Have you ever tried homemade falafel? I love adding them to salads, wraps and veggie bowls – they make such a great no-fuss meal when you crave something hearty and filling! This Buddha Bowl with Beetroot Falafel by Isabelle & Jenné from So Buddhalicious is packed with flavor and really easy to make.
Buddha bowls are usually composed of a seed or grain (like quinoa, amaranth, rice), a bean (here we’re using chickpeas as the base of the falafel), a green leafy veggie and a starchy vegetable + topped with a creamy nut or avocado based dressing. They make a great take-away lunch and you can be super creative with the ingredients - depending on what’s in season and what you’re in the mood for!
Buddha Bowl with Beetroot Falafel
SERVES: 1 person
EQUIPMENT: cooking pot, small food processor or mini blender
2 small beets
½ jar (6 ounces – 175g) pre-cooked chickpeas, rinsed
1 garlic clove, peeled (optional)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt to taste
3-4 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons tahini
1 small dried peach, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice for a sugar free version)
¼-1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
Himalayan crystal salt or sea salt, to taste
1 cup baby kale, shredded
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
½ cup rice (white, black or purple)
1. Preheat your oven at 350°F (175°C). Roast the beets for about 40 minutes, until they’re tender. You could also cook or steam them.
2. Put the rinsed chickpeas, roughly chopped beets, garlic, pepper flakes and salt in a food processor. Mix until they form a dough like consistency.
3. Lay out a baking sheet with parchment paper and form little beet balls with 1 tablespoon of the beet mix per falafel.
4. Bake for about 35 minutes, until crunchy on the outside and firm on the inside.
1. Put the water, tahini and soaked peach in a small food processor or mini blender. Mix until smooth.
2. Add cardamom and salt for an extra kick.
1. Cook your rice until tender.
2. Roast the butternut squash with some sea salt and black pepper until tender.
3. Take a bowl, add baby kale, squash, rice and beet balls. Top with tahini dressing.
JULIE’S TIPS & TRICKS:
• You can prepare a big batch of falafel in advance & store them in the fridge for at least 4 days or in the freezer for several weeks to save time in the kitchen during the week. This way, you’ll have a nourishing meal in no time!
• For a variation on this Buddha bowl recipe, replace the butternut squash with sweet potato or pumpkin. You could replace the baby kale with spinach, Romaine lettuce or other greens too.
• Want to make this bowl grain free? Replace the rice with quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat – or use ½ avocado instead of the rice.
• Do you find it difficult to digest raw kale? You can steam or lightly sauté it in some coconut oil.
Now I would love to hear from you! Have you ever made fresh falafel? How do you like the serve it: in a wrap, on top of a big salad, as an appetizer with hummus…? Definitely let me know by leaving a comment down below.
If you’re curious to find out more, check out Isabelle’s blog & vegan podcast at The Plantiful. You can find Jenné at Sweet Potato Soul + she has an awesome YouTube channel too! For more Buddha Bowl recipes, check out So Buddhalicious.
1. Where do you live?
I currently live in New York City and just moved to Brooklyn from Manhattan a couple months ago. I moved from Paris to the States in 2013 and have been loving it.
2. What sparked your interest in health & plant-based cooking?
I always had trouble with the idea of eating animals. When I was super young, I would feel very confused about why we had bunny rabbit for lunch when we just saw a cute bunny rabbit at the petting zoo. To me there was no distinction between animals we love and animals we eat. Then, when I went off to university and moved out from home at 19, I became vegetarian but I didn't start getting passionate about cooking and health until I moved to New York and became vegan. That was about 4 years ago. I did a plant-based nutrition certificate with e Cornell to learn about the science behind plant-based nutrition and I started my blog a little earlier and just really got into experimenting in the kitchen. It was all driven by the fact that I needed to feed myself and my better half and I wanted it to all be vegan and delicious.
3. What used to be your favorite meal as a child? Any special childhood food memories or anecdotes?
I loved my dad’s pancakes. They are called 'paanecher' in Luxembourg (that's where I grew up) and he would make them super thin, like French crepes. I also loved that they came with apple sauce and cinnamon on the side. Definitely one of my favorites.
The other food I was and still am obsessed with are potatoes. My grandma would call me the potato girl because I always wanted some form of potato with every meal. She would for example mash them, make a Luxembourgish version of latkes, boil them or deep fry them in a batter (those are called pommes dauphine). I loved all versions!
4. What are the ingredients you can’t live without?
I still love potatoes. Starchy veggies in general such as kabocha squash and sweet potatoes are my life!
I also adore fresh figs and always get so excited when they are in season. I like them as a snack or on top of a granola bowl.
Oh and miso! That's another ingredient I'm obsessed with. It’s just so versatile and adds so much flavor to everything.
5. What’s your typical breakfast, lunch, snack & dinner?
I like smoothies and fresh fruit in the morning. I really love how it gives me energy instantly. And oat meal with berries and frozen banana in winter.
Lunch is usually light because big meals during the day make me tired. I like salads or a simple grain bowl with some tofu, brown rice and veggies.
Dinner is when I'm getting creative. Most recently I've been obsessed with turmeric tofu scramble that I serve with some fresh baguette and a huge green salad with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette.
I love dried fruit as a snack. Dried mango, unsweetened papaya (it's so chewy and yummy!!) or fresh Medjool dates with some almond butter. I also like to snack on homemade granola.
6. What’s your favorite dessert?
I'm not a huge dessert person but I adore raw desserts such as a raw key lime pie. I also love banana nice cream. It's so simple and so good.
7. If today was your last day on earth, what would you eat?
Vegan dumplings. There is this amazing vegan dumpling place in Chinatown here in NYC and it's my ultimate indulgence and comfort food. See, I just love carbs...
8. Who and what inspires you?
I'm inspired by the idea that eating vegan is a win win win - it's good for the animals, good for the planet and good for our health. I'm trying to live a low impact life and share my passion, because I deeply believe that abstaining from animal products is the best way to live.
I'm very inspired also by what's going on in terms of medical research around plant-based nutrition and how it can be used to prevent and reverse disease. I'm a huge fan of all the doctors that work in that field and try to make nutrition the center of disease prevention. It's a difficult path as our system is currently based on taking drugs to heal our bodies. But that ultimately only leads to benefits for the pharmaceutical industries. And I'm talking about our chronic 21st century diseases here, such as diabetes 2, heart disease, high blood pressure. Those are not things that we are all doomed to suffer from at some point in our lives. We can prevent them with the right diet.
9. Do you have any tips or tricks for anyone who is just starting on their health food journey?
Yes, cut yourself some slack, go one step at the time. The biggest reason for failure is when we try to achieve change too fast. Habit change takes time, we have to recondition ourselves and work on it a little every day so it slowly becomes the new normal.
Also, be open! Eating plant-based is not restrictive, it will actually expand your horizon and give you access to a way more varied and balanced diet.