Healthy, flavorful, and satisfying, this easy Tofu Buddha Bowl is the perfect weeknight dinner and is super versatile. Fit this bowl to your tastes and macros, and it’ll become a household favorite in no time.
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Hey Internet, it’s funny--Buddha bowls (AKA nourish bowls, macro bowls, etc.) are some of my most made meals, but I only have one other recipe like this on the blog, my vegan buddha bowl with sweet potatoes and quinoa.
I’m guessing that the reason I haven’t posted as many of these is they change every time I make them, because it’s hard to nail down a recipe!
It’s so easy to swap out whatever veggies, proteins, or sauces you like, but I thought I should do one based around the ingredient I used the most: Tofu.
For tofu, I typically like to bake or air fry it. Sometimes I marinate it and then bake it, and sometimes I crust it instead. It turns out delicious either way.
Today I’m going to use crusted baked tofu, but I’ll give a couple ideas for marinating it too. You could even do both if you are so inclined.
And as far as everything else goes, it’s so easy to use whatever you like. Use a grain as the base--or greens like I did. Use a combination of raw veggies and cooked veggies--or whatever you want or have to use up from the fridge.
These bowls are great for meal prep. Just prep and store all the ingredients separately, and you can mix and match daily. Make some into a burrito, use a different sauce, etc.
Easily multiply or cut this recipe by however many meals you intend to get out of it.
And though I mentioned you can mix and match the ingredients, I have to at least provide the basic recipe, or at least how to make what’s in the photo above. So let’s get started on that.
What You’ll Need
The centerpiece of this bowl is tofu. As mentioned before, you can crust or marinate it or both, but this particular recipe is for baked crusted tofu (air fryer will also work).
I used super firm (also known as extra firm) tofu, but firm tofu will also work. If using “firm tofu,” I recommend pressing it a bit first using a tofu press (I like my EZ Tofu Press) or two plates or cutting boards and a weight of some sort.
To crust it, I used a combination of arrowroot powder (corn starch will also work), nutritional yeast, and garlic powder.
You could substitute any flour or spice combination for your crust.
For the rest of the bowl, I used a combination of veggies: red cabbage, kale, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet potato, avocado, and topped it with a little beet sauerkraut.
Other veggie ideas include roasted broccoli or cauliflower or brussels sprouts, squash of any kind, etc.
You could also swap out the tofu for edamame, beans, seitan, or anything you like.
Finally, a good sauce brings it all together. I’ll give you a bunch of sauce ideas at the bottom of this post, but I used my amazing 2 minute Maple Mustard Tahini sauce. Bet you can guess what’s in it.
Tips for Making an Awesome Tofu Buddha Bowl
- The most important thing that makes an awesome tofu Buddha bowl? Using what YOU like! Don’t like cabbage? Don’t use it. Love rice? Throw it in there. It’s YOUR bowl.
- Start the thing that takes the longest to cook first. I used sweet potatoes in this recipe so I got them in the oven pronto. (I heated my oven to 425 degrees F (or 218 degrees C) beforehand.)
- For the tofu, I recommend using super or extra firm tofu--I never bother pressing it so it’s way faster. If you have just regular firm tofu, I’d recommend pressing some of the liquid out with a tofu press or by hand.
- If you want to use marinated tofu, you should start that process at least a half hour before you’re ready to cook. Mix up a marinade (my fave is soy sauce or tamari, smoked paprika, and a dash of maple syrup or agave) and soak your cubed tofu in it for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours before you’re ready to cook. Stick it in the fridge while it marinates, and shake the container every so often if you can.
- Cube the tofu. It should still be moist when you toss it with your crust ingredients.
- Mix your crust ingredients before adding them to the tofu to make sure the flavors are distributed evenly.
- I recommend using a thin silicone spatula to toss the tofu in the crust mixture. This helps it get evenly coated without breaking apart.
- Bake your tofu on parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for about 20-25 minutes at 425 F or 218 C. I had to use parchment paper here because I accidentally used a knife on my other silicone mat the night before (never cook when you’re tired lol). Makes for easy clean up, helps keep the tofu from sticking, and provides a nice crust on the bottoms.
- Flip your tofu halfway through. You don’t need to cook it on each side, but flipping it once during the time it cooks makes a huge difference.
- If you prefer to cook your tofu in the air fryer, cook it on 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for about 15-20 minutes, shaking the basket at least once, halfway through.
- If you’re using kale as your base, make sure to remove the stems as they are bitter (I either save them for stir fry or give them to my dog, who loves them). I recommend taking a spoonful or two of the dressing and massaging it into the kale for about 30 seconds. Yes, with your hands. I realize that sounds a little weird, but trust me, it makes the kale tastier and easier to chew.
- Speaking of which, if using red or green cabbage like I did, toss it in a little lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Even massage it in a little, which really makes the cabbage easier to chew and much more enjoyable.
- Assemble your bowl the way you like. No need to section it off to make it look pretty, but you can if you want to. Sorry Mom, I like playing with my food still. ;)
- Drizzle or pour on your sauce and enjoy!
Ways to Customize Your Tofu Buddha Bowl
Consider your bowls in parts: you have your base, your veggies, your toppings, and your sauce. Any of these are interchangeable, and you can mix and match whatever you like.
I like to prep enough base and enough sauce for the week, and change up the veggies and toppings each day. Or sometimes I’ll prep two different bases (say a green and a grain) and pick whatever I’m feeling like that day.
The start of any good Buddha bowl is the base. Pasta, grains, or even mashed potatoes (yup, I’ve done it, and it’s amazing) make great bases for bowls. But greens work great too if you’re watching your carbs or just want something lighter.
- Spring mix greens
- Mashed potatoes or root vegetables
The bulk of most Buddha bowls is veggies. You can use raw, roasted, steamed, sauteed, or any combination of those. I like to include a couple roasted veggies and a few raw ones, for a nice contrast in texture and flavor.
Some of my favorite cooked veggies for bowls:
- Broccoli or cauliflower
- Carrots or parsnips
- Brussels sprouts
- Onion (ever tried roasting large slices of onion? Amazing!)
- Potatoes or sweet potatoes
- Green beans or asparagus
- Squash of any kind
Great raw options--slice and toss in!
- Tomatoes (especially cherry or grape tomatoes)
- Bell pepper
- Green onions
- Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, chives
There are so many different ways to customize this bowl. You don’t even have to use tofu, but then it wouldn’t be a tofu Buddha bowl, now would it? ;)
I consider toppings one of the most fun parts of bowls! They can really help define the flavor, and add in a bunch of extra nutrients.
The possibilities are endless, but I included a list of my favorite toppings below:
- Sauerkraut, kimchi, or try my pickled red onions
- Protein like tofu, seitan, beans, etc. (optional, because all plants have protein, but if you want you can include. I just do it for flavor and texture!)
- Seeds like Omega fatty acid packed hemp hearts or sunflower seeds
- Fresh or dried fruit for a little sweetness
- Crunchy tortilla strips or quick homemade croutons
- Fresh herbs or microgreens
- Cut up nori sheets or seaweed snacks, great for sushi bowls
- Shredded vegan cheese
Any kind of store-bought or homemade sauce will work. I’m biased, because I’ve been making my own sauces since I started being vegan and couldn’t afford the store-bought ones.
But seriously, making your own sauces is SO much more delicious, and it’s cheaper and easy too! I highly recommend ANY of the following sauces. If you have any fave sauces you’d love a recipe for, feel free to reach out or DM me on Instagram.
- Maple Mustard Tahini
- Easy Hummus
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Vegan Ranch
- Lemon Miso Tahini
- BBQ sauce
- Vegan Honey Mustard Dressing
- Mushroom Gravy
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too.
This tofu Buddha bowl is:
- Savory and a touch sweet
- Fresh and fun
- And makes an easy, awesome meal for yourself, your family, or your guests! Also fantastic for meal prep.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!