Sesame Asian Buddha Bowl with Peanut Sauce & Brown Rice – Vegan Buddha Bowl Meal Prep Ideas
Pack more plant-based power into your day with these Buddha bowl meal prep lunches! Savory, sesame Asian Buddha bowls with brown rice, roasted vegetables and chickpeas, all drizzled in a delicious peanut sauce.
I went with roasted butternut squash, red onion, and Brussels sprouts for my Buddha bowl meal prep lunches, but you can use any veggies you like. This Asian Buddha bowl recipe is just one possible vegan lunch idea. Change up the ingredients and flavorings to make your own!
All you have to do is roast your favorite veggies and plant-based protein on meal prep day, and serve with the whole grain or starch of your choosing. You can make your own Buddha bowl sauce if you like, or use a store-bought dressing for convenience.
I’ll show you how to make Asian Buddha bowl meal prep lunches, along with my homemade Buddha bowl peanut sauce. Plus, I’ll share some customization ideas that you can use to change things up and create new meals!
Easy Vegan Buddha Bowl Ingredients
If you’ve ever wondered, “what is a Buddha bowl anyway?” it’s simple: a deliciously balanced, plant-based bowl of harmony! Now, that may not be the official definition, but it captures the idea.
A vegan Buddha bowl is built around a balance of foods, nutrients, and colors. The aim is to get a few bites of multiple different things, but not too much of any one thing!
Generally, a Buddha bowl consists of a few basic components:
- Vegetables (and sometimes fruit)
- A plant-based protein source
- A whole grain or starchy base
- Sauce/dressing and toppings
Of course, all of these components are totally customizable! Try out different Buddha bowl meal prep ideas and build the lunches that YOU want to eat. To get you started, here are my Asian Buddha bowl recipe ingredients:
Buddha Bowl Vegetables
For this particular set of Buddha bowl meal prep lunches, I roasted up a trio of my favorite veggies: Brussels sprouts, red onion, and butternut squash. A lovely variety of nutrients, colors, and flavors!
Roasted with simple salt and pepper, they turn out tender and delicious. And, I love that I can toss them all into the oven together at the same time—along with my plant-based protein!
Plant Based Protein
The plant-based protein I chose for this Asian Buddha bowl is roasted chickpeas. Super simple to cook and budget friendly, especially if you opt for canned chickpeas. You’re welcome to cook the chickpeas yourself, but I prefer canned for convenience.
Simply drain and rinse canned chickpeas, then pat dry with paper towels before roasting. This will help them to crisp up more in the oven giving your healthy Buddha bowl some fun crunch and texture variety!
Whole Grain Base
As with all of your Buddha bowl meal prep components, the whole grain or starch is totally up to you. To keep with the Asian Buddha bowl concept, and to keep my meal prep simple, I’m serving everything over brown rice!
Brown rice lasts well for meal prep and is very simple to cook. (Even more so when I opt for frozen brown rice that I can cook in the microwave in minutes!)
Asian Buddha Bowl Peanut Sauce & Toppings
Finally, the last components of my Buddha bowl meal prep lunches are the sauce and toppings! You don’t need to add a sauce or toppings—you could just season your veggies and protein to add flavor.
I decided to serve this Asian Buddha bowl with peanut sauce for some flavorful flare, which is super simple to make. Simply whisk together peanut butter (or the nut butter of your choice) with sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, lime juice, and a bit of garlic and onion powder. The result is a deliciously savory, subtly sweet, super EASY sauce that I can use throughout the week!
Again, feel free to skip the sauce, or use a store-bought sauce that you like if it’s more convenient. Another option to consider: try serving the same Buddha bowl ingredients just with different sauces throughout the week! A super simple swap that can add variety to your meals.
Finish it all off with any toppings you like on the day of eating—which is almost always avocado for me! It adds some cool, creamy goodness to my Buddha bowl meal prep lunches, but it’s best to hold off on slicing it until the day of eating.
How to Make a Buddha Bowl
I designed this Asian Buddha bowl meal prep lunch to be as streamlined as possible in terms of prep work. There’s not much too it! Simply roast your veggies and protein in the oven, while your brown rice cooks on the stove or in the microwave.
First, line two sheet pans with parchment or foil. Since we’re making Buddha bowl meal prep lunches for the week, you’ll probably need two pans! Once you’ve chopped your vegetables and patted your canned chickpeas dry, add them to the pans with oil and seasonings. Pop those in the oven at 425°F (220°C) for 30-40 minutes.
In the meantime, you can cook your brown rice! Conveniently, brown rice takes just about the same amount of time to cook on the stove. Or, you can take the easier (and my preferred) route: buy frozen brown rice that cooks in 3-4 minutes in the microwave.
Last but not least, whisk together your Buddha bowl sauce and store in the fridge. You can store your sauce in a bottle to use throughout the week, or distribute into smaller containers if you plan to pack lunches to take on-the-go.
Storing Buddha Bowl Meal Prep Lunches for the Week
To store these healthy Buddha bowl lunches for meal prep, portion your brown rice into individual-serving containers, followed by the roasted veggies. You’re also welcome to store your rice and veggies in large batches, separately, then portion out to serve each day at the time of eating. Whichever storage method is most convenient for you!
For individual servings and on-the-go packed lunches, it’s best to distribute your Buddha bowl sauce into small dressing or dip containers. That way, your rice and Asian Buddha bowl components won’t get soggy throughout the week! For large batch storage or if you plan to eat your Buddha bowls at home, you can just store your sauce in a bottle or jar to drizzle on at serving time.
Any fresh toppings—like avocado, chopped green onion, fresh fruit, etc.—wait to add until the time of serving. If you plan to pack these Buddha bowl meal prep lunches to-go, I recommend slicing your avocado or chopping green onion in the morning before leaving the house. (Or, the night before at the earliest!)
More Buddha Bowl Ideas
There are tons of other buddha bowl meal prep ideas that you can explore! Get creative with your favorite veggies, plant-based protein (or meat), starches, and sauces.
I’ve shared some buddha bowl ingredients ideas below, and these are a few of my favorite vegan buddha bowl ideas that I’ve tried in the past:
- Roasted Vegan Buddha Bowl – with chickpeas, sweet potato, mango, and a hummus dressing.
- Spicy Chickpea Buddha Bowl – with Indian-inspired flavors, sauteed spinach, and a hummus base.
- Mediterranean Vegan Hummus Bowl – with a parsley salad, homemade baked falafel balls, pita croutons, and a garlic dill sauce.
- Southwestern Kale Vegetarian Taco Salad – with black beans, corn, and fajita veggies, served in a homemade baked tortilla bowl.
Veggies (& Fruit)
Any veggies you like! Go for a variety of colors, flavors, and textures. Feel free to add fruits, too—like mango, pineapple, or add some sliced avocado at the time of eating.
Typically, a Buddha bowl recipe features plant-based protein options like tofu, lentils, chickpeas or other beans, falafel, tempeh, seitan—the list goes on! Choose whichever protein you like, or whatever you feel most comfortable cooking.
Now, if you felt comfortable deviating from the traditional vegan Buddha bowl ingredients, you could also serve your components with an animal-based protein. Options like fried eggs, chicken, ground turkey or beef could all be tasty with this recipe.
Yes, Buddha bowls were originally designed as plant-based meals. And, animal-based protein can add some time and cost to your meal prep for the week. But, if that’s what YOU want to eat and what works for YOUR lifestyle, you do you!
Grains or Starchy Base
Brown rice, white rice, wild rice—all fantastic options for Buddha bowl meal prep lunches. Or, you can cook up a different whole grain, like quinoa, bulgur, farro, etc.
But, you can also keep your vegan Buddha bowl grain free by incorporating a starch as your base. Think: roasted sweet potato or butternut squash, a generous dollop of hummus, a mixture of black beans and corn—whatever you like!
Think of your Buddha bowl meal prep lunches like any salad you might make. Serve it with whichever dressing or sauce that you enjoy!
A homemade Buddha bowl dressing doesn’t need to be complicated—a bit of oil, yogurt or hummus, mixed with some flavorings and seasonings. Plus, a homemade sauce tends to be cleaner than most store-bought. But, if there’s a particular brand of sauce that you like, go for it and make your meal prep even simpler!