These plant-powered buddha bowls are packed with nutrient-dense nourishing foods, including a sweet and slightly spicy mango tempeh.
Despite temps rising to the 80’s here in New York this week, I’m pretty sure it’s October, which means we are still celebrating Vegetarian Awareness Month. This month’s Recipe Redux theme of Plant Protein Power Bowls fits right into that celebration, highlighting plant-based bowls that are packed with protein, fiber and color.
I’m a big fan of these types of meals for many reasons. For one, I’m team plant-based all the way. I’m not saying everyone should eliminate all animal products, but emphasizing plant foods is a win for your health, the environment and your wallet. Also, plant-powered plates (or bowls) tend to be packed with lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. <—-dietitian alert! And finally, you get to create flavorful and fun combos that help eliminate boredom at mealtimes.
It was tough for me to settle on one single recipe for a plant-powered bowl, so I opted to create a “buddha bowl” and share my recipe for the Mango Tempeh Crumbles within that bowl! We’ll get to that recipe, but first things first…
What THE HECK is a buddha bowl?
As I learned it, a buddha bowl is simply a nourishing way to fill up your belly and your soul (hence the Buddha reference). While there is no standard definition or recipe for buddha bowls, they usually contain complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats—a winning combo in my book! Often vegetarian, buddha bowls feature a variety of textures and flavors and may be topped off with a sweet or spicy sauce or dressing.
How to create a buddha bowl:
- Find a bowl. For us hippies, this is often a beautiful, special-in-some-way bowl that brings you peace and happiness. For the average joe, it’s just a vessel to eat food out of. 😉
- Start with some greens. Layer the bottom of the bowl with your favorite green veggie (kale, spinach, collards, etc)–raw or cooked.
- Add protein. Scroll down to get the recipe for my Mango Tempeh Crumbles, but the protein could also be tofu, beans, nuts or seeds. Meat-eaters, you can still partake in the buddha bowl fun—just opt for chicken, turkey or anything you might have prepped.
- Go for some grains (or starches). Add in quinoa, brown rice, barley, farro, sweet potatoes, or whatever starchy/grainy food is calling your name.
- Top it off. Many people use sauces or dressings, but you can also do sliced avocado or sprinkle nuts or seeds as the finishing touches on your bowl.
For my buddha bowl, I chose steamed kale, red quinoa, roasted sweet potatoes and my Mango Tempeh crumbles, topped with sliced avocado. If you can, prep each of the components during weekly meal prep so you’ll have them ready to go for quick, well-balanced lunches or weeknight dinners. When it comes time to eat, everything gets tossed into a bowl and voila! Of course, you can take the time to style your bowl for an Instagram-worthy shot, but that will delay getting to dig in to your delicious creation.
I prepared the tempeh in a sweet mango marinade with a little spicy kick that comes from garlic and red chili pepper flakes. I also added turmeric, which amplifies the pretty yellow color of the mango and has anti-inflammatory benefits. Mango and a pinch of brown sugar lend sweetness, but if you’re a big fan of spice, feel free to increase the chili pepper in this recipe to balance it out even more.
- 2 8-oz blocks tempeh
- 2 mangoes, peeled and chopped
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- In a food processor or blender, add mango, olive oil, garlic, turmeric, brown sugar, sea salt and red chili pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined.
- Pour mango mixture into a large ziploc bag or bowl. Use your hands to crumble the tempeh blocks directly into the bag/bowl. Toss mixture together until tempeh is evenly coated.
- Place in refrigerator and let marinate for at least 3 hours.
- When you’re ready to cook tempeh, preheat oven to 375*F and spread tempeh mixture onto a baking sheet.
- Bake tempeh for 30 minutes, or until crumbles begin to appear slightly crunchy.
- Marinated Mango Tempeh Can be used in plant-powered bowls, as a filling for tacos or mix with veggies for a stirfry.