Life has been particularly busy for us over the past few weeks. Spring is in full force and we are having a hard time getting inside the apartment before the sunsets. As Vancouverites, we are lucky enough to live in moderate temperatures all year around, which allows us to play outside even into the winter months. We also happen to have the North Shore Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at our doorstep – two amazing playgrounds for the two of us to explore. But as the days get longer and the temperature starts to rise, we find that we’re pushing off dinner until we are both starving, in order to squeeze in a few more minutes soaking up the rays.
Spring also seems to bring along brighter moods around the neighbourhood and colourful dishes in the kitchen. One of our favourite meals to make in our home has been dubbed the Buddha Bowl. Inspired by many rice and noodle bowls served around Vancouver, we have settled on a few favourite sauces that we freeze in small batches so that we can make a quick meal on any given night. As you may have guessed by the beginning of this post, Buddha bowls seem to be making more appearances lately at our dinner table. The best thing about this bowl is that you can throw in just about any veggie you have in the fridge and add it as a tasty addition to the bowl, raw or cooked. This bowl also allows us to switch up the protein source and the starch, thereby creating a completely different meal every time.
We have tried many dressings from different cookbooks and food blogs. I think we have finally decided on our favourite peanut dressing by combining different components from several recipes. Below you’ll find the peanut dressing recipe, as well as a loose recipe to help you create your own personalized bowl. Don’t hesitate to get creative (or throw in anything that’s about to go off in your crisper)!
Buddha Bowl with Peanut Dressing
Author: Home Grown Life Prep time for sauce: 5 minutes Yields approximately 2 cups of sauce
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce OR tamari
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ cup boiling water OR coconut milk
Juice from ½ lemon OR lime
Choose your starch: rice/udon/soda noodles, rice, quinoa
Choose your protein: extra-firm tofu, chicken, beef, shrimp, fish, edamame - Sprinkle with Chinese five-spice* and stir-fry in sesame oil.
Choose your veggies: shredded carrots/cucumbers/cabbage, thinly sliced red bell peppers, leafy greens, steamed broccoli/green beans
Choose your toppings: basil, mint, cilantro, peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, green onions, bean sprouts, pea shoots
1. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together until the consistency is smooth and cohesive. Add more water or coconut milk if you prefer a thinner sauce.
2. Create your bowl by picking a starch as your base, beefing it up with a protein, and completing the meal with a huge handful of your favourite veggies. Don’t forget to garnish your Buddha bowl with a good helping of toppings. Once it’s assembled, pour the peanut dressing over the bowl and enjoy!
*Chinese five-spice: A spice mixture of five spices. You can buy it at any grocery store or make it on your own. There are many variants, but a common mixture is star anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and fennel.