegetables, and of course, avocado. For this recipe (and I use the term loosely because Buddha bowls are really more of a concept), I used convenient, tear-and-go pouches of StarKist Chicken Creations, quinoa, and a variety of vegetables — English cucumber, chickpeas, tomatoes, basil, carrots, roasted Brussels sprouts, and arugula. The goal with this easy-does-it dinner bar is to let everyone pick and choose the ingredients THEY want to add to THEIR bowl.
I received compensation from StarKist for creating this recipe and post. All opinions are my own.
The inspiration for this Buddha Bowl recipe came to me last month when I attended the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Washington, DC. As I walked around the Expo hall in search of healthy new food trends for your family and mine, I stopped by the StarKist booth to meet with Laura Ali, their very own Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Laura and I talked about how StarKist has provided busy consumers with on-the-go meal and snack solutions for years with their salmon and tuna pouches, and how they recently introduced chicken to their lineup of pouches. I had an opportunity to sample their four NEW Chicken Creations flavors — BOLD Buffalo Style, Chicken Salad, Ginger Soy, and Zesty Lemon Pepper — and after trying and loving all of them, I came up with this Buddha bowl idea.
If I had to pick a favorite flavor, it would have to be Zesty Lemon Pepper, so that’s the pouch I used when building my Buddha bowl. But that’s just me. If you’re in the mood for something with some heat, choose Buffalo Style. Hungry for something more traditional and on the mild side? Go with Chicken Salad.
The vegetables I set out for these build-your-own Buddha bowls were arugula, thinly sliced English cucumbers, halved tomatoes mixed with olive oil and fresh basil, roasted Brussels sprouts, shredded carrots, and chickpeas. For my whole grain, I cooked up a cup of quinoa, and I also set out slices of luscious avocado. My salad dressing was whipped up quickly with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, chopped shallot, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, and kosher salt and pepper. To make this meal even easier, use your favorite bottled salad dressing.
What would a Buddha bowl be without avocado?
by give you creative license to use my recipe as inspiration for your dinner tonight by trying different combinations of ingredients based on your family’s preferences. Set out a variety of Chicken Creations pouches so everyone can pick their favorite. (If you have teens at your table, don’t be surprised it they take two pouches.) As for grains and veggies, the sky is really the limit. Have fun. Play. And enjoy.
Buddha Bowls = A world of flavors, textures, protein power, and nutrition possibilities!
Other vegetable and whole grain ideas to try: Roasted sweet potatoes; roasted broccoli florets; shredded purple cabbage; kale; shelled edamame; sliced radishes; diced bell peppers; brown rice; wild rice; and farro.
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half, lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa
- 4 pouches StarKist Chicken Creations (choose a variety of flavors)
- Shredded carrots
- English cucumber, cut into thin half moons
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- A few cups arugula
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Fresh basil, cut into ribbons
- 1 to 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and sliced
- To roast the Brussels sprouts, preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly oil or coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. For easier clean up, line the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the Brussels sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil and the salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on the baking sheet and bake about 25 minutes, until tender and caramelized. Toss every 10 minutes to ensure even roasting. When done, set aside.
- Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Transfer the cooked grains to a bowl and toss to cool.
- Set out your build-your-own Buddha bowl ingredients including 4 (or more) pouches of StarKist Chicken Creations, the cooked Brussels sprouts, cooked quinoa, shredded carrots, cucumber, chickpeas, arugula, tomatoes (I like to toss the tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil and kosher salt), and sliced avocado.
- Create your own Buddha bowl.
- See NOTE for salad dressing instructions.
1/4 to ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, ½ to 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and kosher salt and pepper to taste.
What are some of your favorite Buddha bowl ingredients? Have you tried StarKist Chicken Creations yet? If so, what’s your favorite flavor.