Spicy BBQ Buddha Bowl

Buddha bowls can be considered the “poster child” of whole-food, plant-based meals.  Their colorful pictures are all over Instagram and Pinterest, and I have been wanting to make one for some time now.

Sure, we eat plenty of meals that essentially qualify as a Buddha bowl, but I had never gone about with the specific intention of creating one.  So, now you’re asking, “What is a Buddha bowl, exactly?”  Buddha bowls (so named because some say it looks like a little Buddha belly in the bowl) have many incarnations but they all have four main components: a grain (often rice or quinoa), a protein (often a type of bean), a variety of vegetables, and a sauce.  A successful Buddha bowl is full of colorful vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods.

For this bowl, I wanted to use bbq chickpeas and allowed the recipe to evolve from there.  To be fair, some may disagree that this is a true Buddha bowl because of the bbq sauce, since it is a processed food, but I’m not going to fuss over that.  Call it whatever you like–I’m calling it a Buddha bowl!  I like using a mix of quinoa (just because it is so pretty) and I wanted to use some of the fresh kale from our garden.  My wonderful Chris, made up a red cabbage slaw to go with it to add more color and a nice crunch!  It all came together nicely to make a tasty, filling, and healthy meal!  Enjoy!

BBQ buddha bowl 2

Spicy BBQ Buddha Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Print


  • 1 c mixed quinoa
  • 6 large leaves of kale
  • 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small sweet white onion
  • 1 c bbq sauce
  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 c chopped matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 c diced white onion
  • 1/2 c (packed) chopped, fresh kale
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 c cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, wedged


1. Mix together the sauce ingredients. Place chickpeas in an airtight container and cover with the sauce. Mix and place in the refrigerator and marinate for 1-7 hours (the longer the better).
2. While the chick peas are marinating, assemble the slaw. Chop cabbage, carrots, onion, and kale. Place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together water, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and seasonings. Pour liquid mixture over chopped veggies and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. After chickpeas have marinated, Chop the onion and transfer to a small sauce pan along with the chickpeas and sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring often and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions.
5. Chop the kale and place in a small sauce pan along with 1-2 tbsp water. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat (stirring occasionally) until kale starts to wilt.
6. Assemble the bowl by scooping quinoa, slaw, and wilted kale into a bowl. Then top with a scoop of chickpeas and sauce. Garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime as desired.

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6 thoughts on “Spicy BBQ Buddha Bowl

  1. This is such a perfect dish — it’s beautifully vegan and nutrient rich, and the remarkable range of colors demonstrate the presence of many varied minerals, since each mineral has a unique color 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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