• Kris

Root veggies and black bean Buddha bowl with salsa roja


This rice bowl with roasted veggies, black beans and a Mexican salsa is packed with healthy deliciousness. Vegan, gluten free, oil free.



Buddha bowls are surely the cool kids these days! If you’re looking for taste, nutrition and convenience in the same meal, what else could be better than a Buddha bowl?


Those of you who are not familiar with the concept of a Buddha bowl, and there’s absolutely no shame in that, let me tell you what it is. It’s a bowl that contains a grain, some kind of a protein, some vegetables and a dressing or a sauce. Your grain can be rice, quinoa, pasta or any other you want. Proteins, in original Buddhist way of eating, come in the form beans or tofu. But if you’re a hard-core omnivore, you can add lean meat or seafood. And when it comes to add vegetables, one can be endlessly creative starting from A to Z. That's right,from asparagus to zucchini, Yeah!


Buddha bowls are really convenient because you can cook a big batch of grains and beans on an off day and freeze them. Then just put some of them in a bowl, add whatever vegetables you have at hand and voila! You have a whole, complete meal ready! Use different dressings to make different flavor profiles on different days! How cool is that?


Talking about the dressings, I always prefer the homemade ones over the bottled or jarred varieties. Store bought dressings are always high in sugar, salt and fat. It’s not difficult to make your dressings at home at all! I am planning to post some really easy dressing recipes later that you can make in a flash.

For today’s bowl, we’re gonna make a Mexican sauce called salsa roja or ‘red sauce’. It has different types of chilies and spices in it, imparting a very complex flavor.


The other components of this bowl are brown rice (healthy whole grain), roasted sweet potatoes and carrots (your treasure chest of vitamin A), creamy avocados (Omega 3 anyone?), black beans (Our protein hero here guys!) and mixed greens (fresh tasting and full of phyto-nutrients).


Sounds tempting? Your bowl of healthy deliciousness is waiting right here to be made!



About the dish :

Course – Entrée

Servings – 4

Difficulty level – Easy

Recipe type – Vegan, gluten free, oil free.

Does it keep – Keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.



What you need :

For the salsa roja :

1 large (or 2 medium) tomato

1 medium onion

4 cloves of garlic

½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

1 dry ancho chili

2 chili-de-arbol (use 1 if you like your food less spicy)

1 x 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1/3 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

1 teaspoon dry chipotle powder

Juice of ½ a lime

Salt to taste

For the bowl :

1 medium sweet potato

2 medium carrots

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

1.5 cups of cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can)

1 avocado

2 cups cooked brown rice

2 cups mixed salad greens

1 lime (optional)



What you do :

1. Pre-heat your oven to 400◦F/200◦C/gas mark 6.


2. Peel and dice the sweet potato and carrots. Toss them with ½ teaspoon of vinegar, garlic powder, a pinch of salt and ground cinnamon. Roast them in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring once at the middle point.



3. While the veggies are roasting, let’s make the salsa roja. First toast the chiles in a dry pan for 2-3 minutes.


4. Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles and put them in a bowl. Pour ½ cup of boiling water on them and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.



5. In the same pan, toast the other spices, fennel, cumin, cinnamon and oregano, for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Let them cool down.



6. Cut the tomato and onion into big square pieces. Peel the garlic cloves. Toss them all with ½ teaspoon of vinegar and spread on a parchment lined cookie sheet.


7. Broil the veggies for 8-10 minutes or until slightly charred.



8. Add the charred veggies, toasted spices, softened chilies (along with the soaking liquid), minced cilantro and lime juice into a blender and blitz until smooth.



9. Add salt and pepper to taste. Your salsa roja is ready.



10. Now take your cooked black beans in a bowl. See here how to cook beans from scratch. If using canned beans, you need to drain and rinse them first.


11. Add ½ cup of the salsa roja to the beans and stir well. Let it marinate for 15-20 minutes.



12. Cut the avocado into small pieces and squeeze a bit of lime juice over them.


13. To assemble the bowl, put ½ cup of cooked brown rice in the bowl first. Then add roasted root veggies, chopped avocados, salad greens and marinated black beans. Drizzle with more salsa. Squeeze more lime juice on top if you want.




Modifications you can make :


  • Plain white rice or any other cooked grain like quinoa or couscous can be used in place of brown rice.


  • Bagged cole slaw mix works fine if you don’t have mixed salad greens handy.


  • Chopped lettuce, baby arugula, or baby spinach can be subbed in for the greens.


  • In the fall or winter, butternut squash or acorn squash can beautifully replace the root vegetables.



Nutritional info (per serving) :


Calories – 500 Cal

Carbohydrate – 107 g

Protein – 23 g

Fat – 8 g

Saturated fat – 1 g

Sugar – 8 g

Sodium – 77 mg

Dietary fiber – 20 g



Now this is what I call “the super bowl of clean eating”. Why, you have your healthy grain, greens, veggies, protein and good fat, all in one bowl! Furthermore, the left-over salsa will keep in the fridge for a week and is delicious with corn chips or crudités, or even as a salad dressing.

So, it’s all win-win, or what!


When you taste this bowl, I promise, you’ll find flavors doing ‘salsa dance’ on your tongue!




Do you have any question? Any thoughts after you’ve made it? I’d just love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below.

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