I love making healthful salads in the summertime. Crunchy lettuces, garden-fresh radishes, and sweet and savory tomatoes feel natural when the heat is on. It’s easy for me to make healthy choices when the sun is shining and the farmers’ market is filled with the bounty of the summer harvest.
As the days grow shorter and my breath fogs up during the early morning commute, I find myself leaning towards heartier fare. All too often, hearty means heavy, fattening foods, and these cravings derail me from making healthy choices. That all changed when I discovered this winter Buddha bowl for amazing health. It’s healthy, it’s filling, and (most importantly) it’s so delicious!
Here’s the thing about winter foods—the flavors of summer tomatoes and zucchini are gone. In most parts of the country, the season ends in August or September and these vegetables have to be trucked in from far, far away. They lose their flavor (and nutrients) during the long journey to arrive at the grocery store.
Root vegetables and hearty greens, on the other hand, can be grown locally and stored over the long winter. These seasonal vegetables might not excite us in the summer, but winter vegetables can be as comforting as heavy cream sauces and thick meaty chiles.
We use winter vegetables in this winter buddha bowl to create hearty flavors, designed to fill you up (and keep you full). Let’s take a look at the ingredients and break down why this dish works.
For the longest time, sweet potatoes were condemned to be covered in sugary glazes and topped with marshmallows for Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn’t until the last few years that sweet potatoes have been re-discovered as a superfood.
We steam them for this bowl, which is my favorite way to cook sweet potatoes. Not only is it quick and easy, but it also preserves all the sweet potato’s nutrients, delivering vitamins A, C, B6, potassium, and fiber. But, it doesn’t stop with nutrition, oh no.
Sweet potatoes add an amazing fluffy texture to the winter buddha bowl that will have you digging back in bite after bite. Their flavor is rich and complex, and when combined with the rest of the ingredients their natural sweetness adds a perfect balance to the bowl.
While I do try to avoid too many fats, it’s good to add some healthy fats to your diet. Especially when eating sweet potatoes, because healthy fats increase the uptake of beta-caratine. Enter avocado, filled with healthy fats delivered in a fleshy, creamy package.
I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t completely obsessed with avocado. It’s the one non-seasonal food I really can’t shake (and I don’t want to, either). It adds a comforting creaminess to the winter buddha bowl, and the combination of fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats make it the perfect fill-you-up food.
Lentils + Whole Grain Rice
Lentils and whole grain rice are good for you on their own, but when you pair them together and you get a nutrient-dense powerhouse. The combination of the lentil’s insoluble fiber plus the whole grain rice’s soluble fiber gives you a good balance of the both. Not to mention that combining rice and legumes creates a complete protein, providing you with all your essential amino acids.
Lentils also have an amazing nutty flavor and firm texture. Combined with the sweet potatoes, they’ll give off a subtle, tender sweetness that will make you a lentil convert (if you’re not already). Bonus – you don’t have to soak them before cooking, unlike other types of beans.
Broccoli was one of the few vegetables I liked as a kid (although, I do admit I would only eat it drenched in ranch dressing!). When served raw, it adds a nutty, crunchy texture to a dish, but I like using steamed broccoli for this winter buddha bowl.
Steaming broccoli provides the best nutritional benefits. Cooking brassica vegetables makes it easier for your body to break down their vitamins and minerals.
This cooking method also gives broccoli a similar texture to the other ingredients in this healthy bowl. If you used raw broccoli, you would probably notice yourself chewing more on those bits than on the other bites. Making everything a similar texture creates a more pleasant eating experience.
The Incredible, Edible Egg
Eggs really are quite an amazing food. Nutritionists have gone back and forth about the health benefits of the egg over the past few decades. Its high cholesterol content led it to be shunned for years until the American Heart Association revised their guidelines in 2000 and allowed an egg a day for healthy adults.
Personally, I love eggs. They have this ability to transform leftovers into breakfast, and mundane meals into fantastic meals. A hard-boiled egg has only 75 calories but zero carbs and zero sugars. Eggs are filled with healthy fats, proteins, and irons, vitamins, and minerals.
Plus, that delicious yolky flavor melds perfectly with avocado’s creamy texture. Yes, please!
It’s really a shame that cashews are so much more expensive than other nuts because they’re clearly my favorite! Their soft texture and sweet flavor are terribly snackable, but they’re so much more than that. Thier consistency makes them an ideal dairy replacement, and you don’t have to make cashew milk or cashew cheese to use them that way.
Sprinkling on a few cashews onto the winter buddha bowl will satisfy your dairy cravings and really complete this bowl. It doesn’t hurt that they’re a great source of fiber and protein, too. Add all the protein up in this bowl and you won’t even miss the meat!
Putting all of these ingredients together will help satisfy your taste buds and keep you feeling full. I hope you enjoy the winter buddha bowl for amazing health as much as I do! I’d love to know what you think of this heart-healthy, filling, nutritious bowl. If make any substitutions let me know what’s working for you!
Winter Buddha Bowl for Amazing Health
Yields: 1 serving | Serving Size: 1 bowl | Calories: 694 | Total Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 604mg | Carbohydrates: 66g | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 24g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 21
- 1/4 cup red lentils, cooked
- 1/4 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1 cup broccoli florets, steamed
- 1/2 cup sweet potatoes, cut into medium cubes and steamed
- 1 egg, boiled and peeled
- 1 avocado, peeled, pit removed, sliced into strips
- 2 tablespoons cashews, lightly chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark balsamic vinegar
- In a large serving bowl, place the red lentils in the bottom, only filling a quarter of the space. Spoon the brown rice into a second quarter of the bowl next to the lentils.Half the bowl should now be full, leaving the second half empty.
- Fill the empty half of the bowl with the broccoli and the potatoes using the same method as the lentils and the rice. Cut the boiled egg in half length wise and arrange the halves on top of all of the ingredients in the bowl. Place the sliced avocado next to the egg.
- Sprinkle the cashews and salt on top. Finish by drizzling the oil and vinegar over the filled bowl. Enjoy!