Man tasting soup

The Big Buddha Bowl

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What is a “Buddha Bowl”? 

A Buddha Bowl is a big bowl of deliciousness and harmony that soothes the body, quiets the mind, and welcomes the spirit to attain full enlightenment…

Ok, ok, ok…it’s really just a damn big bowl of soup or stew, and it’s the healthiest and easiest way to get essential, beneficial, and healing nutrition.

Just close your eyes and imagine a finished big Buddha bowl…

…The right balance of flavor, aroma, texture, and visual appeal. The bowl demands a memorable recipe, or at least one that is worthy of you, so let’s get started!

Where does a big Buddha bowl of goodness start? With leftovers of course!

The key to a comforting, nutritional, and cheap meal is utilizing leftovers, so I always cook more than I need when I’m gettin’ down in the kitchen (and no I don’t mean that kind of “gettin’ down”…get your heads out of the gutter).

I believe the old saying is, “get more bang for your buck” and that’s exactly what we’re doing today. With the high price of food these days, I make a concerted effort to really utilize everything I buy in order to save time and money, honey. Make the time you spend in the kitchen work for you by cooking at least two extra meals. You’ve already got everything out and dirty. You’re already doing dishes, making noise, and spreading love, so why not maximize that for easy food prep later?

You can either freeze the new leftover creation, share it with a loved one, or eat it over the next couple of days if you’re not as into cooking as I am (It’s ok, we can still be friends). Save money by eating your leftovers for lunch or dinner and skip the drive-thru, order-in, or take-out for added financial savings and improved health. Just pop the top on your leftovers and enjoy that deliciousness again…especially if you can use what you’ve got in a steaming hot Buddha bowl.

Creating That Buddha Bowl Goodness

As any good boy or girl scout knows, planning and preparation are key. Whether you’re singled or married, have two kids or ten, I know you know the benefits of planning and preparation. Now that doesn’t mean you take head of this, but at least you know how much easier it can be when you’re able to get ahead of your meals.

The pantry is the perfect place to start your Buddha bowl.

Not only does it hold all of those non-perishable staples, but its also got those mood-altering spices that will come in oh-so-handy for your Buddha bowl.

Here are some great Buddha Bowl ingredient “must-haves” you can pull from your pantry…

  • Whole grains like oats, farro, barley, millet, brown rice, bulgar, buckwheat, couscous, or whatever tickles your fancy. I like to get these organic when I can, but if you can’t find them, or if you’re watching your wallet, conventional is fine.
  • Beans such as garbanzo beans, lentils, white beans, adzuki bean, pinto, kidney, black, navy, lima (or butter) beans, or any other bean that makes your taste buds bust. Canned or dry is up to you!
  • Fruit and veggies like tomatoes, mandarin oranges, apples, cranberries, apricots, dates, raisins, corn, green beans, peas, or any all natural earth food. These can be bought and/or stored dried, canned, or frozen.
  • Dried pasta that can handle a good foundation of protein and enriched food items. Get silly with fusilli, bendy with elbow, bold with rigatoni, or the shape of your choice. Choose whole grain, enriched, vegetable based, whatever…remember, it’s YOUR Buddha bowl so make it your own!

Combo these pantry pieces with leftover meat, fish, or poultry, veggies, beans, or pasta and some stock or broth and you’ve got yourself a bowl!

Now that we’ve discussed how to make a Buddha bowl, let’s talk about what exactly soup is.

What is Soup Anyway? No Seriously…

The classification of “soup” includes any of the following:

  • Clear broth
  • Consommé (A clear broth with a full flavor, that’s used egg whites to remove impurities like fat and sediment.)
  • Cream soup
  • Bisque (A thick creamy soup made with shellfish or game.)
  • Chowder (Another thick creamy soup that uses cream or milk as the thickening agent.)
  • Gumbo
  • Stew

As you can see, there are a variety of soup possibilities, and that’s what makes it such a fun dish to master. It’s hard to go wrong, but it’s incredibly easily to bust out a soup that will impress any guest or picky family member.

Plug and Play Buddha Bowls

Stewing, which falls under the umbrella of braising in The Fabulous Five, is the cooking method used for all soups. It is a long, slow method of cooking where food is cut into small pieces, sautéed, then finished in the minimum amount of simmering liquid, water, stock, or thickening sauce. The food and the simmering liquid are served together.

To put it more basically…

All you have to do to get your Buddha bowl going is pick solid foods from the pantry, sauté as necessary any meat, veggies, or fruit, combine with beans and pasta or whole grains, and get everyone in the pot with some stock or broth and let the flavors meld as the aroma floods your home.

Poof!

You’ve got a Buddha bowl all your own packed full of the nutritious, heart warming, heat feeding foods your body wants.

Need some help? No worries, that’s what I’m here for!

  • Italian Peasant Soup combines leftover (or fresh) pieces of chicken, garbanzo beans, Swiss chard, mushrooms, peas, corn, carrots, celery, onions, herbs, spices, and rich chicken stock simmered to perfection.
  • Flat Fork Farm’s Texas Style Beef Chili takes hearty pieces of beef (leftover or fresh), chilies, onions, poblano peppers, spices, and herbs and simmers those ingredients in beef stock before thickening the dish with masa.
  • Chicken Curry is another go-to that uses pieces of leftover or fresh chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots, onions, chilies, Indian spices, and herbs simmered in chicken stock and thicken with coconut milk.

Ugh…my mouth is watering. One moment while I wipe the saliva…

Ok, better. Now…

Let’s Chat!

Have you ever made a Buddha bowl? If so, what are your go-to ingredients to toss in the pot? Please share with the rest of the jungle in the comments section below or on my Facebook page, Chef Gerrie’s Chef Jungle.

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