Brown rice, sweet corn, smoky, hearty black beans, a beautiful tomato salad, rich avocado and fresh cilantro and lime juice come together in this alluring Mexican Buddha bowl. So many flavours, wonderful texture, and perfectly wholesome.
This recipe was originally published in January 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
What’s a Buddha Bowl?
As defined by Urban Dictionary it’s a “bowl which is packed so full that it has a rounded “belly” appearance on the top much like the belly of a Buddha.”
I’ve also heard another version of the origins of the Buddha bowl, although for the life of me, I can’t recall where.
But the story goes something along the lines of, the Buddha would walk around town with an empty bowl. Then, each neighbour he encountered would give him a spoonful of their food. So at the end of the day, he has a full bowl of food with a little bit of many different things.
Both origin theories sound great to me! And either way, this Mexican Buddha bowl fits the criteria! It’s a nicely rounded bowl filled with a little of this and a little of that.
Why you’ll love this Mexican Buddha bowl
- It’s easy to make (like my chili lime Buddha bowl) and a great way to use up leftover rice if you have some in the fridge waiting to be eaten.
- Very flavourful, using tangy white wine vinegar and lime juice to dress your salad, and smoked paprika, cumin and more to dress your beans.
- Allergen friendly. Not only is this dish vegan and vegetarian friendly, but it’s nut free and soy free too. As an added bonus, it’s also oil free for anyone on a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet.
- Perfectly wholesome. This Mexican Buddha bowl is made using healthy ingredients with no refined sugar or other refined ingredients. It’s a truly feel good bowl of wholesome deliciousness.
How to make a Mexican Buddha bowl
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather your ingredients and start cooking your rice if you don’t already have some ready to go.
Add your black beans with a quarter cup of water and your seasoning to a small skillet. (photo 1)
Heat over medium heat, stirring often until the water and seasoning is mostly absorbed and beans are heated through. (photo 2)
Meanwhile, chop up your tomato, onion and cilantro to make your tomato salad. Add them to a bowl and top with the vinegar and lime juice. (photo 3)
Mix well, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and set aside. (photo 4)
By this point, the beans should be ready and you can assemble your Mexican Buddha bowls.
Typically these bowls are assembled in segments as shown below, but it’s not totally necessary. You can add the components however you’d like.
Once you start eating, everything gets mixed together anyhow, which is just how I like it! The flavours combine so beautifully together, for a truly perfect bite.
What substitutions can I make?
- Don’t worry, I see you cilantro haters. If you’re a member of the “cilantro tastes like soap” you may sub the cilantro for parsley or dill, or another herb, instead. You may also omit if preferred.
- Swap the brown rice for wild rice, quinoa, barley, or any other grain you have available.
- For low carb, you may sub the rice for cauliflower rice instead.
- For corn free, you may omit and add in extra tomato instead.
- Swap the black beans for brown lentils or chickpeas if preferred.
Can I prepare ahead?
Yes, this Mexican Buddha bowl is great for meal prep.
You can make your rice in advance and your tomato salad, but I recommend dressing the salad right before serving.
Also, wait to cut your avocado until ready to serve so it doesn’t turn brown.
More Mexican favourites!
- Instant Pot Mexican Casserole
- Mexican Corn Salad (Elote)
- Quick + Easy Jackfruit Fajitas
- Low Calorie Mexican Zucchini Boats
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers with Walnut Cheese Sauce
- Or go ahead and check out these 38 DROOL-WORTHY Vegan Mexican Recipes!
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- 2 cups brown rice cooked
- 1.5 cups black beans cooked or canned
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup corn
- 2 avocados halved
For the Salad
- 4 roma tomatoes diced
- ½ small red onion finely chopped
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ½ lime juiced
- pinch salt & pepper
- Add the black beans, all your seasonings, plus ¼ cup of water to a large skillet. Mix well and heat over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes to heat the beans and absorb the seasoning and most of the water.
- Meanwhile, combine all the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.
- Assemble your four Buddha bowls, dividing the components equally between each one. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime wedges if desired.