This easy Mexican Buddha bowl is the ultimate nourishing meal! Made with whole grain, beans, roasted peppers, avocado and a chipotle sauce, this plant-based bowl is SO delicious and easy peasy to make.
Have you noticed how Buddha bowls are everywhere now? Super popular in health focused restaurants and on the Internet (yes, pointing at you Pinterest), it just seems like Buddha bowls are now the way to go.
And no wonder why: they are super healthy, filled with attractive colorful ingredients, varied in texture, and well, quite delicious. But, I believe Buddha bowls get all of our attention mostly from being SO easy to make: a few simple ingredients combined in a bowl and BOOM, you got the coolest lunch in town.
They also became super famous for being one of the best plant-based meals you can prepare ahead and for being extra versatile. Buddha bowls are meant to be fun and casual, can help you get accustomed to cooking more and handling new ingredients on top of keeping you on a healthy path.
So here is a delicious and simple Mexican style Buddha bowl. It is nourishing, satisfying and filled with grains, black beans, vegetables and a delicious smoky sauce. I hope you like it!
What are Buddha bowls?
You might have been eating Buddha bowls quite often already, without giving your meal this specific name. A Buddha bowl is a very simple bowl usually consisting of whole grains, vegetables, sauces or dressings, leafy greens, etc. It often does not follow a specific recipe but rather is a gathering of nourishing ingredients combined together in a bowl.
The relation to Buddha might come from historical description of what Buddha would eat, or instead how or when he would eat it. Just as Katherine Sacks explains it in this 2107 Epicurious article, Buddha would walk around in his village and gather together in a bowl what villagers had to offer him (which was usually simple and healthy ingredients they would harvest themselves). He would then eat later in the day what was in that bowl, thus the name of Buddha bowl is now given to these gathering of beautiful food in a bowl.
Ingredients for Mexican Buddha bowl
There are 3 parts making this buddha bowl:
- Whole grains. In this case, I chose brown rice. You can also make it with a vegan Mexican rice for even more flavor!
- Vegetables and beans. A combination of black beans, corn, red pepper, onions and avocado.
- Sauce and toppings. This vegan chipotle mayo is great to match the Mexican flavors from this bowl. Also, generously top with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges. If you prefer, top your bowl with a vegan avocado crema, high-protein guacamole or a tofu sour cream!
How to make a Mexican Buddha bowl
Making a buddha bowl is no secret, prepare all the ingredients and gather in the bowl. There is no going wrong and you can pretty much do whatever you want and it will still turn out delish. But here is how I make it:
- Start by roasting the peppers in the oven. This will take about 20-25 minutes, which will allow you to do everything else during that time. Once the peppers are cooked (they might look a little burnt, this is what you want!), transfer them, while still being really hot, in a container and seal it. Let the peppers steam for a few minutes. When ready to build your bowl, take the peppers out of the container and remove the skin simply by pulling on it. Discard the skin and roughly chop the roasted peppers.
- While the peppers are cooking, cook the brown rice and make the chipotle sauce. You can easily make them ahead and store in the fridge until ready to eat, which can save you time when ready to eat.
- When everything is mostly cooked, prepare all the other ingredients. Simply warm up the drained black bean and frozen corn together. Then, dice the onion and avocado. Clean and prepare the cilantro. Slice the lime.
- When ready to eat, build your buddha bowl. In 2-3 bowls, distribute the brown rice and top with the black bean-corn mixture and the chopped red pepper. Garnish with the fresh ingredients: avocado, cilantro, red onion and lime. And for the final touch: add a generous dollop of the chipotle mayo sauce.
The secret to make this bowl quick and easy is to meal-prep ahead of time as much as you can. The rice, sauce and peppers can all be done before meal time and even days ahead, this will save you so much time!
Watch how to make it
Variations to this healthy plant-based bowl recipe
What's so great about buddha bowls is that you don't really have to be very disciplined when making them. Use what you've got, adjust to your taste and make this healthy vegan bowl yours!
But here are variation ideas for this bowl:
- Change up the grains: quinoa, buckwheat, farro and barley would also work great.
- Switch up the vegetables: roast sweet potatoes, white potatoes or carrots in place of the red pepper. You can also add any wilted leafy greens (such as spinach, collard green or kale), add roasted spicy poblano peppers or top with zesty Mexican pickled onions.
- Use a different sauce: it goes without saying that you need a sauce or dressing to make all the ingredients come together. I love how the chipotle mayo blends with the Mexican-inspired ingredients in this bowl. But, if you are not into smoky flavors, then try a white queso, vegan rotel dip, creamy pesto sauce, vegan avocado crema, buffalo sauce. If in the summer, you could top your bowl with a fresh peach salsa, pineapple pico de gallo or an avocado green goddess dressing. Or simply use your favorite dressing!
In any cases, pair your Mexican bowl with this delicious Horchata!
Other plant-based bowls you might like
- Portobello poke bowl
- Teriyaki cauliflower Buddha bowl
- Miso tempeh noodle bowl
- Savory breakfast quinoa bowl
- Vegan fajita bowls
- Quinoa poke bowl with tomato tuna
- BBQ chickpea bowls
- Vegan green nourish bowl
- Greek tofu buddha bowl
- Falafel buddha bowl
- Tofu buddha bowl
- Baked tofu teriyaki buddha bowl
- Vegan taco bowl
I hope you enjoy this Mexican buddha bowl as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Mexican Buddha Bowl
- 2 red peppers
- 15 oz canned black bean - rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup cooked brown rice - or other whole grain
- 1 avocado - diced
- ½ red onion - finely diced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro - chopped
- 1 fresh lime - sliced in wedges
- 1 batch vegan chipotle cashew mayo - (see instructions)
- If not already done, cook the rice and make the chipotle mayo sauce.
- Pre-heat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the peppers in half and remove their seeds. Lay the peppers (cut side down) on the baking sheet on cook in the oven for 20 minutes. The peppers will darken and look burnt when done, this is what you are looking for! Then, use thongs to transfer the peppers to a sealed bag or air-tight container and let the peppers steam for a few minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
- After the pepper steamed for a few minutes, take them out of the container or bag and remove their skin using your hand simply by peeling on it. It does not need to be perfect, just remove as much skin as you can (the skin should peel right off easily). Dice the pepper into bite sized pieces.
- Using the microwave or a pan on the stove, warm up the black bean and corn together.
- Between 2 bowls, distribute the rice, black bean-corn mixture, diced red pepper, diced avocado, red onion and fresh cilantro. Generously drizzle the cashew chipotle sauce over the bowls and serve with the lime wedges.