Create brightly coloured one-bowl meals of goodness from fresh shoots and greens that can be grown indoors or out
Composed of part grain, part vegetable, part protein and seeds, and lavished with a tangy dressing, ‘nourish bowls’ or ‘Buddha bowls’ provide a filling feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.
Dubbed a Buddha bowl due to the fullsome curves of the packed-in ingredients, which echo that of a rounded Buddha belly (read more below), they can be created from any nutrient-rich fuel you can find, but particularly lend themselves to fresh greens – pea shoots, mini roots, bean sprouts and baby leaves – that you can grow on a windowsill indoors or out.
Here’s four to try:
- Pea shoots. One of the easiest shoots to grow and, yes, they do taste just like peas! Simply grab a bag of dried marrowfat peas in the wholefood section of the supermarket (they’re traditional used to make monster mushy peas) and soak overnight in cold water to aid germination. Fill a container with peat-free compost and moisten, and scatter the seeds evenly over the surface so there’s about a pea distance between each pea. Cover with a pea’s depth of compost and place in a bright spot on the windowsill. In two-to-three weeks they should be ready to eat; snip off below the lowest leaves and you’ll get a second flush for your next meal. Broad beans can also be sprouted in this way.
- Corn kernels. Follow the same steps for growing pea shoots, but instead of putting them on a windowsill, put them in a dark, warm place away from direct light (an airing cupboard is ideal) and harvest the first yellow shoots as they emerge. It brings a whole new meaning to popping corn!
- Bean sprouts. These are grown from mung bean seeds and can be sown on a tray of wet cotton wool. Simply soak the beans overnight, rinse and spread out on the cotton wool and cover with brown paper. Keep somewhere warm, and within a week you should have sprouts for cutting.
- Buddha brassicas. While a full-grown kale or broccoli plant will take many months to mature, you can grow them for mini leaves in a pot or tray on the kitchen sill. Broccoli raab, for example, is fast and easy to grow, and can be on the plate within seven weeks. Grow in a container as a cut-and-come again salad, sowing thinly onto the surface of peat free compost, thinning to 10cm between plants and cutting when they are around 15cm high. You won’t get the full flower head but the leaves and stems will be nutritious and tasty.
What is a Buddha Bowl?
Buddha bowls tend to be made up of five ingredients, all artfully arranged in one big bowl:
- The first ingredient can be a wholegrain such as rice, quinoa or soba noodles;
- Then you can add roasted vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin, or carrot, sprinkled with a little spice before roasting;
- After this, you need a lean protein such as fish, beans or lentils;
- Plenty of raw, steamed or sautéed vegetables;
- Finally, a dressing (think tahini & miso paste or balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh herbs). Added extras such as seeds, olives, or nuts to give that plump topping.
Bowl beauty is key to the process, but prettifying your one-bowl wonder isn’t just about making a great snap for social media, it serves a purpose too! The more colours you can get in your bowl, the more phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals you’ll be chomping on, and it’s all about balancing the different types of food so you don’t get too much of anything.