Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowl

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Servings of our Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls with Kale and Tahini Sauce for a delicious plant-based meal

This summer has been a glorious mix of amazing weather, trips to the farmers market, and travels to new cities. Since summer is on its way out (booo) I thought it appropriate to highlight one of my go-to meals recently: This 7-ingredient kale, quinoa, chickpea Buddha Bowl.

It may seem simple and just like any other wholesome bowl, but the flavors meld together perfectly, it’s a nutrient powerhouse (with 22 g protein per serving), and its simplicity is the best part (anyone can make it)!

Interested in how this delicious bowl is made? Please follow me.

Bowl of warm chickpeas for making our Healthy Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls recipe

What is a Buddha Bowl?

But first, what’s 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, we’re Buddha Bowl fans around here!

How to Make This Bowl

This recipe is inspired by the Mighty Bowl at Prasad (one of my favorite Portland restaurants) and starts with cooked-from-scratch chickpeas (which are totally easy by the way).

My new go-to quick soak method tenderizes the beans and opens them up nicely, saving you (6-8) hours of overnight soaking. Cook immediately after soaking and you have delicious, tender, nutrient-rich beans in roughly 2 hours flat.

Whisking together ingredients for the Tahini Sauce for our Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls recipe

In the final minutes of the beans cooking, it’s time to prepare your quinoa (a gluten-free, protein powerhouse), make your 3-ingredient Tahini Sauce, and steam your kale (why kale is amazing, in case you aren’t convinced). Then it’s Buddha Bowl building time.

Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls with Kale and Tahini Sauce for a simple plant-based meal
Pouring Tahini Sauce onto our Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowls for a simple gluten-free vegan meal

I hope you all LOVE this bowl! It’s:

Simple
Easy to make
Incredibly nutritious
Protein- + fiber-rich
Vegetable-packed
& Crazy delicious

This is the perfect meal for most any occasion, but especially when you’re craving a healthy, hearty lunch or dinner. It packs up beautifully for work the next day for lunch. Plus, it’s ideal for serving to a crowd as it’s suitable for pretty much every kind of special diet. Win win!

If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! We love seeing your comments, ratings, and especially your photos tagged #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

More Buddha Bowl Recipes

Our Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe ready to be devoured for a quick plant-based dinner

Quinoa Chickpea Buddha Bowl

An incredibly satisfying, healthy, nutrient-rich buddha with steamed kale, from-scratch chickpeas, quinoa, and 3-ingredient tahini sauce! Just 7 ingredients required for this delicious plant-based meal.
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Fork resting in a big bowl of our Chickpea Quinoa Buddha Bowl recipe
4.96 from 22 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 4 Days

Ingredients

CHICKPEAS

  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • Water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

QUINOA

  • 1 Tbsp olive, grapeseed, or avocado oil (or coconut)
  • 1 cup white quinoa (well rinsed)
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 healthy pinch sea salt

KALE

  • 1 large bundle curly (dinosaur) kale (rinsed and torn into large pieces)

TAHINI SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup tahini (raw or roasted)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup water

FOR SERVING optional but recommended

  • Fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Either soak chickpeas overnight in cool water (for 6-8 hours) or use the quick-soak method: Add rinsed chickpeas to a large pot and cover with 2 inches water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 1 minute. Then turn off heat, cover, and let soak for 1 hour. Then drain, rinse, and add back to pot.
  • To cook soaked chickpeas, add to a large pot and cover with 2 inches water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer, add salt and stir, and cook uncovered for 40 minutes – 1 hour 20 minutes (depending on the size/freshness of your beans).
  • Sample a bean at the 40-minute mark to see how tender they are. You’re looking for a just tender bean with a tiny bit of bite, and the skins will start to show signs of peeling (don’t go too mushy!). Once cooked, drain beans and set aside and sprinkle with a bit more salt.
  • In the last 30 minutes of the beans cooking, start your quinoa by heating a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and rinsed quinoa. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. This will allow some of the water to evaporate and add a nice toasty flavor.
  • Add water and increase heat to medium-high/high to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low (simmer), cover, and cook for 18-22 minutes, or until the quinoa is tender and the water has completely absorbed. Then remove from heat and loosely drape the pot with a towel or paper towel to continue absorbing any excess moisture.
  • Prepare dressing by adding tahini, sea salt and garlic powder to a small mixing bowl and whisking to combine. Then add water a little at a time until it forms a pourable sauce.
  • Lastly, steam kale. Add 1/2 inch water to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Insert a steamer basket and the kale and cover. Steam for 1-2 minutes, or until kale is vibrant in color and slightly wilted. Immediately remove the kale from the heat and transfer to a small dish for serving.
  • To serve, divide quinoa, chickpeas and kale between serving bowls and top with tahini sauce. Add a splash of fresh lemon juice for more flavor and a bit of acidity (highly recommended).
  • Best when fresh, though leftover sauce, quinoa, and chickpeas can be stored separately in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Kale is best when (steamed) fresh.

Notes

*Quick soak chickpea method by The Kitchn. Chickpea cooking tips from the lovely Tori Avey.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with sauce.
*Prep/total time accounts for the quick soak chickpea method. Add 6-8 hours if soaking overnight.
*Recipe inspired by the Mighty Bowl at Prasad in Portland, OR.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 572 Carbohydrates: 68.8 g Protein: 22 g Fat: 25.4 g Saturated Fat: 3.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 414 mg Fiber: 15.1 g Sugar: 5.5 g

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  1. Cindy says

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! I use canned chickpeas and cook the quinoa in my Instant Pot. I can have it on the table in minutes. I typically serve it over spring mix to make it even EASIER. It is delicious with the steamed kale too. I added some sauteed sliced mini-portobella mushrooms tonight. And the lemon is a MUST. I add it to the dressing and squeeze the lemon on top. 10/10!

  2. Debra says

    Made this for the first time a few days ago. I love how simple and quick this recipe is (I used canned chickpeas). Also love how it has few ingredients that I usually have on hand. The left overs were even better the next day for lunch. Hubby and 4 and 2 year old liked it as well. Thank you!

  3. Cassie says

    Made this for lunch this week. Easy as can be and tastes delicious! Subbed spinach for kale since that’s what we had, and squeezed a lemon over the quinoa while it was warm. Love the tahini dressing!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Cassie. We are so glad you enjoyed it! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  4. Megan says

    A great last minute dinner recipe. I love the dressing and changing up the veg, always filling and satisfying! Thank you

  5. Maria Vargas says

    Hi Dana, I was wondering if for these bowls you used the West Elm Basic Bowl or the Low Bowl? This recipe is also amazing. Thanks!

  6. k says

    This looks fantastic!
    Unfortunately sesame gives me migraines (as do cashews)… almonds are ok, though: do you think almond butter might sub in here (with extra water)? Or any other ideas for an alternate sauce? Thanks so much – your recipes look amazing.

  7. Shannon Hickman says

    Such a simple and cheap but healthy and filling meal. It was even worth having to make the tahini from scratch!

  8. Josie says

    My husband are just a few days into our plant-based transition. This recipe was a hit! I used collards as kale is not popular with my husband. I finished the dish with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of za’atar. Thank you for making our transition easy and delicious!

  9. gigi says

    This looks perfect as I often soak chickpeas and then wonder what will go with them in my pantry/fridge. Luckily I nearly always have kale, quinoa and tahini on hand and it comes together so easy. Thanks!

  10. Elyse says

    Awesome, quick, lunch or dinner idea! I love the tahini sauce. I had to add a TON of water to get a sauce consistency, but I’m excited to have discovered this meal.

    I sauteed the kale in some olive oil, earth balance, chopped garlic, s & p, then pushed it aside and added chickpeas to the pan to heat up and served with brown rice which I always have on hand in jars in the fridge and the sauce, of course. 15 minutes from start to finish (I buy chopped garlic).

    My one year old LOVES the chickpeas with tahini sauce! yay! I’m so glad to have found something besides black beans and sweet potatoes that he’ll eat!

    • Elyse says

      me too! I added more than a cup of water at least (I stopped measuring). I added a ton of water to get a sauce, but the flavor was still on point and delicious.

      I came to ask about ratio – but it looks like a few commenters had the same issue and received the same response – just keep adding water :)

  11. Janet MacDonald says

    Oh so fast in the Instant Pot or any other pressure cooker. No soaking for chickpeas. 35 min on hi pressure. Quinoa takes only 2 min. Kale is 1min. Wow….. best meal ever! Great recipe.

  12. Katie says

    This is my new favorite go to meal! So easy and SO delicious. I added roasted beets the second time I made it, and it turned out even more heavenly!

  13. Janet says

    My tahini sauce is not thin. I even got my mini food processor out to give it a spin. It remains peanut butter. How can I get it into a sauce like texture?

  14. Alyssa says

    Simple and delicious—loved it! My only question is about the tahini sauce. It started out creamy then when I whisked it, it got very, very thick. I added water bit by bit and still, super thick. Any suggestions?

  15. Tracers says

    Looks great! I think some grilled onions would set this over-the-top delicious! But when don’t grilled onions make things better?!

  16. Casey the College Celiac says

    As someone who has just discovered the magic that is chickpeas (I know, I’m late to the party), this looks fabulous! Sometimes simple really is best, right? :)

  17. Larissa says

    I’m so excited to be trying this tonight!! Like some of you, I’ll be using canned chickpeas because it’s what I have in my pantry!! Aside from rinsing and draining them is there anything I should do to prepare them??? Thanks for your help!!

  18. Emma Graddy says

    I just made this recipe for a few friends and it was a hit! We ended up adding a lot of lemon juice which was great, and also tried out some hot sauce in the tahini sauce and that added a great flavor as well! We love all of your recipes :) Thanks for this!

  19. sbsantafe says

    I made this for lunch today and love the combination of flavors. But I have a question on the tahini dressing. I made it twice, using Trader Joe’s tahini. Both times the tahini seized beyond repair as soon as I tried thinning it out. I added dribs and drabs at first, room temperature water, didn’t want to overwhelm the tahini. But as soon as any liquid was introduced it seized. It smelled wonderful but was unusable, so I ended up using another dressing I had on hand. Any suggestions on how I can thin the tahini successfully so I can actually make this dressing? Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      I find that when I keep mixing the tahini with small amounts of water, even after it seizes up, it eventually smoothes out!

  20. Mika M says

    Oooh, just picked up a clamshell of mixed spinach-baby kale but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with. This sounds awesome. Just gotta pick up some tahini!

  21. Christin says

    Yum!! I made this with a couple tweaks…I used canned chickpeas and peeled off the skins (only recommended if you have an extra 25 minutes or so- it’s incredibly tedious!). Instead of kale, I used a lettuce blend from Trader Joe’s called Lemony Greens (I LOVE kale but my husband doesn’t).
    It was a winner! So simple, but so healthy and the perfect light dinner (and will be my lunch tomorrow too). Thanks Dana! =)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Definitely give it a try Cassie! I haven’t noticed much of a difference in taste when I soak chickpeas!

  22. Jill Booth says

    One of the tastiest and simple things I’ve ever made. I made a big batch and took the bowls to a job site my husband was working at today and shared the bowls with the men there. They we’re all loving it! They ate every single bite and said “oh man, what is that sauce stuff on top, thats good” :) Thank you for your recipes. I have your cookbook and enjoy getting the occasional inspiration in my email inbox as well! Cheers!

  23. Hilary Ledingham says

    Dana, when I was putting this together, I was thinking it was going to be the most boring supper I’d ever had, but I loved it! Just as you said, simple delicious and really healthy. Looking forward to making it again.
    Thank you :)

  24. Emily Noelle says

    um yum!!! This is definitely what I’m craving right now! I am going to the store to buy ingredients ASAP!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  25. Richard says

    Looking forward to trying this! We got to visit Prasad and it was amazing. I wish you could come up with a similar dressing to their lemon ginger dressing. I was obsessed with it. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Sarah says

    You had me at Tahini Sauce! Seriously that stuff is amazing. I love all your recipes & am getting your cookbook next week.

  27. Estelle says

    I am so excited for this recipe! My family was recently in Portland and our first meal was at Harlow (Prasad’s sister restaurant). My sister ordered the mighty bowl and I probably ended up eating like half of it along with my own meal. I am planning to eat this recipe 3x a day 7 days a week. Thank you so much

  28. Leni says

    I’ve made this at least 4 times since the recipe first appeared. Love love love it. I use fresh garlic and some lemon juice in the tahini sauce, and canned chickpeas, rinsed and then soaked in water for 30 minutes to reduce the sodium. The recipe is incredibly flavorful. I’ve never been too big on kale, but with this tahini sauce drizzled on it I’m suddenly a fan. I’ve made the bowl with other veggies, too: beets, sliced tomatoes, green beans…it’s highly adaptable.

  29. julia says

    hi dana,
    just wanted to ask – do you salt the chickpeas before cooking (step 2)? i learned not to salt pulses until after cooking, because salt will prolong the cooking process. any thoughts?
    thanks, julia

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      If you’re worried about it prolonging the cooking process, season towards the end of their cook time!

  30. Hilda says

    Hi Dana,
    Thank you so very much for all the amazingly delicious, healthy and easy to make recipes :-)
    Looking forward to making the Buddha bowl !

  31. Erin says

    A recipe shouldn’t receive a poor rating because you assume your kids will think it looks boring…please rate the recipe if you’ve actually made it per the instructions so it’s actually helpful for others. You can add whatever you want to it to get your kids to eat it, but why not give the original recipe a try first to test the flavors (bc I bet they’re lovely, Dana knows her stuff), or just make something else altogether.

  32. Vicky & Ruth says

    I also can’t believe that the summer is almost over…but this quinoa dish looks delicious and so easy and simple to make!

  33. Christina @ The Blissful Balance says

    Yuuuum I have a recipe similar to this coming out in September, I literally inhaled it it was so good. I just love the combination of this trio! Gorgeous!

  34. Elyse Sokoloff says

    It’s like you read my mind. My bodybuilding trainer is trying to lower his cholesterol and has asked me to come up with easy, delicious meals that don’t include tofu. I came looking for your buddha bowl recipe (because why reinvent the wheel!) and this was on the first page. Easy? Check. Lots of protein? Check. Delicious? Oh you better believe check! I’m going to point him your way, thanks!

  35. Faith VanderMolen says

    All my favorite food piled into one bowl?! Yes please! And I have all these things on hand (other than the kale, but that’s easy to swap out) so I’ll definitely be making this!

  36. Beth says

    Every single recipe of yours that we’ve tried has been AMAZING!!! I can’t wait to try this one. I just created 8 weeks of dinner plans and nearly all come from you! Thank you so much! Wondering if there’s a good substitute for kale in this recipe? We’re not huge fans. I’m thinking maybe bok choy or purple cabbage?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Wow, thanks Beth! That’s amazing. If you aren’t into kale what about rainbow chard or spinach? I love kale in this recipe esepcially because it’s steamed so the flavor is less bitter and the texture is tender. Hope you give this recipe a try!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Not blasphemy! I do it sometimes, too. However, with this recipe because it’s so basic the chickpeas cooked from scratch really make a difference in flavor, texture, and freshness.

    • ChristineF says

      I find canned organic chickpeas to be both affordable and convenient and I prefer the softer texture to the soaked ones. I think it is just a personal preference.

    • Gina says

      I just made it now and used canned and it was great!! I just rinsed then first and added a touch of salt, olive oil and lemon juice and they were gorgeous :)

  37. Alice says

    This looks lovely! There is a place in Leeds that does cool hummus and falafel and chickpea bowls with pitta bread and salad.. its amazing xx

  38. Mina says

    Just out of curiosity, what is considered a serving off cooked quinoa and chick peas? make a variation of a bowl everyday for lunch. Looking forward to trying your tahini sauce!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, not sure! It might depend on your activity levels and body type. But I usually consider 1/2 to be one serving.