Black Bean Buddha Bowl with Gingery Lemon Tahini Sauce

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Two Black Bean Buddha Bowls beside sesame seeds, Lemon Ginger Tahini Dressing, and Apple Cabbage Kraut

Is it just us, or is there something incredibly comforting about a meal filled with beans, rice, greens, and a flavorful sauce?

Inspired by a bowl from Prasad in Portland, we made a delicious gluten-free and plant-based Buddha bowl from simple ingredients.

Black beans, seaweed, brown rice, sauerkraut, kale, and other ingredients for making our Black Bean Buddha Bowl recipe

How to Make a Buddha Bowl

It’s not clear where the term Buddha Bowl originated, and there doesn’t seem to be any strict set of rules for how to make one. But it seems to be roughly defined as a bowl with an assortment of small portions of different foods (especially grains & veggies).

Some say the concept is thought to emulate the way buddhist monks would walk around with a bowl, accepting small portions from other people (source). While others claim that Buddha bowls refer to a healthy, balanced, but overloaded bowl resembling the rounded belly of the Laughing Buddha (source). Either way, Buddha bowls are one of our absolute favorite meals.

We like to craft our nourishing Buddha bowls with 5 main components:

  1. Protein – we like to use beans such as black beans or chickpeas
  2. Grain or starch – such as brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potato
  3. Vegetables – such as greens, onion, and/or peppers
  4. Superfoods (optional) – such as probiotic-rich sauerkraut or kimchi, nutrient-rich seaweed, and/or avocado for some healthy fats
  5. Sauce – we love tahini-based sauces because they are versatile, flavorful, and rich in calcium & iron

Let’s do this!

Pan of steamed kale for making Black Bean Buddha Bowls

This bowl starts with making beans and rice. Our preference is to make the black beans in an Instant Pot (Instant Pot Black Beans) and the brown rice on the stovetop (How to Make Brown Rice).

In a hurry? Canned beans and quick rice can also be used in a pinch. Welcome to the judgment-free zone.

Next, the Gingery Lemon Tahini Sauce is made by whisking together 5 simple ingredients for a zingy, tart-sweet sauce.

And if you made our recent recipe for Gingery Apple Cabbage Sauerkraut, you’ll definitely want to dig that out of the fridge for this bowl! Otherwise, your favorite store-bought kimchi or sauerkraut will do.

Stirring a bowl of Lemon Ginger Tahini Sauce for topping Buddha bowls

Just prior to serving, the kale is gently steamed. We recommend cooking until wilted but still a vibrant green color. This helps maintain the heat-sensitive nutrients while warming it up and making it easier to digest.

Once the components are ready, it’s time to assemble! To each bowl, add grains, beans, sliced avocado, green onion, sauerkraut or kimchi, and sea vegetables, and drizzle with sauce.

Using a spoon to top Black Bean Buddha Bowls with Lemon Ginger Tahini Sauce

We hope you LOVE this bowl! It’s:

Nourishing
Flavorful
Comforting
Hearty
& So delicious!

This would be perfect for meal prep if you prepare the components in advance (cook beans, cook rice, chop kale, make sauce) and then assemble for easy weeknight meals!

More Nourishing Bowl Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Fork in a Black Bean Buddha Bowl made with beans, rice, kale, avocado, kraut, and sauce

Black Bean Buddha Bowl with Gingery Lemon Tahini Sauce

Incredibly comforting black bean Buddha bowl with steamed kale, brown rice, and gingery lemon tahini sauce! Nourishing ingredients, BIG flavor, a hearty plant-based meal.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Fork resting in a Black Bean Buddha Bowl topped with Lemon Tahini Sauce
4.8 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Dinner
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

GRAINS + BEANS

  • 1 cup dry black beans (or sub 2 15-oz. cans black beans // amount as recipe is written — adjust as needed)
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice (~3 cups cooked rice // amount as recipe is written — adjust as needed)

GREENS

  • 1 small bundle kale, chopped, large stems removed

FOR SERVING

  • 3/4 cup Cabbage Apple Sauerkraut (or sub Carrot Beet Sauerkraut, Kimchi, or store-bought)
  • 1 small bundle green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp sea vegetable of choice (optional // we prefer dulse or nori, crumbled or chopped)
  • 4 tsp sesame seeds, divided (optional)

Instructions

  • Prepare brown rice using either the Instant Pot method or the Perfect Brown Rice method (which doesn’t require an Instant Pot). Set aside. Prepare black beans using either the Instant Pot method or the Black Beans from scratch method (which doesn’t require an Instant Pot). Set aside. (I would recommend making the black beans in the Instant Pot — if you have one — and the brown rice on the stovetop so they can cook simultaneously).
  • Steam kale for 1-2 minutes, or until wilted but vibrant green. Set aside.
  • To serve, divide grains and beans between serving bowls and top with steamed kale, 3 Tbsp each sauerkraut or kimchi, sliced green onion, avocado, sea vegetables (optional), and sesame seeds (optional).
  • Best when fresh. Store leftovers (sauce separate) in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Kale is best when steamed fresh. Grains and beans are freezer friendly, the rest is best when fresh.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 servings Calories: 556 Carbohydrates: 86 g Protein: 20.5 g Fat: 19 g Saturated Fat: 2.5 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 5.93 g Monounsaturated Fat: 7.48 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 998 mg Potassium: 1038 mg Fiber: 21.7 g Sugar: 8.6 g Vitamin A: 3116 IU Vitamin C: 69.61 mg Calcium: 268.57 mg Iron: 6.58 mg

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  1. steph k says

    This recipe is absolutely terrific. I loved the mixed textures and balance of flavors. We went the quick and easy route with the grains and beans (canned beans, microwave brown rice) because – life with a toddler. It was still scrumptious, but next time I want to try using the IP to cook black beans. The sauce and seaweed really made the dish something special. Thanks for sharing!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! Thanks so much for the lovely review, Steph! The Instant Pot is such a quick & easy way to cook black beans- we’d definitely recommend giving it a try when time allows.

  2. Tricia says

    Delicious. I kept wondering if the planning and effort were worth it, but it was very satisfying in the end. I followed the recipes as written and was wowed by the black beans—for sure the way I will now make black beans (instant pot). Also, I might start incorporating kale into more of my meals; surprisingly delightful. I’d love to try with another sauce another time (peanut ginger is what I’m thinking), but the lemon was light and bright.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Tricia! Thank you so much for the lovely review! xo

  3. Andrea says

    The term Buddha bowl refers to the way buddhist monks used to procure their food (and maybe still do in some places). Since they spent their days in prayer and quiet contemplation, in order to stay nourished they would walk the villages together, each with an empty bowl, accepting whatever food donations they received from villagers. As one would expect, they would end up with a small quantities of many different foods and that would be their nourishment for the day.

    Anyway, this recipe looks delicious and probably much more cohesive than an actual buddhists (ask buddha) bowl! I can’t wait to try it!

  4. Lisa says

    Made this tonight using the sauerkraut recipe (made it 2 weeks ago). It was amazing and full of healthy and delicious foods. Added some red cabbage and red bell pepper for crunch. Had to sub bulgar with a little sesame oil and coconut aminos for brown rice since I didn’t have enough. Left out the nori because I was out. Both my husband and I loved this recipe! Thank you.

  5. Rebecca says

    The flavor combinations in this are amazing! I used the recipes for cabbage apple sauerkraut, miso ginger tahini dressing, and nori, and I was super happy with how it turned out. So delicious!

  6. Theresa Anderson says

    I love so many of the recipes from Minimalist Baker! I am a registered dietitian and have copies of this book in my office and brag on it often with my patients. Unfortunately, the nutrition information is often in accurate, but there is no way to contact the authors. The only reason I didn’t give this a five star is because of the notes indicating that the tahini sauce is high in calcium and iron. The recipe is a great source for both of those nutrients, but it is not because of the tahini sauce. The actual calcium is only 35 mg per serving of the tahini sauce but is close to 300 mg for the entire recipe with the sauce. Considering that a day’s needs for calcium are 1000 to 1200 mg or more, the tahini sauce is definitely not a good source, but the rest of the recipe can be – – notably from the black beans and the kale. The iron is only 1 mg in the sauce but for the entire recipe is 6.5 mg, and needs range from 8 to 18 mg for most people per day. Again, the sauce is not a good source of iron but the recipe in its entirety is!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Theresa, thanks so much for your support and for sharing our recipes with your clients! Regarding the mention of calcium and iron in the sauce, we were saying that tahini-based sauces supply a comparatively higher amount of these nutrients than other sauces one might add to bowls. We’ll see if there’s a way to make that more clear. If you have any concerns about nutrition information on specific recipes, please feel free to reach out to us by leaving a comment on the recipe and we will take another look.

  7. Hanusia says

    I am making these bowls for dinner this week and they are delicious and satisfying! I made your old favorite garlic dill sauce instead of the ginger one, and that plus the sauerkraut gave it a delightful Eastern European flavor. Such a good meal!

  8. Katie says

    I loved this recipe. It really was a perfect meal prep. I ate it for dinner probably 5 times and it was tasty, balanced, and satiating every time. Used canned beans because I am out of dry black beans and the stores are empty right now. First time making sauerkraut and it was super easy. Will definitely be making again. Thank you!

  9. Bridget says

    I just made this recipe and it was delicious! There’s something about making everything yourself, from the black beans to the kimchi, that is is somehow empowering (and is a good way to fill the days during these uncertain times of isolation and quarantine). I added roasted cauliflower, too, because I really love vegetables and wanted a bit more. Overall, the flavors were amazing and so well-balanced. I definitely recommend it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the experience and result, Bridget! Thanks so much for the lovely review! xo

  10. Sandy says

    Hi, I’m just wondering what liquid you are cooking the black beans in. In the video it looks like it could be broth or orange juice?

  11. Erin Butler says

    So delicious ! Loved the combo, colors and flavors and my husband loved all the different textures. This is the best bowl recipe I have come across. We kept the sriracha and chili garlic sauce handy for dipping :) Thank you for helping us continue to find solace in the kitchen during such a challenging time Dana! Be well!

  12. Erin says

    I have never used nori before-can I just crumble it on right from the package or did you toast it first? We are making this tonight! Will report back :)

  13. Gwen says

    Followed this recipe loosely using what vegetables I had in the fridge and it turned out great – perfect for a quick healthy dinner. And easily the best tahini sauce I have ever had! Will be making this again.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      So great! Thanks for sharing, Gwen! Next time would you mind adding a rating to your review? It’s super helpful to us and other readers! xo

  14. Sophie says

    Hi awesome MB team!
    First of all, thanks for your amazing recipes, you’re my primary source of inspiration for delicious cooking recipes, I love what you do!
    I just have a small wish regarding the US Customary/Metric conversion (which is awesome by the way): would it be possible not to convert the small Tbsp amounts in ml? In Europe, we do use Tbsp to measure oil for example and it’s far more practical to pour 2 Tbsp than measure 30ml. I always have to click back and forth between the two measurement systems for these kinds of ingredients and changing this would make my life even easier!
    Thanks a lot, keep up the good work and take care of yourselves during this weird time!

  15. Adam says

    This bowl was fantastic, just what I needed. I subbed powdered ginger for fresh, and raw agave and it still had plenty of the kick that ginger usually packs and with the savory, sweet combo, I feel like I could drink this sauce on the side :] I think I would use both powdered and fresh ginger next time, the way I always add powdered onion and garlic to fresh O+G to give it more depth of flavor. Thanks Dana! Will definitely add this to meal prep rotation! :]