Power Bowls: Fast, Easy, & Healthy Meals

Buddha Bowls are fast, easy, and healthy meals

Power (Buddha) bowls are easy to prepare and the recipes are flexible—use whatever is in your refrigerator or pantry.

If you are looking for a healthy meal that can be made quickly, consider putting together a Power bowl (also known as a Buddha bowl). They’re easy to prepare and the recipes are flexible, so you can use whatever is already in your refrigerator or pantry.

A Power bowl is a combination of grains such as rice, proteins like beans and tofu, and vegetables in a single bowl. Toppings such as salsa, spices, and dressings add flavor and color. Many are vegetarian, but meat can be added too. They can be eaten warm or chilled.

Where the Name Comes From

Buddha bowls are a hot healthy eating trend, popularized by photos on Pinterest and other social media. Where does the name come from? Martha Stewart first used the term in her 2013 book Meatless. Before that, they were known as Hippie bowls, macro bowls, or grain bowls. Martha probably got her inspiration from the story of Buddha, the religious leader and teacher who lived in ancient India. For his meals, Buddha would carry a bowl which villagers would fill with whatever bits of vegetarian foods they could share. 

How to Make Yours

To make a modern Power bowl, you can roast some of your favorite vegetables such as sweet potatoes and broccoli, says Kate Myerson, a registered dietitian and nutritionist who lives in Waterbury. Roast them in a 400 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes with either canola or olive oil (but not extra virgin olive oil, as it tends to smoke at higher temperatures).

While the veggies are roasting, combine grains, black beans, and avocado in your bowl. Tofu is a great addition, but if you are new to tofu, Kate recommends buying a little of the kind that’s already seasoned or marinated to try it out first. A hardboiled egg can be another good protein to add.

Add the roasted veggies to your bowl and then top with seasonings or dressing. Kate says it’s OK to use shortcuts such as prepared dressings (in moderation) to make the Power bowls a fast and easy meal. Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days, and unused ingredients can be frozen.

For a Mexican themed bowl, check out this short video of Kate preparing one in her kitchen. We hope you’ll try making one of these Power bowls, or experiment to create your own favorites.

Power/Buddha Bowl Suggestions From Kate Myerson, Registered Dietitian

Ingredients Options Amount Shortcuts & Tips
Grain (pick 1)
  • Brown Rice 
  • Quinoa 
  • Couscous
  • Farro
  • Wild rice
1 cup per serving
  • Look for brown rice that has already been cooked in a packet that you can simply microwave, or frozen rice you can microwave. 
  • You can also make a large batch of your grain and freeze extra in ice cube trays for even easier prep next time.
Protein (pick 2)
  • Tofu
  • Chickpeas or other bean
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Veggie burger
  • Leftover meat
4 oz. tofu or meat and ½ cup beans
  • Look for already marinated baked tofu in the refrigerated section near the plain tofu. 
  • Tofu freezes well if you don’t want to use it all at once.
  • Beans freeze well too, freeze them in ice cube trays. 
  • Store hard boiled eggs either in the shell or peeled in a container of water for 3-5 days. 
Veggie (pick 2 or more)
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Roasted squash
  • Roasted broccoli/cauliflower 
  • Sautéed greens or cabbage
  • Raw greens like spinach
  • Raw shredded carrots, cucumber and/or cherry tomato
  • Corn, tomato, (black bean from above) for Mexican flavor
  • Canned/jarred olives, beets and/or artichoke hearts

½ cup for roasted veggies or jarred/canned

1 cup for raw veggies 

  • Cook once, eat twice. Roast veggies for dinner and save some for this dish.
  • Use your favorite raw veggies or the canned or jarred veggies if you’re short on time.
Dressing (pick 1)
  • Your favorite salad dressing
  • Peanut dressing
  • Green goddess
  • Siracha
To taste When trying a new recipe, sometimes it’s easiest to stick with something you already know like a dressing you like. Other times, you may be feeling adventurous and want to try something new. Trust your gut, as this should feel fun and not stressful.
Topping (pick 1 or more)
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Slivered almonds, walnuts, chopped peanuts, sesame seeds
  • Herbs- basil or cilantro or dill
To taste Optional