Lay off the mayo with some heart healthy avocado! Try my new recipe for this Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad at your next cookout! Hold the Mayo… When it comes to our favorite side dishes at summer cookouts, we mostly think of creamy coleslaw, potato […]
Want to get more balance in your diet? This simple 3-step Mediterranean buddha bowl is bursting with colorful vegetables, healthy proteins and fats, and filling whole grains!
The name is catchy, but really what is a buddha bowl? This dish got its name because it is overstuffed with healthy foods, which resembles a “round belly” look. Buddha bowls, also known as Hippie bowls, are simply bowls balanced with healthy grains, protein, fat, and vegetables. These bowls are basically a “melting pot” for your favorite nutritious foods!
In just three steps…
Make your own version at home in three easy steps. Talk about easy!
- Choose your whole grain or starch
The options are endless! For example, you could choose brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes, just to name a few. For this recipe, I chose quinoa (pronounced either as keen-wah or kee-no-ah) for its high fiber and protein content. Don’t let the silly name throw you off, it is easy to make and extremely versatile. Did I forget to say it is also delicious?
2. Add in a lean protein and favorite vegetables of choice
Again, the varieties here are never ending. Ideally, you should choose a protein with less saturated fats, such as legumes, lean cut meat, or seafood. For this mediterranean Buddha Bowl, I chose chickpeas and accompanied it with roasted red peppers, fresh kale, roasted eggplant, and green olives. Choose your favorite vegetable and try roasting it for even more flavor!
3. Top it with a healthy fat
Topping these healthy bowls with a dressing really ties everything together nicely. For fun, try avocado, tahini, or yogurt toppings. I combined avocado and yogurt, which adds creaminess. If you prefer no dressing, top the bowl with nuts or seeds for a source of healthy fats.
Adding heart healthy olive oil into your dressing or marinade is also an excellent way to sneak in healthy fats. I used olive oil for a chickpea marinade and roasting the eggplant. You should try to use a high quality olive oil. Some olive oils go through a chemical refining process with poor quality olives while others even dilute olive oil with other types of oils. To make sure you are not getting scammed look out for poor quality olive oils labeled “pure olive oil” or just “olive oil”, and those in clear or plastic bottles that are easily exposed to light.
A new favorite!
One excellent brand of olive oil I have newly discovered is I Love Aceite. This company based in Boulder (also in California and Texas) values good quality extra virgin olive oil and never uses chemical processing or deodarization! I met Oscar Sanchez, the CEO of I Love Aceite, while networking in the Boulder foodie scene. He was so pleasant and could not have been more passionate about his olive oil products. His mission is to deliver the highest quality olive oil directly from Spain to the U.S. food market and our homes. Not only is the packaging beautiful, but the olive oil was so amazing I used it alone on top of my kale and mixed green salads! Even better, they can ship to your home with an option for a monthly subscription. You no longer have to worry about getting “false” olive oil at the stores any more!
Disclaimer: I received free samples of the I Love Aceite olive oils mentioned in this post. I was not compensated for this blog post.
These ingredients can be made ahead of time and used for other meals during the week. Use the extra chickpeas on a salad and extra quinoa in a soup, salad, or stir fry. The toppings are extremely versatile! If you prefer other vegetables than eggplant, feel free to roast them for extra flavor. Additional toppings used in this bowl were raw kale, roasted red peppers, and green olives.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (split between the eggplant and chickpeas)
- 1 large eggplant, skin removed and cubed
- 1 15 ounce can low sodium chickpeas
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or juice of half lemon)
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic (about 1-2 garlic cloves)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup low fat Feta, crumbled
- Optional Toppings: sliced kale or spinach, roasted red peppers, olives, feta cheese
- Avocado Dressing:
- 1 medium, ripe avocado, pit removed
- 1/4 c plain yogurt
- 1-2 T lemon juice (or juice of remaining lemon half)
- 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
- optional add ins: basil, additional tablespoon of olive oil, red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Prepare the eggplant for roasting by tossing with olive oil and seasonings (pepper, italian seasoning, garlic powder optional). If using a pinch of salt, top it after cooking to prevent further moisture loss of the eggplant.
- Roast the eggplant for 20-30 minutes or until browning occurs.
- While the eggplant cooks, prepare the quinoa and water in a medium pot to boiling, then simmer covered for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
- While the eggplant and quinoa cooks, marinate the chickpeas with the lemon juice (half of lemon), garlic, shallots, and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
- One the quinoa and eggplant are done. Place the quinoa in the bottom of a large bowl and fill the top with the eggplant, chickpeas, and desired additional toppings. Drizzle the avocado dressing on top.
- Avocado Dressing:
- Place all of the listed ingredients for the dressing in a food processor or high powered blender. Blend or pulse until all ingredients are mixed to a smooth consistency.